Celebrate Easter in style with a gorgeous bake you can master at home to share with friends and family. This speckled eggshell effect is easy to achieve and the perfect decoration for a simple lemon-scented, buttercream-iced sponge cake. Don’t forget to grab the handy shopping list of ingredients at the bottom.
Preheat the oven to gas 3, 160°C, fan 140°C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round baking tins with nonstick baking paper. Beat together 330g softened salted butter and 330g caster sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy (about 5 mins). Add 5 large eggs (at room temperature), beating in one at a time until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, mix together 330g plain flour, 4 tsp baking powder, the zest of 1 lemon and a pinch of salt. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture, followed by 4 tbsp milk to loosen the batter slightly (it should just drop off the spoon when tapped against the edge of the bowl).
Divide the batter evenly between the tins and bake for 35-40 mins or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of each cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Add 200g softened unsalted butter to a large bowl and beat briefly with an electric whisk until smooth. Gradually add 400g icing sugar and continue to beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl every so often until pale, fluffy and fully combined. Add a few drops of blue food colouring at a time, beating between each addition, until the icing turns a light duck egg blue colour.
Cut off any domed tops on the cakes with a large serrated knife to create flat layers. Place one cake on a serving plate and top with a third of the buttercream, spreading it to the edges in an even layer. Place the second cake on top and use the rest of the buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake, smoothing with a palette knife to create an even finish. It can help to dip the palette knife in hot water to smooth out the icing. Allow the icing to set in a cool place or in the fridge for 30 mins before decorating.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp cocoa powder with 2 tsp vanilla extract until smooth.
When ready to decorate, dip the very edge of a metal spoon in the cocoa mixture. Hold the spoon firmly in one hand and flick it over the cake so that specks of cocoa splatter over the blue icing. Repeat over the whole cake, dipping just the edge of the spoon in the cocoa mixture each time and flicking quickly and firmly to create irregular flecks. Clean any stray specks off the serving plate with a piece of damp kitchen paper.
Once the cocoa speckle has dried, decorate the top of the cake with small sugar-coated chocolate eggs before slicing. The iced cake will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.
Make sure that the butter and eggs for the cake are at room temperature before mixing, this will help create a light and fluffy sponge and stop the mixture from curdling.
If unsure of the flicking technique, practise first. Mix up 1 tsp cocoa powder with 2 tsp water instead of the vanilla extract, then practise flicking the spoon over a piece of kitchen paper. The trick is to ensure there is only a little bit of cocoa mixture on the spoon, and you flick firmly from the wrist. Once mastered, you can make the cocoa and vanilla mixture as above to decorate the cake.
The un-iced sponge cakes can be made ahead and frozen. Make the cakes as above, then cool completely and wrap well in a double layer of nonstick baking paper and clingfilm. Defrost fully at room temperature before icing and decorating. In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.
We’ve made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need to make this beautiful speckled Easter egg cake recipe. Don’t forget to screenshot before you go shopping!
For the cakes 330g salted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing 330g caster sugar 5 large eggs, at room temperature 330g plain flour 4 tsp baking powder 1 lemon, zested pinch of salt 4 tbsp milk For the buttercream icing 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature 400g icing sugar few drops blue food colouring To decorate 1 tsp cocoa powder 2 tsp vanilla extract 90g pack micro eggs, or other sugar-coated chocolate eggs
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