chocolate chili splatter paint cake

a list of things that inspired this cake, which features chocolate and cayenne in a house made of tequila frosting and a splatter painted roof:

1. a few months ago, i found myself sleeping under a very large, very spectacular splatter painted portrait of beethoven when it became clear that a splatter painted cake would be extremely fun to make. i'm trying to expand my cake decorating repertoire past farting whales and sprinkles and i'm really happy with my progress. 

2. last week at the honky tonk*, my new friend ashley bought me a tequila shot with the one requirement that instead of putting salt on my hand, i use tabasco sauce. brilliant! have you ever done that?? it's so good. it makes me want to do more tequila shots. everyone around me should be afraid right now. (there's no one around me.)

*a sentence i never thought i'd say, but i'm really happy i did.

3. jeni's queen city cayenne ice cream. ooh, girl, it's addictive, in a little bit of a masochistic way because it is very hot. the coldest hot you'll ever get, unless you've rigged up a frozen bloody mary. and you can't stop eating it though because chocolate and ice cream and that very unusual sensation of a very cold hot.

4. it's cinco de mayo! i never done celebrated cinco de mayo before.

5. it's also my friend jean's birthday! and jean comes from a family of great margarita makers. their margaritas are famous in north dakota and canada and montana. happy birthday, jean!!!!! 

so, ok, are we on the same page about how this cake tastes? it is basically a nice soft chocolate cake that gives you a nice little kick at the end of your bite. the cayenne here adds more of a feeling than a flavor. an extra special something. a special something for a special day. 

and then there's tequila, which i put as optional because i know how people can get with tequila. but if you're going to be buying tequila for cinco de mayo anyway, you might find it in you to spare a few splashes for this frosting. 

chocolate chili splatter paint cake

makes one 2-layer 8-inch cake



1 3/4 c sugar

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 large eggs

1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola

1 c whole milk

4 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c boiling water


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

4 c powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

a good pinch of salt

2 tb tequila, or to taste (optional)

splatter paint:

gel or liquid food coloring

for each color: 1 tb liquid (water, booze, milk) + 1/2 c powdered sugar



preheat oven to 350.

grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

in a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients except for the boiling water. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then stir in the boiling water. pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes.

let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack.


use an electric mixer to beat together all of the ingredients.

splatter paint:

for each color, mix together a few drops of food coloring with 1 tb liquid and 1/2 c powdered sugar in a small bowl. 


once your cakes are fully cooled, level them. place one layer on a cake board, spread a thick layer of frosting on top, and then place the other layer on top of that. use an offset spatula to frost the cake smoothly all over. freeze the cake for about 10 minutes, to firm up the frosting. use a spoon or fork to drizzle your splatter paint all over the cake.