Christmas Pinata Cake

Serves: 8

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 45 minutes


  • 450g plain flour
  • 250g treacle
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 125g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 20g stem ginger in syrup, chopped
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of both ground nutmeg and salt


  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 450g unsalted butter
  • 110ml water
  • 30ml brandy or the seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • ½ tbsp ground nutmeg


  • Booths truffles painted with edible lustre
  • Candy canes, gingerbread, sprinkles and anything you wish to use to fill your cake
  • Icing sugar, to dust over


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (fan) gas mark 4. Grease and line four 20cm round sandwich tins in preparation.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and pinch of salt. Using a separate bowl, cream together the butter, golden caster sugar and dark muscovado sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the treacle before whisking in the eggs and stirring in the chopped ginger and vanilla extract. Stir in two tablespoons of the flour mixture and two tablespoons of buttermilk, repeating until everything has been added and combined. Divide the batter between the sandwich tins and bake for 35-45 minutes.
  3. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool, brushing the top of each one with a little syrup from the stem ginger.
  4. Make the eggnog frosting by heating the sugar and water in a saucepan until dissolved. Whilst the sugar syrup is heating up, break the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the syrup reaches 110°C on a sugar thermometer, start to whisk the eggs at a high speed. When the thermometer reaches 118°C, remove the pan from the heat and pour the syrup into the mixing bowl as the whisk is still going. Continue to whisk. Add the butter, brandy (or vanilla) and nutmeg, whisking for a further 3-5 minutes.
  5. To construct your cake, take a 5cm round cookie cutter and cut a hole in the centre of three of the ginger sponges. Spread a layer of frosting on each of the doughnut shaped cakes, stacking them on top of each. Place your festive goodies into the central cavity of the cake before topping with the final ginger cake.
  6. Using a flat edged knife, scrape any buttercream splodges around the sides of the cake to create a rustic effect. Smooth a layer of frosting over the top of the cake and add the truffles.