A few years ago I saw a beautiful speckled egg cake, probably on Pinterest or in an issue of Real Simple magazine. Since then, I’ve intended to make something like it each spring, and I finally made a cupcake version this week.
A word of caution regarding the speckling: it is not nearly as simple as every single recipe online would have you believe. I set up a splatter guard made of parchment paper, and still ended up with speckles all over my countertop, with a few on my walls and many on myself, likely because I didn’t use a paintbrush with stiff bristles; my brush had soft bristles, which made things a bit messy. Still, the end result is worth it: these received rave reviews from Mike’s colleagues. Also, you could pair almost any flavor combination for these cupcakes, but I chose a classic chocolate and almond.
For the cupcakes
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
For the frosting
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- Light blue, light green, and turquoise gel food coloring
For the speckles
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoons water*
*Most online recipes did not call for water, but my mixture was too thick for it to flick from the paintbrush so I added some water.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir together, then add water, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat on low speed for about 2 minutes, until the batter is smooth; it will be thin.
Using a two-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared cupcake tin, filling wells about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from cupcake tin and allow to cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.
To make frosting, beat butter on low speed for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat on low until all the sugar is incorporated into the butter; this takes a few minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract; beat another 1-2 minutes. Add additional tablespoons milk, one at a time, beating well between each. To tint, add blue, green, and turquoise gel food coloring 1-2 drops at a time; I used 2-3 drops of blue and green, and about 3-4 drops turquoise. Frost cupcakes; you will have about 2/3 cup left over for another use.
For the speckles, stir together cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and 1-2 teaspoons water; you don’t want the chocolate to be too thin or it’ll bleed into the frosting, but if it’s too thick, you won’t be able to flick it onto the cupcakes. Dip a food-safe paintbrush with stiff bristles into the chocolate and use your fingers to flick the chocolate onto the frosting.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Makes 12.