Gold Specks Cake


I slightly adapted Sweetapolita's watercolor buttercream recipe (linked below) for my husband and mother in law's birthday cake. I loved the idea of using edible gold leaf flecks on a cake so I purchased them (and linked them at the bottom of this post). They were easy to use and looked cool with the gold candles (also linked below). The best thing about this cake was that it was still fresh tasting and the m-word (I hate that word!) 3 full days after making it. I attribute the freshness to the cake container/transporter that I linked at the bottom of this post. Shout out to great products that actually do their job and SUGAR! 


  • 2 1/4 cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 cup (120 g) unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot coffee (if you can't use coffee, substitute with very hot water)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature

Ingredients for icing:

  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (see Notes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 cups (620 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Edible gold leaf (linked under 'Shop The Post' at the bottom of this post  


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Spray the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla, and then mix in eggs.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter equally among the three cake pans or weigh for accuracy--each pan should weigh about 580 grams.
  5. Bake the first two layers until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 23 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely. Repeat with the final cake layer. When ready to assemble the cake, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and salt on medium speed until very pale and creamy, 8 minutes.
  7. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and water. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
  8. The frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring chilled frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften. If necessary, you can warm the frosting in a heatproof container in the microwave in 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth and spreadable. Add a small amount of water, one tablespoon at a time, if the frosting needs more "glide."
  9. Put your first cake layer top-up on the cake board or plate, and spread about 1 1/4 cups of the frosting evenly across layer. Put the second cake layer on top and repeat with another layer of frosting. Repeat again.
  10. Using a turntable, if possible, frost entire outside of cake with a thin layer of the frosting to seal in the crumbs. Chill until the frosting begins to firm-up, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, tint the remaining pink frosting (there should be about
  11. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and return it to the turntable. Using a medium straight palette knife spread the icing around the cake.
  12. Add the gold flecks by gently pressing random patches of the gold onto the cake. Serve at room temperature.

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