• Juliet Sear's piñata cake (Helen Cathcart)Source: Helen Cathcart
These bakes hug a secret inside: stunning centres that surprise and delight.
4 Aug 2020 - 10:25 PM  UPDATED 5 Aug 2020 - 9:03 AM

--- See Juliet Sear make her lolly-filled piñata cake and other stunning centrepieces in Beautiful Baking with Juliet Sear, Mondays 7.30 pm on SBS Food and then on SBS On Demand.  Catch the piñata cake in episode 2 on August 10 ---


From rainbow layers to a hollow centre stuffed with sweets and lollies, there's a smile-inducing surprise at the heart of all of these cakes. They are fun to make, and fun to cut and eat!

Pistachio cake with vanilla syrup and raspberry mascarpone

The elegant pink icing of this cake from the Feast magazine archives gives no hint of the bright green pistachio layer cake inside!

Ombre mocha layer cake

Each layer of this centrepiece cake is a different shade, all with a hint of coffee. Coated in whipped chocolate ganache, it's then finished with a chocolate drip icing. The outside looks elegant, and the inside is a surprise to please any chocolate lover. 

Ombre mocha layer cake

Sweet layered sponge cake (pizza dolce)

This colourful layered dessert cake hails from Abruzzo, in Italy. There's lemony crema pasticciera and a chocolatey version too, layered with cake and lashings of grenadine and coffee syrup. Your eyes and tastebuds are both in for a delicious surprise with this one.


Cinnamon chocolate marble cake

Marble cakes are a classic of the surprise-inside cake world. "This cake is my new best friend – reliable yet surprising, simple yet impressive," says Anneka Manning of this gently spiced ring cake. 

Cinnamon chocolate marble cake

Zebra cake with chocolate fudge glaze

A close cousin of the marble cake above, this zebra cake is another from Anneka Manning's kitchen. The weight of alternating spoonfuls of mixture dropped on top of one another cause it to spread in the tin and create a wonderful ‘zebra’ striped pattern, and the baked cake gets a rich, thick glaze. 

Zebra cake with chocolate fudge glaze

Rainbow piñata birthday cake

“This cake is pure, unadulterated childish glee. There’s no holding back. It’s full colour, full sugar! ... And I have to say, it’s as much fun to make as it is to give! I guarantee you’ll have as much fun making this as the recipient has cutting it!" says Poh Ling Yeow of her rainbow layer cake. Six layers of cake make up this vibrant beauty, which is filled with chocolates and lollies, coated in cream cheese frosting and then coated with sprinkles. 

Strawberry ice cream cupcakes

These are the 'easy-as' end of the surprise cake scale! Sarah Michelle Gellar's recipe layers purchased ice-cream and cake, and layers the little cakes under whipped cream. She uses strawberry ice-cream for a pretty pink look, but you can use chocolate, or other flavours.  

Confetti layer cake

Colourful sprinkles decorate not just the outside of this party cake, but the inside too! "Don't be afraid to attempt this cake - the construction is very simple," says Anneka Manning, who shares lots of tips for making and decorating the cake in her recipe. 

Confetti layer cake

Rainbow cake

This cake gets its lovely looks entirely from natural food colourings. 

Rainbow cake

Ruffled piñata cake

From Juliet Sear, this version of the piñata cake idea is covered in rows of gloriously bright ruffles, although you can adapt the idea so many ways: "I’ve also done this with just buttercream coating and then used random sweets like polka dots stuck around the icing to add colour and a nod to what might be hidden inside. If you want to do it a really easy way, go for a rough/swirly buttercream that flicks around the cake in different directions. This type of icing is really simple to do. A generous coating with luscious flicks, it doesn’t have to be perfect on the outside, in fact, the more texture, the better. This looks so pretty just with candles around the outside, then the surprise inside stands out really well." 

Juliet Sear's piñata cake

More inside
Jam-filled crescents (kiflice) (kiflice)

Somewhere between a scone and shortbread biscuit are kiflice; plum-filled crescents that look like mini croissants. While the dough itself isn't sweet, the jam filling and the icing sugar topping gives this pastry a sweet hit. 

Marble cake (marmorkuchen)

Who doesn’t love a good marble cake? There is something so appealing and festive about the beautifully marbled swirl that appears when you cut off a slice.

Coconut roll (salara)

This doughy, sweet coconut bread is rarely made at home as it is sold fresh and cheaply by bicycle vendors with their glass display cases on all the main streets. It is delicious at any time of the day and much easier to make than it looks.

Giant Snickers cake

Rich peanut mousse is matched with chocolate cake and the duo smothered in a rich chocolate glaze in this decadent dessert. 

Individual raspberry bombe Alaskas

Bombe Alaska is a retro ice-cream and meringue dessert that never fails to impress. In this version, we have made individual portions using vanilla ice-cream mixed with frozen raspberries. Make sure you use a good-quality ice-cream as the cheaper varieties form ice crystals when refrozen. You will need 10 x 100 ml tea cups and a 7 cm round cutter for this recipe.

Poppy seed sweet bread (potica)

This sweet poppy seed bread is considered a staple in Slovenian bakeries and there are countless variations across Central Europe.