Easter is my absolute favourite time of year for tasty treats. And Mini Eggs are the cream of the crop. Am I right?
So when I saw a few cakes on Pinterest embodying the speckled mini egg charm I knew I had to make my own version!
This speckled egg layer cake looks so festive and would be the perfect centrepiece on an Easter Sunday table. The speckled outer layer is ridiculously easy to create too, meaning you look like a professional without spending hours in the kitchen!
Both the cake and frosting are flavoured just with vanilla. Vanilla is such a wonderful punchy flavour – but only if you use a quality vanilla extract! Please steer clear of wishy washy vanilla essence – it really lacks the pizazz needed for this cake. You can always make your own vanilla extract if you like; just pop a couple of vanilla pods in with a small bottle of vodka (yes vodka!) and leave in a cool place for 2/3 months. My mind was blown when I realised this was how vanilla extract was made, especially considering how easy and cheap it is to do!
The cake can be baked in advance, just wrap the cooled sponges tightly in clingfilm and then assemble the next day with the frosting. The frosting is super simple to make, and can be made as thick or thin as you like! I wanted a fairly smooth edge to my cake, so I kept it pretty thick so it would hold in place well. To adjust the texture, simply add more cream to thin it or more icing sugar to thicken.
As I was going for the speckled mini egg look, I tinted my frosting a pale green. You could go for any ‘typical’ mini egg colour that you’d like though. Lilac, dusty pink or even a stark white! To create the speckled look, I simply mixed 1tsp of cocoa powder with a couple of teaspoons of water until I created a paste. Using a pastry brush I then flicked the brush to create specks all over the frosting. You can coat it as much as you like at this point to create your desired effect.
So there we have it! My speckled egg layer cake! I’m pretty happy with how this turned out, and any excuse to eat more mini eggs works in my eyes! 😉
green gel food colouring (or colour of your choice)
1tsp cocoa powder
mini eggs to decorate
Firstly, pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 4/350F/180C and grease and lightly flour three 8-inch cake tins.
In a large bowl, briefly whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Then set aside. Next, using an electric mixer beat the butter on a high speed until smooth and creamy, about one minute. Then add the sugar and beat on a high speed for 5 full minutes until creamed together well. On a medium-high speed, add one whole egg at a time, beating well after each addition until all 4 whole eggs are mixed in. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Using a low speed on the electric mixer add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Ensure you only mix until everything is just incorporated, over mixing will result in a close-textured greasy sponge. The batter will be quite thick! Finally, whisk the 2 egg whites until thick, foamy and soft peaks form - about 3 minutes by hand. Then gently fold into the batter.
Spoon the batter evenly into each cake tin, then bake for around 25 minutes or until the sponges are baked through. Test by inserting a toothpick into the centre of the cake - if it comes our clean, the sponges are done. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack.
For the frosting, beat the butter on a medium speed until creamy in a large bowl. Add the icing sugar, cream, vanilla extract and salt - mixing on a low speed initially. Increase to a high speed and beat for 3 full minutes once the mixture has begun to incorporate. Add more icing sugar if the frosting is too thin, or more cream if the frosting is too thick. Also, add a pinch of salt if the frosting is too sweet. Finally, gradually add the food colouring until you get to your desired colour. Add a little at a time, as the colour can change surprisingly quickly!
To assemble, place one cake on your cake stand and evenly cover the top with frosting. Place the second sponge on top, and again evenly cover with frosting. Finally, place the third sponge on top and spread a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake to create a crumb coat. Place the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.
Then place 3/4 of the remaining frosting into a piping bag, cut of the end and pipe a ring on the top of the cake and one large ring around the centre of the side. Spread this out with a palette knife, to create an even layer on both the top and sides. Then using a side scraper, run it around the edge of the cake at a sharp angle until the desired smoothness is achieved. This may take a little while to achieve.
Next, put the remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe stars evenly around the top edge of the cake.
Finally, mix the cocoa powder with water in a small bowl to create a paste. You may need to add more water/cocoa powder to achieve the desired paste. Then using a pastry brush flick specks all over the cake. I achieved this by dipping the brush into the paste, and then running my finger down the bristles. You may want to practise this a few times in the sink first! Then, top each piped star with a mini egg.