This week’s guest blog is a recipe for a show stopping Easter Cake from Pixie Hall Cakes…
As promised, I’ve got a great Easter recipe for you. It’s very chocolatey, really tasty and also pretty darn cute.
As I’m sure you can imagine, Easter is really busy for me. Between making chocolate eggs and baking tasty things, there’s not much time to think of anything else. I’ve worked the last few Easter Sundays (and this one won’t be any different!) and so I thought that I’d bring a bit of festive fun a bit early this year.
This cake is a real show stopper. I wandered from Tesco car park, cake in hand, on my way to get it photographed and I couldn’t help but notice people smiling as they saw it and even heard one girl say “wow, that cake!” It’s a great feeling. You will get loads of praise from your loved ones (and complete strangers if you parade it ‘round the town) if you bring this to your Easter get together.
As usual, the recipe itself is straightforward. The fun starts when you begin to decorate the cake. Feel free to use whatever sweets you like to decorate. I went with chocolate finger biscuits, chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies. You could use chicks, jelly beans or any other sweet you like to make this look festive and taste great.
First you need to make the ganache to use as icing for your cake. This is a mixture of chocolate and cream that you melt together to make a rich chocolate frosting. You can use milk or dark chocolate here. I chose dark as the biscuits, eggs and bunnies are already quite sweet but you use whichever you prefer. You’ll then bake the cake while the ganache cools and once everything is cooled you can start decorating!
For the ganache:
300g chocolate, chopped
175ml double cream
For the cake:
250g plain flour
300g caster sugar
1½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the decorations:
100g cherry jam (or jam of your choice)
3x135g packs of chocolate fingers (there’ll be a few left over)
30g desiccated coconut
A few drops of green food colouring
Easter sweeties – eggs, bunnies, chicks, jelly beans! Whatever you like!
Make the ganache by putting the cream and chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melting them together. You can do this in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring thoroughly after each one or, over a pan of barely simmering water on the hob. Once melted, cover and place in the fridge to cool completely and firm up.
Preheat the oven to 180C. grease and line a 20cm/8 inch deep round cake tin and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Put the lemon juice, milk, water, oil, eggs and vanilla into a jug and mix together to break the eggs up. Pour this into the dry ingredients and whisk together until smooth. It’s not too difficult to do this by hand but feel free to use a mixer if it’s easier.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cake is cold use a serrated knife to level the top and then slice the cake to create two layers. Pop the bottom half of the cake onto a serving plate and spread with the jam, place the other half of the cake on top.
Next, using an electric whisk or stand mixer, whip your chocolate ganache until light and spreadable. Then, using a butter knife, palette knife or offset spatula spread the ganache evenly over the top and sides of your cake.
Next, take your finger biscuits and stick them to the ganache on the sides of the cake. Try to keep them upright and butted up closely to each other. You can probably fit more around the cake than you think and I ended up adding in an extra 2 when I noticed some weren’t as straight as I thought!
Next, press your chocolate eggs (or whatever you have chosen) into the ganache around the edge of the top of your cake. Again, make sure they are pressed close together to get a good border. Place your bunnies onto the ganache wherever you think they look best.
In a small bowl, mix the coconut with a little bit of green colouring and mix until the colour is evenly spread. You can go as dark as you like but bear in mind that it will make the coconut moist if you add too much. Sprinkle the coconut grass all over the top of your cake paying special attention to the areas around the bunnies and eggs. You’ll want to cover all of the visible ganache on top of the cake (you may have more coconut than you need but you can use it to make Easter cupcakes if you have the energy!).
If you like, you can attach a piece of ribbon to the cake. I did this by sticking a clean pin through the join in the ribbon, between 2 biscuits and into the cakes.
Take your cake to the table and wow your friends and family!
Linds runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.
Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography