ideas for cinco de mayo: piñata de burro cake

Do I have a lot of ideas cookin' for Cinco de Mayo this year! Here's one. A cake in the form of the classic burro (donkey) piñata, decorated with multicolored jellybeans. I've shared this cake before here in a post about birthday cakes, but here's a little bit of a how-to for you. It's really pretty easy to do, you just need a couple of hours and a ton of patience.

What you'll need:

Two 8" or 9" diameter cake layers, from one box cake mix or your own cake recipe, cooled

Buttercream frosting, homemade or store-bought

Around 1/2 to 3/4 pound Jelly Belly (or other small sized) jellybeans, separated into five to seven separate colors (including at least one white one for the eye), in the color palette of a traditional piñata de burro

Black or brown paper or cardboard for hooves

Bright crepe paper streamers for tail

Black marker for the eyeball


1. Frost the top of the bottom layer and add the top layer of cake. You will cut from this intact layer cake the pieces you need to create the form of the donkey. Do not frost the outside of the cake yet.

2. Use the diagram below to help you cut the pieces (body, legs, head) more or less to scale. Not an exact science. There will be some spare parts to eat while you are working away on the decorating.

3. On the platter on which you plan on serving this cake (IMPORTANT, it will be impossible to transfer after this point!) begin assembling the cake. Again, these pieces are two layers high with just a layer of frosting in between the layers at this point. Use frosting to "glue" the head and legs to the body as shown below. 

4. Fashion the donkey's muzzle from the pie shaped piece that isn't the head. You can go pretty free form here. It's not as easy as just cutting it from cardboard, I know.

Affix the muzzle to the head as shown. Also, you might want to square off the bottoms of the legs by cutting away a little cake.

5. You're ready to frost. Frost every exposed surface.

6. Now for the extremely tedious fun part, the decorating! You can use my cake as a guide, or click here for a zillion other images of real piñatas de los burros! It's not all about horizontal stripes. There are a lot of blocky ways to lay out the colors, especially around the face, that look really good. Remember to put a white bean for the eye, where an eye should go!

7. Final touches: 

Darken the middle of the eye with a Sharpie (or edible ink pen, if you have one lying around).

Cut streamers into thinner strips and form into a tassel of sorts, the affix as a tail near el culo del burro. 

Cut black or brown rectangles to fit the bottom of the legs as a form of hoof. 

Si, this cake is actually a ton of work. But that's why I'm showing this to you now, so you've got time to think about how much you want to BLOW PEOPLE'S MINDS on Cinco de Mayo! You should go for it. Fact: You will be a total superstar if you do.


  1. Wow, this is the best kids cake I have seen in a while!

    1. Thank you! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, by the way!


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