M&M Pinata Cake

This M&M Pinata Cake has three layers of delicious chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, and a hidden M&M centre.  

This cake is just so chocolatey, OTT, and utterly epic! Whenever I ask for a recipe request a Pinata-style cake is always so highly requested.  

I made this cake into a three-layer cake but if you want to make it four layers check out the alternatives section below.  

Before you start Baking

So, before you start baking this M&M Pinata Cake, preheat your oven, to ensure the cakes all bake at the same time.  

I would also recommend lining all your tins before you start too. You don’t have to, but it just means once your cake batter is ready you can pop it into the tins and straight into the oven.

Chocolate Cake

So, for this M&M Pinata cake, I just made a standard chocolate cake similar to the cake in my Chocolate & Strawberry Cake . Instead of two layers thought I made this cake three.

I also used light brown sugar in this recipe instead of caster sugar. The light brown sugar gives the chocolate cake a lovely caramelly taste. If you don’t have any light brown sugar or just don’t like it then you can replace it for normal caster sugar.

I cream together the butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy. For my cakes, I always use a baking spread like Stork just because I think it gives you such a light and fluffy cake, but you could also use Unsalted Butter instead.

Add in the remaining ingredients and mix until they are all fully incorporated, and the mixture is smooth.

Split the mixture between your three 8″ cake tins and bake in the oven.

How Do I Know the Cakes are Ready?

There are a few different ways to tell if the cakes are ready. When you take the cakes out of the oven gently press the top of the cake, if it springs back when you remove your finger then the cakes are ready. If not, put them back into the oven for 2-3 minutes and repeat until the cakes spring back.

You could also, use a cake tester. If you test the thickest part of the cake and the cake tester comes out clean then the cakes are ready, if not pop them back into the oven for 2-3 minutes and repeat until the skewer comes out clean.

Leave the cakes too cool in the cake tins for 1520 minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack. If you try and transfer the cakes too early, and they are still too warm then they will just break apart.

Chocolate Buttercream

To make the buttercream, mix together the Icing Sugar, Cocoa Powder, and butter until it is thick and creamy. For the buttercream, please use Unsalted Butter. Baking Spread is perfect for the cakes, but it is too soft for the buttercream. It will make your buttercream soft and it will end up a little bit of a disaster.

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If your buttercream is too thick, add 1tsp of Milk one at a time, stirring in between each addition, until the buttercream is the desired consistency. Pop it into a piping bag with a large round nozzle and leave to one side.

Creating the Pinata

Once your cakes have cooled completely you need to cut the centre out of two of the cakes. I used a 5-inch cookie cutter.

I placed one of the cakes with the centre removed onto my cake drum and piped the buttercream onto the top. Personally, I find the easiest way to smooth the buttercream out is by using my angled palette knife. Next, add on the second cake with the centre removed. Before you pipe the buttercream on, fill the centre of your cake with M&Ms.

Once your centre is packed full of M&Ms pipe the buttercream on and smooth, then add the final cake on top.

If any of your buttercream has splodged out of the sides of the cake smooth this in using a cake smoother.

Fill in any gaps on the sides of the cake using your buttercream and smooth again. Don’t worry if you can still see the cake through the buttercream this is just our crumb coat. Pop the cake into the fridge until the buttercream has set.

Decorating the Cake

Once the buttercream has set, remove from the fridge and pipe the remaining buttercream on around the sides and top of the cake. Smooth with a cake smoother. If you scrape any buttercream off pop, it back into a bowl, we will keep this for the swirls on top of the cake.

If there are any gaps, fill these with buttercream and smooth again. To get lovely sharp edges using your angled palette knife smooth the edges of the cake.

Finally, decorate with your M&Ms and the remaining buttercream. I used a Wilton 1M Piping Tip to pipe the little swirls on the top of the cake.  


If you want to make a four-layer cake I would use 500g Light Brown Sugar and Unsalted Butter, 450g Self-Raising Flour and 50g of cocoa powder, 1tsp Baking Powder and Vanilla Extract, 10 Large Eggs and 50ml Whole Milk.

For the buttercream I would increase this to 950g of Icing Sugar, 50g of Cocoa Powder and 500g of Unsalted Butter.

If you want to be extra you could add sprinkles of a mixture of sweets to the centre of the cake.



Measuring Spoons

Mixing Bowl


Cake Tins

Cake Tester

Piping Tip

Piping Bags

Turn Table

Cookie Cutters

Cake Smoother

Angled Palette Knife

*I earn a small amount of money if you buy any of these products. You will not be charged anything extra for this. Thank you for supporting A Spoonful of Vanilla.

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M&M Pinata Cake

Sarah Mark
This M&M Pinata Cake has three layers of delicious chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, and a hidden M&M centre.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Decoration Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 16 servings


For the Cake

  • 475 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 475 g Unsalted Butter or Stork
  • 425 g Self-Raising Flour
  • 50 g Cocoa Powder
  • 9 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 50 ml Whole Milk

For the Buttercream

  • 700 g Icing Sugar
  • 50 g Cocoa Powder
  • 375 g Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3-4 tsp Whole Milk

For the Decoration

  • 400 g M&Ms
  • Sprinkles


To Make the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 170C (150C Fan). Line three 8” cake tins with greaseproof paper and leave to one side.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the flour, cocoa powder, eggs, baking powder, vanilla extract, and milk. Whisk until all combined.
  • Pour the mixture into the individual cake tins and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. You will know they are ready when they are springy to touch.
  • Leave them to cool in the cake tin for 15-20 minutes and then remove and put them on a wire rack to cool fully.

To Make the Buttercream

  • Once your cakes have cooled make the chocolate buttercream.
  • In a bowl mix together the icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter and vanilla until combined. The mixture will be quite thick
  • Put your buttercream into a piping bag with a large round nozzle and leave to one side.

To Decorate

  • Using a 5" cookie cutter cut a hole in the centre of 2 of the 3 cakes and leave to one side.
  • Place one of the cakes with the centre removed on your serving plate and pipe the buttercream on top. Smooth using a spatula, don’t worry is any of the buttercream splodges out the side.
  • Place the second cake with the missing centre on top and pipe the buttercream on top and smooth. Fill the hole in the centre with M&Ms until it is full.
  • Finally stack the final cake on top.
  • Pipe the buttercream onto the top of the cake, again don’t worry if it goes over the edges.
  • Using your cake smoother smooth around the sides of the cake. Don’t worry if you can see the cake through the buttercream, this is just the crumb coat. We will cover the cake soon.
  • If there are any gaps, pipe buttercream into the gaps and then smooth again using your cake smoother.
  • Once there are no gaps in your cake pop it into the fridge until the buttercream has hardened.
  • Once the buttercream has hardened, pipe the remaining buttercream around the sides of the cake
  • Using your smoother, smooth around the sides, if there are any gaps fill these with the buttercream and continue to smooth around the sides until the cake is smooth. You will most likely take some of the buttercream off the cake if you do pop this back into your bowl.
  • To smooth the top edges of the cake, use a palette knife and smooth any buttercream into the top of the cake.

If you do have any questions about this M&M Pinata Cake or any other recipes on my blog you can contact me either by sending me a DM on social media or an email. You can find all my details on the right-hand side of this page. 


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