Saturday 5 July 2014

Vanilla Chocolate Bus Pinata Chiffon Cake

"The wheels on the bus go round and round..." :).

This is a school bus cake crafted completely out of chiffon cake for a little boy who loves wheels! I was really thankful his mummy shared the teacher was amazed the children kept asking for more because usually they eat very little of the birthday cakes during celebrations! She specifically requested for a healthy guilt-free, allergy-free cake for her son so that he can enjoy his cake without any worries.

The school bus is crafted out of vanilla chiffon cake, inspired by the cute school bus I saw in my daughter's favourite "the wheels on the bus" video. The base is a round vanilla-chocolate chiffon cake. To be honest, crafting a vehicle out of chiffon cake is not easy. It requires lots of patience and I took a whole day (in between my baby's schedules) to cut and "glue" small pieces of chiffon cake together. Do make sure you have an airtight container handy to keep all the other pieces not in use so as to keep the cakes soft and moist. Nevertheless, there is great joy when you see the kids' expressions upon seeing their favourite character transformed into soft cake and able to eat and enjoy it!  

The school bus cake is made from half a vanilla chiffon cake baked in square 6-inch tin with removable base (I didn't have a smaller cake tin), and the road cake is made from the same batter with charcoal powder baked in a square 9-inch tray. 

Vanilla Chiffon Cake for Bus
5 egg yolks
33g sugar
65g vegetable oil
64 ml water
100g cake flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Charcoal powder

6 egg whites
75g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Wrap the removable base of the 6-inch square tin with baking paper, sticking it down with meringue. *This is important so that the base of the cake does not get sunken in when inverted during cooling. Line baking paper at the bottom and sides for the 9-inch square tray.
2. Beat egg yolks with sugar with whisk till pale yellow before stirring in oil, water and vanilla extract.
3. Next add in sieved flour and whisk till no trace of flour found.
4. Divide into 2 colours. Scoop 13 tsp into another bowl, add charcoal powder and mix well.
5. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till stiff peak, mixing in caster sugar in 2 additions.
6. Scoop over 26 tbsp meringue into the black batter. Gently fold in the meringue into the batter.
7. Fold the rest of the meringue gently into the vanilla batter in 3 additions. 
8. Transfer the black batter into the 9-inch tray. Level and tap tray on table to remove bubbles. Do likewise for the vanilla batter into the 6-inch tin, leaving an inch from the top (top pic in collage below). 
9. Bake the 6-inch square tin for 15 minutes then 40 min at 150°C or when skewer comes clean. Bake the 9-inch tray cake for 15 min at 160°C. 
10. For the 6-inch tin, allow the cake to shrink till below the top of the tin (around 5 min), then invert the tin to cool.
11. For the 9-inch layer cake, flip over the cake onto a clean baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
12. Unmould the vanilla cake and trim the sides with a sharp knife (bottom pic in collage below).

After this, I used a knife and round cutters to cut out blocks, strips of cake and circles from the plain and black cake for the school bus (below) and the road. These were then assembled using a mixture of royal icing and melted marshmallow to affix the parts together. Very little is needed so you can't really taste it when you eat the cake :). Do remember to keep everything in an airtight container until serving.

Here's my cute school bus.. "going all through the town" :p. Doesn't it look happy? :)

This is the texture of the vanilla chiffon cake. See how soft it is! This is why I love chiffon cakes!

Next, I baked the vanilla-chocolate chiffon cake as base for the road and bus. For the round chiffon cake, I used steam baking as I find it helps my cake to rise beautifully in the oven. But you can choose to omit this and you should still get a lovely chiffon cake.

Chocolate chiffon cake (17cm chiffon tin)
3 egg yolks
20g sugar
39g vegetable oil
36 ml water
60g cake flour
1.5 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract

4 egg whites
45g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare a tray of water at the bottom of the oven (I used the lowest rack to bake the cake).
2. Beat egg yolks with sugar with whisk till pale yellow before stirring in oil, water and vanilla extract.
3. Next add in sieved flour and cocoa powder and whisk till no trace of flour/powder found.
4. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till stiff peak, mixing in caster sugar in 2 additions.
5. Fold in the meringue gently into the batter 1/3 at a time.
6. Gently tap the tin on table 3x to remove air bubbles. I further ran a chopstick because the chocolate batter is thicker.
7. Bake the cake for 15 min at 160°C then 33 min at 150°C (I increased the time as this cake was taller).
8. Invert immediately once out of the oven to cool.
9. Unmould after the cake is cool.

The amazing about chiffon cakes is that it makes a natural pinata cake. I filled the centre hole with marshmallows and then sealed it with the road cake so that the kids would get a lovely surprise when they slice the cake!

Then I painted white strips onto the road using royal icing and snow powder mixed into a paint-like paste. And finally, the bus is all ready to go down the road! I added in a bus stop sign so that the kids can go onto the bus ;).

This is my final humble little school bus cake! Happy birthday to the little sweetie! =)

With love,


  1. Hello, are really good in baking chiffon and making this cute little son always sing this song at home, I thought it was only the song that taught in his kiddi...will go and look for the video...

    1. LOL Jozelyn thanks! Tt's such a happy song, think every kid loves it! There are lots of cute "Wheels on the bus" videos on youtube. The Barney one is also a cute yellow bus!

    2. Hi Susanne,
      May I know is the temperature too high that makes my chiffon cake cracked? I baked more than 5times :( baked at 160'C then lower to 150...thank u

    3. Hi Miyuki, actually it's normal and ok for chiffon cakes to crack at the top, since it will actually be at the bottom after we unmould.
      You can prevent cracking by lowering the temperature or putting it at the lowest rack, but it is actually not important to prevent cracking as long as the chiffon cake is not "exploded".
      Oh and another thing, if you fill the batter to the brim of the tin, the cake will definitely crack more. Fill the batter to only 80% for a smoother top.
      Hope it helps :)

    4. Good morning Susanne! Thank u so much for your advise. Mine is always like explosion n densed. Thought maybe its my egg yolk batter coz after adding flour, it becomes vy sticky. Will try again :) many tks again