Easy Taco Cake

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With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, it only seemed appropriate to make a Taco Cake to celebrate!! This cake is just as fun to decorate as it is to eat 🙂 The recipes can be found below:

Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Additional tools and Ingredients:

  • 1 cup crushed Oreos
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, colored with yellow and orange food coloring
  • Wilton 103 tip
  • offset spatula
  • 10 1cm cubes of red fondant (tomatoes)
  • yellow, orange, and green food coloring
  • piping bags

Recipe makes two tacos; each taco has roughly 6 servings.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line one 8″ pan, and one 7″ round pan.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

To make the frosting, beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

NOTE: When making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Add 1.5 cups of frosting into a separate bowl, and mix in 1/4 cup of cocoa, and 2 tsp of heavy cream to make chocolate buttercream.  To create the “beef” of the taco, add 1/2 cup of this chocolate frosting to 1 cup of crushed Oreos in a different bowl, and set aside. Place another cup of frosting into a bowl, and color a bright shade of green with gel food coloring. Place frosting in a piping bag with a Wilton 103 tip (petal tip). Set aside 1/4 cup of uncolored frosting (to be the sour cream), and color the remaining frosting a bright shade of yellow with gel food coloring.

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To assemble the cake, cut the cake layers in half. Secure one of the halves of the 6″ cake layer in the center of the cake round, vertically. Cover with an even layer of chocolate buttercream. Place two halves of the 7 inch cake round vertically against the frosted layer, and cover with yellow buttercream. These two layers will be the taco shell. Smooth, then add the crushed Oreo/chocolate frosting mixture on top of the 6 inch cake half. Next, pipe on some lettuce with the green buttercream. Gently place some of the shredded coconut on top, then add the fondant diced tomatoes. The last step is to top the cake with a dollop of white buttercream. Repeat these steps with the remaining cake layers.

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I had leftover chocolate cake batter from a different baking project, so I decided to use it for the center layer of this cake. It could also be fun to make this a funfetti cake by adding 1/2 cup of sprinkles to the batter, or even 1/2 cup of crushed Oreos!!

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29 thoughts on “Easy Taco Cake

    1. yes you can! If you put it in the freezer, be sure to transfer it to the fridge for a while before taking it out and letting it warm to room temperature. That way you will reduce the amount of temperature shock/condensation!

    1. I like Duncan Hines cake mix. It is less sweet & denser which makes it good for decorating. Also, make these changes to any box mix for home-made taste:
      1. Add 1-2 additional eggs
      2. Replace water with milk
      3. Replace oil with melted butter

  1. The recipe calls for 2-7″pans and 2-6″ pans. I assume the 6″pans are for the center but if I use your chocolate cake recipe it calls 7″ pan. Can you clarify if the 6″ pan is what I should use for the center of the taco and if what cooking time I need to adjust on the chocolate cake recipe for the pan size change? thanks!

    1. This is really just a half batch of my normal vanilla layer cake recipe! With my original recipe I had enough batter to make an entire extra 7 inch cake layer, that I saved to use for a future baking project. If you poured all the batter into one 6 inch and one 7 inch pan, they’d be too thick and not look proportional once they’re frosted. I’ve update the recipe to make just two, larger layers to avoid this! Sorry for the confusion!!

  2. Hello,

    I was trying to follow your response to Scott, but I have some additional questions. #1) the cake recipe that is included within the recipe will be all the cake batter that needs to be made to assemble this cake, #2) if this is the case, am I still using the 2 different size cake pans, and #3) you stated that you updated the recipe to make just 2 larger layers…is this reflective of the ingredient list shared on this page. Sorry for all the questions, but I am trying to make sure I get it correct.

    1. Yes, this recipe makes all the cake you need, and it needs to be made in 2 different sized pans. The current post reflects my latest changes. Hope that helps, and happy baking!!

  3. Hey. I made it this past weekend and actually used 2-9″ cake pans for the vanilla cake to make a larger taco shell for the two cakes and then made a separate chocolate 7″ cake for the center of both. Worked really well for the 2 9″ vanilla cakes using the recipe just had to monitor the cook time.

  4. Thank you for this tasty and fun recipe! I just wanted to note that the cake batter was barely enough to make one taco – fortunately I only needed to serve 2 people! The icing was enough to make 3-4 tacos, so I had a ton of icing left over.

    1. I always air on the side of having extra frosting, since there’s nothing worse than running out of frosting! left over frosting keeps for up to a month in the fridge, and I usually can find ways to repurpose it! I will revise the recipe to make less frosting though, just because I don’t think most people bake as much as I do 😛 thanks for the feedback 🙂

      1. Do you have the half recipe for the Chocolate too so I can make the 2 cakes instead of 4? Sorry for all the questions, this is the first time I will be making a cake NOT from a box!

  5. I’m just wondering if your buttercream recipe can be used to make flowers. Does it firm up nicely in the freezer?

  6. I just want to clarify, it says one 7” pan and one 8” pan, does that mean it makes two tacos, one 7” long and one 8” long? Also to make two tacos do I just cut your chocolate cake recipe in half, or smaller since it is for 4 layers?

    1. This is a half batch of my cake recipe! You make two cake layers, and cut both of them in half. One half of the 7 inch cake recipe becomes the center of the taco, and the two halves the 8 inch cake recipe become the taco shell. You will end up having one half of the 7 inch cake layer as a leftover, but you can eat it with buttercream, as a taste test of the cake 😛 Hope that helps!

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