This cake came about after a friend asked me to make a Taco Bell cake for her husband’s birthday. I thought that was just the cutest idea ever, so I set out to find examples of what a Taco Bell cake might look like. After an online search – wow! Turns out Taco Bell cakes are totally a thing! I gathered some ideas and came up with something I felt was appropriate to feed a crowd of 50, which was a two-tier cake with two small candy taco supremes on top and the bell part of the Taco Bell logo.
After the birthday party was over and the cake was long gone, I immediately wanted to do a Taco Cake 2.0. I had figured out how to make a pretty near likeness to taco shells using white chocolate and oreo cookie crumbs with the previous cake, so there was only one thing left to do. Make One Big Taco Cake (OBTC, as I’ve been calling it). This cake recipe has several steps but most of them are relatively quick to manage. It’s a fun project and not at all difficult!
One element I used in both cakes was Mexican chocolate ganache. It was a filling for the birthday cake and for OBTC I used it as cake frosting. It’s so delicious and just adds to the fun theme. You could use any combination of chocolate you like, but my combination of Taza guajillo chili, cinnamon, and Lindt chili chocolates was crazy delicious! One note if you use Taza discs – this is stone ground chocolate (mostly used as a tasting chocolate) so the ganache may look grainy – this is normal so don’t fret!
The white chocolate taco shell is quite flexible after a few minutes at room temperature.
Candy ‘shredded cheese’ (ha!). This is made with orange and yellow meltable candy disks.
Dressing the taco! Aside from the shell, I think the cheese is my favorite part!
The cake portion is fashioned from a single 8-inch dark chocolate layer that is trimmed to fit inside the white chocolate shell. This cake will feed about 8 people, so if you’re expecting a larger crowd you may want to double the recipe and make a couple of OBTC‘s!
One Big Taco Cake! (OBTC)
Mexican chocolate ganache
- 1.35 ounce disc Taza Cinnamon Chocolate chopped
- 1.35 ounce disc Taza Guajillo Chili Chocolate chopped
- 7 ounces 2 bars Lindt Chili dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup 240 ml heavy cream
- 1 cup 120g all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 200g granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup 21g unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup 180 ml milk
- 1/4 cup 60 mlvegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- Flour-based baking spray for pan
White chocolate taco shell
- 1/3 cup 105g dark corn syrup
- Yellow and orange gel food color
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chocolate cookie crumbs I used a crushed Oreo cookie – no cream
- 10 ounces white chocolate I used Cacao Barry Blanc Satin Pistoles
- Candy taco fixins!
- 6 ounces red candy melts
- 3 ounces yellow candy melts
- 3 ounces orange candy melts
- 1/2 cup 45 g sweetened flake coconut
- Leaf green gel food color
- 1/3 cup prepared vanilla buttercream homemade or shortcut with a purchased tub
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with flour-based baking spray (or grease and flour pan).
- Combine first six ingredients in bowl; add milk, oil and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed until combined, then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat two more minutes.
- Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes (or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean). Remove from pan and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Cut the cake in half and fold up so that the two halves form a half circle (or a taco shape!). Trim the top and sides of the cake so that it’s about 3 inches wide by 6 inches in length (see video). Crumble the cake scraps onto a plate and cover with plastic wrap; reserve for later use.
White chocolate taco shell
- Spread a large piece of parchment paper over a large work surface.
- Pour the corn syrup in a medium bowl and add yellow food color a little at a time until a bright hue is achieved. Add a small dab of orange food color (less than 1/8 teaspoon). Add a pinch of chocolate cookie crumbs to the syrup – it doesn’t take much here so be conservative!
- Melt white chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Pour the melted chocolate into the syrup and stir quickly. When the mixture thickens pour it out onto the parchment paper and knead a few times until the syrup and white chocolate are thoroughly combined. Top the candy with a second piece of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to flatten it into an even 1/4-inch 13-inch circle. There will probably be some excess cocoa butter that makes the candy look greasy, but this is normal. You can pat some of it away with paper towels if you wish. Transfer the candy – still on the paper – to a large flat baking sheet and refrigerate until solid. When the candy is firm, use a 12-inch round dinner plate or cake pan as a template to trim the candy to a 12-inch circle.
Candy taco fixins!
- Melt red candy in the microwave and spread in a 4×4-inch square on parchment paper. Let stand until solid at room temperature, about 15 minutes. Use a large chef’s knife to cut candy into small squares for ‘chopped tomatoes’ or red pepper – whatever your imagination prefers.
- Melt yellow and orange candy melts in the microwave and transfer to a zip top bag with a tiny hole in the corner snipped. Pipe thin lines of candy on parchment paper and allow them to stand until set, about 15 minutes. Chop into shred with a knife or bench scraper for ‘shredded cheese’.
- Combine coconut and a dot of green food color in a small bowl. Mix with a spoon or with gloved hands until the color is dispersed throughout the coconut. This will be ‘lettuce’.
- Place the buttercream in a zip top bag with the corner snipped, or in a disposable piping bag.
- Cover one piece of chocolate cake with the ganache; sandwich the two cakes together. Place a little of the ganache in the center of the white chocolate taco shell and place the sandwiched cake on top. Cover the outside of the cake with chocolate ganache. Using both hands, gently lift the edges of the white chocolate taco shell toward the center until the sides adhere to the chocolate ganache and stand upright (at this point the cake should look like a stand’n stuff taco!). Spread more chocolate ganache on the inside bottom edges of the taco shell. Use the reserved crumbled cake scraps as ‘taco meat’. Spread them all along the bottom edges of the taco and on top of the cake piece.
- Add candy lettuce, tomato pieces and shredded cheese (which is the order I used). Squeeze a big ol’ pile of buttercream in the top center of the taco for ‘sour cream’.
- Serve cake immediately, or refrigerate until the buttercream is firm then cover with plastic wrap. You must cover the cake if you make it ahead of time or the cake crumb ‘taco meat’ will dry out.
- Slice cake into pieces and serve to delighted taco-lovers!
P.S. Here’s the birthday cake that inspired OBTC, if anyone is interested!