This Easter Polka Dot Cake is a gorgeous spring cake with polka dots on both the outside AND inside of the cake! Learn how to create this cute, easy cake with surprise polka dots inside. 

Easter Polka Dot Cake - A picture displaying the polka dots on the outside of the cake. | From SugarHero.com
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The Cutest Polka Dot Cake for Easter

When it’s time to celebrate any big holiday, I gravitate toward big, flashy desserts that taste amazing and bring the bling. Over-the-top desserts are my specialty, and I love blogging about desserts that are exciting! What excites me most are semi-ridiculous things like sky-high mousse desserts, homemade stuffed doughnuts, eight layer cakes, and swirled tarts topped with whipped cream, chocolate curls and homemade truffles! In my world, more is more, and I own that.

So without further adieu, let me introduce you to my newest fancy cake — The Easter Polka Dot Cake.

Table of Contents

Easter Polka Dot Cake - Polka dot cake with slices taken out, showing the polka dots inside. | From SugarHero.com

How to Decorate the Outside of a Polka Dot Cake

The outside is relatively easy to put together compared to some of my other creations; it’s got shiny Pastel Sixlets, pastel sugar pearls and mini pastel sugar pearls (or round sprinkles) pressed into creamy coconut buttercream. You can make your outside decorations as simple or intricate as you want. It makes a sweet presentation, but the real magic happens when you cut into the cake. It’s filled with the cutest, colorful polka dots made from homemade cake balls!

Variety is the Spice of Life

Use different sizes of round candy to give the outside of the cake depth and visual interest. I used Sixlets and sugar pearls between 10mm and 2mm in diameter, but you can use any type of candy or sprinkle you like.

Easter Polka Dot Cake - A slice of the polka dot cake, displaying full cake in background. | From SugarHero.com

Easy Colorful Cake Balls

The mini cake balls are very easy to make (promise!). We’ll be using a yellow cake mix to color and bake several mini cakes. Depending on how many colors you choose to make, you could use small glass bowls, small round cake pans cake pans, pie tins, or even a cupcake pan to make the mini cakes. Just make sure the containers are oven-safe and watch them closely for doneness.

Once they are done baking and completely cooled, it’s time to start crumbling each of the mini cakes into crumbs, mix them with frosting, and roll them into colorful cake balls! You can make a variety of sizes of cake balls and experiment with combining colors to form cool patterns. Let your creativity go wild!

Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with cling wrap and keep them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make your cake layers. (Make-ahead information: the polka dots can be made up to a week in advance, and kept in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use!)

The pre-made cake balls will be suspended in the layers of homemade lemon cake batter. You’ll take the cake balls and press them into the batter, pressing some all the way to the bottom, some into the middle, and leaving some on top. You don’t have to use all of the cake balls, but do use a lot of them—it takes a surprising amount of polka dots to make the cake slices look well-dotted!

What You’ll Need to Make the Cake Balls

A slice of Easter Polka Dot Cake on a light blue plate.

Equipment You’ll Need to Make a Springy Lemon Coconut Layer Cake

The cake itself is a lemon cake with coconut buttercream, so it tastes light and springy. You’ll need a few important tools to make this cake. Make sure to have 9×2-inch cake pans (you’ll need three), parchment paper and a cardboard cake round. It’s also helpful to have a revolving cake stand and offset spatula to smooth the frosting and add the decorations.

Easter Polka Dot Cake - A slice of cake with a bite taken out. | From SugarHero.com

Trust me when I say, this cheerful Polka Dot Cake is the perfect way to end a special Easter dinner, or any other special occasion. Birthdays, anniversaries, and major holidays all call for surprise polka dots, in my opinion.

Enjoy!

💗More Spring Layer Cakes You’ll Love

A Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake on a small white cake plate.

Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake

It just wouldn’t be Easter without at least one adorable bunny-themed treat, and this Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake delivers! Moist chocolate cake, smooth buttercream, and lots of mini fondant decorations on top make this bunny cake a favorite the whole family will love.
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Close up of Easter Nest Cake on a green cake stand surrounded by greenery.

Easter Nest Cake

This Easter Nest Cake is a cute and easy Easter dessert recipe! It’s baked right in a bowl–no special pan required–and is decorated with chocolate frosting to look like a sweet little bird’s nest, complete with your favorite Easter egg candies.
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Layer cake covered with white buttercream and colored sprinkles.

Easter Polka Dot Cake

5 from 3 votes
This Easter Polka Dot Cake is a lemon cake with coconut frosting and lots of cheerful polka dots both outside AND inside the cake! Just combine a few simple steps and you'll end up with this beautifully whimsical cake.
Prep3 hours
Cook25 minutes
Total3 hours 25 minutes
Yields16

Ingredients

For the polka dots:

For the lemon cake:

  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon extract
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 15.75 oz granulated sugar, (2 ¼ cups)
  • 15.75 oz cake flour, (3 ⅔ cup)
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 9 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the coconut buttercream:

  • 9 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 14 oz granulated sugar, (2 cups)
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, softened but still quite cool
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tsp coconut extract, to taste

To Assemble:

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Instructions 

To Make the Polka Dots:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare the box mix according to the package directions. Divide the batter between five or six oven-safe small bowls/pans. Add a small amount of food coloring to each bowl to make different pastel shades.
  • Scrape the colored batter into the small oven-safe containers you've chose. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed. The baking time will vary depending on how much batter you use and the size of the pan, so watch the cakes carefully and start checking for doneness after 10-15 minutes of baking.
  • After the cakes are baked, let them cool completely. Crumble the cooled cakes into separate small bowls, then add a spoonful or two of frosting to each bowl.
  • Work the frosting and cake together with your fingertips until the cake is moistened and holds its shape when rolled into a ball. (If you have ever made cake balls before, you are looking for the same texture as cake balls.) If necessary, add more frosting until you get a consistency that's easy to work with, but stop adding frosting before the cake gets greasy or gummy.
  • Roll the cake into small balls of different sizes, and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover the sheet with cling wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to make your cake layers. The polka dots can be made up to a week in advance, and kept in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

To Make the Cakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line three 9×2-inch cake pans with parchment paper, and spray them with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the yolks, 1/2 cup of milk, and lemon extract in a small bowl, and whisk gently to combine. Set aside for now.
  • Combine the lemon zest and sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix together with a paddle attachment on low speed for 30 seconds.
  • Add the room temperature butter and the remaining 1 cup of milk to the flour, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, until the dry ingredients are moistened. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for 90 seconds. With the mixer running on medium-low, add the egg yolks in three batches, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition. At the end, stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides with a spatula so that the batter is well-mixed.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Take the cake balls and press them into the batter, pressing some all the way to the bottom, some into the middle, and leaving some on top. You don’t have to use all of the cake balls, but do use a lot of them—it takes a surprising amount of polka dots to make the cake slices look well-dotted!
  • Bake the cakes at 350 F for about 25 minutes, until they’re puffed and golden on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool the cakes completely.

To Make the Coconut Buttercream:

  • Combine the egg whites and the granulated sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and whisk them together. Choose a small saucepan that lets you fit the base of the stand mixer snugly into the top of the saucepan—this is your makeshift hot water bath. (Alternately, you can use a different bowl or an actual bain marie and then transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl once it’s heated.) Add an inch of water to the bottom of the saucepan, and bring the water to a simmer.
  • Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that the bottom isn’t in contact with the water, and heat the egg white mixture. Whisk frequently so that the egg whites don’t cook. Continue to heat the whites until they are hot to the touch, and when you rub a bit between your fingers, you don’t feel any grittiness from the sugar. Once the whites are hot, transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer and fit it with a whisk attachment.
  • Beat the whites on medium-high speed until they are no longer warm to the touch—feel the outside of the bowl, and make sure that it is around room temperature. Depending on your mixer and the temperature of your environment, this may take 15-20 minutes, or more. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the softened but cool butter in small chunks, a tablespoon at a time, making sure to wait in between additions. It may separate or look a little gloopy at this point—fear not. Once all of the butter is added, increase the speed again and whip until it comes together and is light and fluffy. If, after 5 minutes, it hasn’t come together, refrigerate the mixing bowl for 5-7 minutes, to cool the mixture down, and whip it again.
  • Add the salt and 2 tsp coconut extract, and mix until well-blended. Taste the frosting and add more coconut flavoring if desired. The buttercream can be made in advance and kept at room temperature if you’re going to use it the same day, or refrigerated. If it’s been chilled, let it sit at room temperature until it softens, then re-whip it to get the fluffy texture back before you use it.

To Assemble:

  • Trim the tops of the cakes so that they are level. Place one cake layer on a cake cardboard (ideally) or a plate. Spread a generous cup of frosting on top of the cake, extending out to the sides. Place a second cake layer on top of the first, and top that one with frosting as well. Finish with the third cake layer, then cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of frosting, then refrigerate until firm.
  • Once firm, spread the top and sides with the remaining frosting. To get a very smooth finish, I like to run very hot water over an offset metal spatula, wipe it dry, then slowly run it over the sides and top, rinsing frequently. The heat of the metal helps to smooth out the frosting. Finish the cake by pressing Sixlets, sugar pearls, or other sprinkles into the tops and sides of the cake. For the best taste and texture, serve this cake at room temperature.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?

Nutrition

Calories: 779kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 207mg | Sodium: 579mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 1290IU | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and hashtag it #SugarHero. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @elabau.
Photo collage featuring 4 cute Easter Cakes.

EASTER CAKE RECIPES 🐇

We’ve rounded up 35 adorable Easter cake recipes that will make your holiday extra-special — click here to get all the recipes!

2 photo collage of Easter Polka Dot Cake with text overlay for Pinterest.

Meet Elizabeth!

Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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94 Comments

  1. I think that is the reason why I admire you and your creations so much.. you make things that are time consuming, but really special and beautiful!

  2. I love all your complex desserts! I have one question though, don’t the cake balls get over baked because they”re essentially baked twice?

    1. Thanks Chloe! That’s a good question, and you might think that they would. Fortunately they don’t get hard or overbaked. I think the fact that they’re mixed with frosting helps to keep them moist. I really couldn’t tell a texture difference between the cake balls and the rest of the cake, it’s kind of amazing.

  3. Haha most of my friends will never make anything from my blog (or even try) because they are convinced every single recipe is time consuming. While this is true for some it’s not all! But yea cakes definitely take some time, especially something crazy fun like this one! Love how you increased the size of the sprinkles from the top to the bottom on the outside. That definitely took some time 😉

    1. Haha, my friends and family are the same way. I guess it works out because then I can foist my baked goods on them. And yes, I was maybe a liiiiittle bit fastidious about the sprinkle placement, hah. Thanks Erin!

  4. Everything you make DOES look very time consuming. BUT everything you make is also stunning and delicious. So there is that. 🙂

  5. I always enjoy when your posts come to my inbox! This one is so pretty!!!!!! I don’t wear polka dots but I love this cake =)

  6. I, for one, appreciate the time and effort you put into your creations. I am a mostly “from scratch” girl, too, and people are always telling me that I could make the same thing from a box or a can. Um… no thank you. Some things just can’t be rushed. Anyway, this is a beautiful cake!

    1. Thanks Becky! No judgment for others who like to use mixes, but for me the work is part of the process and the reward. (Although I actually have a soft spot in my heart for brownie mixes…go figure.)

  7. How can anyone not love this cake.. it´s SpectacuLAR!! I agree to love what you do in this world of blogging you need to be true to yourself.. when I decided not to worry about everyone else but to ensure with every new blog post, I learn something new that will take me one step further, I started to relax and enjoy this journey! Hope you a super blessed Easter filled with love & joy!! xoxo

    1. Thank you Johlene! I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a lesson I keep having to relearn over and over, though. Hope you had a lovely Easter!

  8. I love your recipes. I hadn’t thought of them as overly time consuming, but I’m always adding layers and combining recipes. I hope you never try to make things easier or less, I like you and your recipes just the way they are!

    1. Thank you Karen! I guess I don’t have a good perspective on things, because I don’t usually think of them as time-consuming either. But I’m probably not a good judge because I make layer cakes for fun, so…yeah. 🙂

  9. Please don’t apologize Elizabeth — I’m so thrilled to find a blog where the recipes are “real”. Blogs and recipes like yours are few and far between but so very appreciated by those of us who do still bake and love fun and fancy. Thank you and keep the “time consuming” recipes coming!

    1. Thank you so much, Denise! That really means a lot to me–I am so glad to know there are other folks like me out there, who enjoy the occasional impractical dessert! Thank you for reading, and please let me know if you have any requests. 🙂

  10. I love this cake….even if it does look time-consuming! I know my kiddies would love it and it would be so worth it to see their faces when I cut into it! Happy Easter Elizabeth!

    1. Thanks Liz! It could definitely be toned down and made easier by using just a few colors of cake balls–that would be a pretty fast recipe. I can definitely see your kids loving it, and I’m sure you could put a really creative spin on it!