Piñata Cake has taken the internet by storm. These aesthetically pleasing, viral cake-smashing videos have made us all wonder how to make a chocolate piñata.
Although this chocolate delicacy appears complex, it isn't that hard to make. With the right ingredients and following our step-by-step guide, you can also DIY a chocolate piñata at home.
To make a chocolate pinata, you’ll simply need to dip a chocolate mold of your choice in melted chocolate. Once the chocolate has hardened, peel the mold to reveal your pinata.
White, milk, dark or compound chocolate, a traditional circular mold, or fun heart-shaped, the choice of options is endless. However, choosing can sometimes be overwhelming, but we will tell you our personal favorites and which ones work best according to the technique we use.
This recipe has been tried and tested by many of our fellow peers. With this comprehensive guide from beginners to skilled bakers, almost everyone can easily make a chocolate piñata cake.
Why Is Making A Chocolate Piñata Fun?
While you can purchase a chocolate piñata cake at almost any local cake shop nowadays, making your own is ten times more fun. Not to say, it shows effort and adds a personal touch, so anyone you're gifting this to will feel all the more special on their big day.
You can also play around with the decor and the stuffing inside a piñata cake. It can be personalized by including more custom elements representing the receiver's interests. And, of course, there is nothing more satisfying than smashing the crunchy chocolate coating and being surprised by the contents that fall out.
Ingredients Need To Make a Chocolate Piñata;
Before you embark on your journey to make this chocolate masterpiece, gather all the ingredients and materials, you'll need. Having the essentials ready to go is key to a seamless caking experience. You'll require:
- Cooking chocolate: You'll need around 6-10 ounces of melting chocolate, depending on the size of your piñata shell. You can make the shell from all kinds of chocolate, so feel free to pick any according to your preference. We will be using compound vanilla white chocolate to create our piñata shell in this recipe. We don't recommend milk chocolate because its melting temperature is too low, which will risk the shell falling apart.
- Pound cake: You can purchase a pre-made cake or make your own with a boxed mix to fill inside the piñata shell. Make sure the flavor you use complements the chocolate used in the coating. Vanilla birthday cake goes exceptionally well with white chocolate.
- Stuffing: When the piñata cake is smashed open, multiple items will be present inside. You want to make the content as enjoyable as possible. We recommend fresh fruit like blackberries or raspberries, hard candy, chocolate truffles, jelly beans, and dry fruits for a good variety.
- Non-food Items: These are items you'll need to assemble the piñata and hold it in place. You'll need baker's twine, a wooden mallet, a hanging rack, and a 3-D mold. We are using two spherical half-moon-shaped molds made of silicon as they make the process of removing the dried chocolate shell seamless. Remember to purchase a big enough mold so that your piñata has enough space to hold the stuffing.
Making the Piñata Shell
Step 1 – Cut about 5-6 inches long baker's twine and create a loop on one end using the overhand technique. Set it aside for now.
Step 2 – Take your block of melting chocolate and, using a knife cut it into smaller cubes. Place the cubes in a microwave-safe bowl for 60-80 seconds at only 50% power. Keep stirring in between, and repeat this step until the chocolate has completely liquefied.
Step 3 – Using a spoon, place a dollop of the melted chocolate at the center of one of the molds. Spread it evenly from the bottom sides up with the back of your spoon. Proceed to repeat this step on the other mold but this time, add the piece of baker's twine we set aside earlier.
Step 4 - Place the baker's twine inside the second mold. About 2 inches of the thread should be inside the sphere and the remaining 5 inches outside. Use a little bit more chocolate to secure the thread into place. It is through the twine that we will hang the piñata.
Step 5 - Next, you must freeze the mold for 10-20 minutes. Once both the molds are frozen, you will repeat step 3 to add a second layer of chocolate to thicken your shell. The melting chocolate could've hardened by now, so you may need to reheat it. After adding another layer, freeze the molds again for 10-20 minutes.
Step 6 – Place the melting chocolate left behind in a resealable plastic bag and set it aside for later.
Step 7 – Once your molds are frozen solid, gather all the content you want to include inside your shell. We will now be joining the two half-moons together to create an entire sphere. To do so, you will heat a skillet until it's warm.
Step 8 – Remove one of the spheres from the mold and place the open side down on the warm skillet to smooth and flatten its edges—place items of your choice like small cubes of pound cake, fruits, and candy inside the mold.
Step 9 – Remove the old sphere from the mold and repeat step 7. While the edges are still warm and melted, place it on the top of the other sphere. Hold it in place for 40-50 seconds so that the melted chocolate hardens, securing the two halves together.
Step 10 - It is now time to decorate your piñata. You can have as much fun as you want with this step. Edible beads, sparkles, sprinkles, shapes made of fondant, and even buttercream, so many items are available to make your piñata look aesthetically pleasing. Re-heat the melted chocolate we set aside earlier and use it to secure your décor elements on the piñata shell.
We have decided to use the leftover melted chocolate for our shell and drizzle it on top. For a fun twist, you can drizzle another flavor of chocolate on the top as well. To do so, take the resealable plastic bag and knead it until the chocolate inside is smooth. Roll the bag in a cone shape and cut open a small hole on one end to make a piping bag. Drizzle the chocolate on top and let it harden.
Step 11 – After completely decorating the mold, hang the piñata on the hanging rack. You can then place the rack on a nice flat tray and serve with pieces of pound cake and fresh and dry fruits. Using the melted chocolate or fondant, you can also write a small message like 'Happy Birthday' for the receiver.
Your chocolate piñata is now good to go and ready to be smashed open!
What Can You Use To Smash The Piñata?
To smash open the chocolate piñata ball, you need a small wooden mallet or hammer. There are many types readily available in the market at low prices. If you can't find anything similar near you, you can search for small wooden hammers on Amazon, and it'll provide you with a long list of options.
What Size Molds To Use?
You want to use a larger and deeper mold than a typical chocolate bomb to make your shell. The bigger the mold, the more surprising elements you can place inside it. We recommend using silicone molds as they are relatively cheap, readily available, come in multiple shapes and sizes, and are easy to work with. Opt for a mold that is at least 8 inches long and 3-4 inches deep; that'll give you enough room to play around.
What Kind Of Hanger Works Best?
You can either go basic with a simple banana hanger or take your cake up a notch by purchasing or creating a customized piñata hanger. You can search for pre-made options on Etsy or look through Pinterest and create a unique design of your own.
What Chocolate Works Best?
For your chocolate piñata, you want to use chocolate that doesn't melt quickly at room temperature, or you'll risk the entire structure falling apart. Compound chocolate is often the better choice as; unlike real chocolate, it doesn't contain cocoa butter. The melting point of cocoa butter is around 37°C - the same as human body temperature. Instead of cocoa butter, compound chocolate contains vegetable oils. The melting point of vegetable fat is higher, precisely 45°C which is why this chocolate is chewy and takes some time to dissolve on your tongue. Rest assured, your piñata will remain intact and won't melt until smashed if made using compound chocolate. We used Ghirardelli white vanilla flavored candy making chocolate to create our piñata shell in our shell.
What to Stuff inside a Chocolate Piñata?
The best part of a chocolate piñata cake is being able to smash it and coming across the multiple sweet treats present inside. You can get as creative as you want with this step. Some items you can use include:
- Fresh fruit like strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries
- Small cookies
- Hard candy
- Small chocolate bars and truffles - nothing like too much chocolate, right?
- Jelly beans
- Button candy like M&M and Skittles
- Dry fruits like peanuts, pistachios, and almonds
- Small pieces of cut-up cake
There you have it! Everything you need to know to make the perfect chocolate piñata.
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore