This easy DIY Money Cake is full of money inside to pull that would be a perfect surprise for a birthday, wedding, graduation, or any other special event! Don’t worry, there is still plenty of cake to eat. Learn how to make a money cake as well as some of the tips and tricks I learned along the way.
Video tutorial and printable recipe card are below at bottom of post.
Well, to be honest, I wasn’t planning on doing a post on this Money Cake. However, since my Facebook post about the one I made for my son’s birthday started going viral we’ve gotten more comments, questions, and messages than we can keep up with. (If you don’t have Facebook, I also posted the original on YouTube.) This DIY money cake has been quite a hit. It’s nothing new, but I’m sharing how we did it and the tips and tricks I learned after making it.
Sorry, I know this is a long post, but there was a lot I wanted to share. The cake can be a little tricky, but not hard to make. Be sure to read all my tips below and there’s a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
So I didn’t invent this Money Cake. There are all sorts of versions out there. They seem to be popular in Asia and like Singapore and the Philippines from what I can tell. Therefore, a lot of the videos and posts are not in English.
I pieced together what I could from all over, and made my own. I actually made this Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake for my son’s 15th birthday and turned it into a Money Cake.
The kid never asks for anything, EVER. All he wanted was a homemade cake and money to save up for a few things. I looked through various money cake ideas and knew this one would be perfect for him.
It was a huge hit and a big surprise. The best Money Birthday Cake! So glad I gave it a shot.
This cake with money inside is a little different than other money cakes such as those where you roll up money and place it on the OUTSIDE of the cake or a cardboard cake. You might see this version also called a “pull money cake” since you pull the money out of the cake, but I’m just going to call it Money Cake right now to make it easier.
The good news is this DIY Money Cake is not as hard to make as it looks. The bad news is that it does take a little bit of time and effort. But don’t worry, I’ll share some time-saving tips with you.
What You Need To Make A Money Cake
- cake (homemade or store-bought). I used a One-Bowl Chocolate Cake and Peanut Butter Frosting.
- cardboard tube
- money or paper notes
- treat bags
- lollipop or stick
- ribbon or string
- plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil
Check out my Amazon list with all of the above and more specific supplies that will help you get started. UPDATE: Since this cake has become so popular after I posted, you can also find all sorts of money cake kits if you’re not into the DIY.
How To Make A Money Cake
Be sure to check out the video at the bottom of the post for much better directions and information.
Obviously, You’ll need a CAKE. I made a delicious and easy chocolate peanut butter cake. I included the recipe at the bottom of the post.
If you’re not a baker, you could even use a store-bought cake. If you do use a store-bought cake, I’d suggest getting some additional frosting and/or decorations to cover up part of the top of the cake that you will soon be taking out.
Make sure your cake is TALL and WIDE so that it will fit the money tube inside. I’d suggest a cake that is at least 9-inches wide and 3 to 4inches tall. You could possibly use a smaller cake BUT it will depend on how much money you want to put in the cake and how large the tube is that you’ll be using (more info on that below).
If you’re making a homemade cake, I’d suggest assembling the cake layers with frosting in between, but do NOT frost the outside or top of the cake until you’ve inserted the money roll. It’s just less messy to wait and frost until the end. If it’s already frosted though, no worries.
If you’re using a store-bought cake, it’s ok that the cake is all frosted. Just be careful, when inserting the money roll so you don’t mess up the outside of the cake too much. You’ll need some extra frosting or decorations to cover up the hole you’re going to make in the cake.
You’ll also need to attach the money roll to a stick of some sort. I made homemade lollipops using a plastic mold, candy melts, and lollipop sticks.
You can also use any kind of store-bought or homemade lollipops. If you don’t want candy, you could also use cake decorations and attach to a stick or strong straw.
Make sure the stick is strong and fairly long. I do NOT suggest using a toothpick. It may not be strong enough.
Once you have your cake or while it’s baking, you can start to assemble the money roll that you will insert into the middle of the cake. You do NOT bake the money inside the cake.
Let me repeat that…The roll is inserted into an already BAKED and assembled cake. Do NOT bake the cake with the money and plastic inside. I get so many questions on that.
You’ll need to start with some kind of tube. I would suggest a toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping cardboard tube. You might be able to use a sturdy plastic or paper cup but make sure it’s symmetrical and cylinder in shape. I have only used cardboard tubes so can’t comment how well other options would work. Make sure the tube is sturdy!
Gently cut a slit in the tube that is the same length as the treat bags leaving a little room on each edge of the tube. The slit should be slightly wider as well as the treat bags.
Wrap the tube with plastic wrap and cut through the hole again and fold back the wrap. This will help prevent the cardboard from getting soft and soggy inside the cake not to mention, who wants a toilet paper roll touching their cake? Yikes…
Next, add money, handwritten notes, or whatever you want (as long as it’s thin and flat…) to the plastic treat bags. Line the bags up end to end with the money or notes facing the same way if desired. Tape the bags together at the ends. I’d suggest taping both sides so that it’s very secure when pulled on.
At this point, you should have a long stream of treat bags.
Tightly roll up the money/notes starting at one end.
Place the roll of money into the cardboard tube and gently start pulling the money out of the hole you made. Just pull out a few inches of one bag leaving the rest inside the cardboard tube.
At this point you may want to wrap the outside of the tube with additional plastic wrap (or I actually used aluminum foil the first time that worked better I thought…) for added stability. Make sure the money slit is not covered. You’ll want the money to easily roll out.
Using a hole puncher (or scissors or knife) punch a small hole into the end of the bag that is sticking out of the tube. You’ll want to go about a 1/2-inch to an inch or so down from the end but obviously, don’t go through the money.
Tie a ribbon or string through the hole and attach to the end of a lollipop stick (or stick from a cake decoration).
At this point, you should now have your tube ready to go as well as your cake.
Using a sharp knife, gently cut out a hole in the middle of the cake starting at the top of the cake. The hole should be the same size as your cardboard tube. With a small spatula remove the cake/frosting from the middle of the cake and set it aside.
Depending on how tall your cake is, you may need to go all the way to the bottom of the cake or you can leave some cake at the bottom.
Place the money tube inside the hole with the money and lollipop facing up. Roll the money back in a little to the tube if necessary so just a little is hanging out of the hole. Using the cake/frosting scraps, tightly cover the top of the money tube hanging onto the lollipop stick with the string or ribbon facing up. Make sure the money tube is secure and covered well with cake on the top and sides of the tube.
If you’re using a homemade cake, you can now frost the sides and top of the cake. Insert the lollipop in the middle of the top of the cake once the roll is covered and decorate the cake any way you’d like. (The photo above was taken after the reveal because I forgot to take a photo BEFORE I decorated, sorry!)
If you’re using a premade store-bought cake, you can insert the lollipop as well into the top of the cake and cover the top of the cake with additional frosting or decorations to cover up the top.
Once your cake is assembled and ready to go, store the cake on the countertop or refrigerator (depending on the type of cake…) until ready to serve. Although the money roll should be well covered, I’m not sure I’d store the cake too long before serving just in case the roll does get soggy and falls apart. That’s just me though being overly cautious.
Have the person GENTLY pull on the lollipop stick and string until the money starts to roll out of the cake. Stress “GENTLY” otherwise the whole tube can come out or the bags may detach from each other.
Once they start rolling the money out, it should be ok, fingers crossed!!
For best results please, read through my tips to help make your cake a big success!
Money Cake Tips For Best Results
- CAKE: Might be common sense, but make sure your cake is rather TALL so that the tube of money will fit inside. If you’re making a homemade cake you can always add more frosting between the layers or add some chocolate chips or other ingredients (chopped nuts, cookies, etc.) to add a little more height if needed. Also, make sure the cake is WIDE enough to fit the tube.
- CARDBOARD ROLL: The more money or notes you want to add, the larger tube you’ll need. Be sure you have a few sizes of tubes ready or be prepared to reduce the amount of money or notes you have inside the tube. You don’t want the money so TIGHT in the tube that it won’t roll out.
- ROLL CONSTRUCTION: Your cardboard roll (or whatever you’re using) should be sturdy and well constructed. If the hole where the money comes out is too big or breaks, the money may not roll well or the whole tube may come out of the cake at once.
- SECURE ROLL: Be sure to top the roll with a good amount of cake to help weight it down, as well as put additional cake scraps on the sides of the tube so that it is tight inside the cake. I’d suggest maybe wrapping the roll as well with some aluminum foil or something sturdier than plastic wrap if you’re having a hard time. To really secure the roll if you’re at all unsure, you can place a sturdy straw or small wood dowel (or long rounded lollipop stick) through the side of the cake, through the center of the money roll, and through the other side of the cake. Be sure to cut the straw or dowel to the length of the cake so that it doesn’t stick out. That will help weight the roll down.
- PULL SLOWLY: When pulling on the string to start the money coming out of the cake, pull slowly and gently to get it started. If you pull too hard, the whole tube may come out of the cake at once.
Money Cake Troubleshooting
- MONEY WON’T FIT: If after rolling your money or notes they won’t fit into your tube, you may need to get a bigger tube or remove some of the money/notes and reroll. I do not suggest cutting the tube to make it bigger because it can become flimsy and not have the best results. Paper towel tubes or wrapping paper tubes might be a good option.
- TUBE CAME OUT OF CAKE: The tube may not have been secure or may have fallen apart. You can try to quickly put additional cake/frosting on the ends and sides of the tube to try and secure. It’s also possible the person pulled too hard on the string causing it all to come out instead of rolling out. See tips above as well about using a dowel or straw through the tube next time.
- SUBSTITUTES: If you make any substitutions to the supplies or cake, results may vary for the better or worse. haha! So be careful.
- CAN’T FIND SUPPLIES: Most of the supplies you probably have around your house, but I also have a list on Amazon to help you get started if needed.
- CAKE ISN’T BIG ENOUGH: I’d suggest adding another layer of cake or frosting, or you can add candy, chocolate chips, etc. in between the layers to add height. If your cake is not wide enough, you could try folding the money and bags in half, but I have not tried so can’t guarantee you’ll have great results.
You probably have most of the supplies already in your home to make this Money Cake, but if not, check out my Amazon list of Money Cake supplies to help get you started.
Money Cake Video
Unfortunately, we had a lot of technical difficulties and poor kid had a lot of homework so it took a while to get the video up. He worked so hard on this I’m sure he’d love a thumbs up, nice comment, or follow on youtube if you have a second to spare…
Hope you enjoy this fun Money Cake! Too much work for you? You may enjoy my Birthday Chocolate Brownie Cake instead. If you’re throwing a party check out my FREE party planner checklist to help get you started.
One Bowl Chocolate Cake:
Peanut Butter Frosting:
Money Cake Supplies (see full list on Amazon)
- Cardboard Tube (such as a toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper tube)
- Plastic Treat Bags
- Money (bills) (or handwritten notes)
- OTHER: scissors, knife, tape, plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 9-inch round cake pans. Place 9-inch parchment rounds on bottoms of pans and grease if desired.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
- Add eggs, milk, water, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract to bowl on top of other ingredients. Gently whisk the wet ingredients on top to just combine slightly and break eggs. Then whisk all ingredients together until just combined. It's ok if small lumps.
- Divide batter between three pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
- Remove cakes from oven, cool slightly, then remove cakes from pan to cool completely.
- Beat together peanut butter and softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and well combined. Beat in vanilla and salt. Then slowly beat in powdered sugar a little at a time.
- Beat in milk a little at a time until frosting is smooth and creamy. You may not need all of the milk, or you might need slightly more depending on how thin you'd like your frosting.
- Place one layer of cake on a large plate or cake stand. Top with some peanut butter frosting and spread to edges. Sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on top.
- Top with another cake layer and repeat with frosting and chocolate chips. Top with third cake layer. Do not top with frosting yet.
- Assemble Money Cake:
- Cut a cardboard tube a little longer than the plastic treat bags. Carefully cut a slit in the top of the tube just long and wide enough for the treat bags to pass through. Wrap with plastic wrap and cut through wrap at hole and fold back.
- Fill plastic treat bags with money or written notes. Tape ends of bags together firmly. You should have a long strip of bags at this point. Tightly roll up money starting at one end. Place roll of money into cardboard tube. Gently pull the money through the tube just a little bit. At this point you may want to wrap the outside of the tube with additional plastic wrap or aluminum foil for added stability. Make sure the money slit is not covered.
- Using a hole puncher (or scissors or knife) punch a small hole into the end of the bag that is sticking out of the tube. You’ll want to go about a 1/2-inch to an inch or so down from the end. Tie a ribbon or string through the hole and attach to the end of a lollipop stick (or stick from a cake decoration).
- Using a sharp knife, gently cut out a hole in the middle of the cake starting at the top that is the same size as your cardboard tube. With a small spatula remove the cake/frosting from the middle and set aside.
- Place the money tube inside the hole with the money and lollipop facing up. Roll the money back in a little to the tube if necessary so just a little is hanging out of the hole. Using the cake/frosting scraps, tightly cover the top of the money tube hanging onto the lollipop stick with the string or ribbon facing up. Make sure the money tube is secure and covered well with cake on the top and sides of the tube.
- When it's time to serve the cake, gently pull on the string with the lollipop to reveal the money. Keep pulling so that the money rolls out.
(Nutrition data is provided when available for informational purposes only and calculated using an online nutritional calculator. For the most accurate information please calculate based on specific ingredients and brands you use as well as any changes you made to the recipe. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietician and any nutritional information provided should only be used as a general guideline and estimate.)