Molly Yeh's Chocolate Chili Splatter Paint Cake



  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flavorless oil, like canola
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup boiling water


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons 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.

  • Enjoy!