When it comes to food at Easter time, most of us are very familiar with the big role that chocolate plays over this holiday period. Easter egg hunts in the backyard for the kids are a regular occurrence. But why should children have all the fun?
Many of us will have a social gathering with friends and family over this holiday period and what better way to indulge the adults with a decadent chocolate Easter cake. It will not just serve as the crowning glory of your Easter feast, but will satisfy the cravings of even the most fervent chocolate fanatic!
Decadent chocolate Easter cake
Serves 16 people
For the chocolate mud cake
250g chocolate (125g dark chocolate, 125g milk chocolate)
250g unsalted butter
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
¾ cup water
1 ½ cups caster sugar
225g plain flour
100g self-raising flour
30g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
150g milk chocolate
150g thickened cream
75g fried noodles
150g milk chocolate
For the mud cake
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees for a fan forced or 160 degrees Celsius for a normal oven.
Grease an 8in/23cm round cake tin. Line the tin with baking paper, extending it a few centimetres above the tin.
Put chocolate, butter, coffee, water and caster sugar in a medium saucepan, over low heat. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter have melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Sift together the self-raising and plain flours, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl place eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla, and whisk together until well combined.
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Then add the chocolate mixture to the flour and egg mixture. Do this in two batches, stir after each addition until well combined. Use a whisk to stir the mixture instead of a wooden spoon.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, through a sieve. This will give you a lump free cake mixture and the results will come through with a lovely textured cake.
Bake the cake for 1 hour and 30-45 minutes. Insert a cake skewer or a knife through the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.
Remove the cake from the oven and place a sheet of baking paper on top of the cake. Then wrap the cake, still left in its tin, in an old towel. Leave overnight or for a couple of hours until completely cooled. Once the cake has cooled remove it from the tin. The cake will be unlikely to be level, so cut it straight across the top, and place the levelled cake on serving dish upside down. The bottom of the cake will be level and will create that straight finish.
While the cake is cooling make the Easter nest.
For the Easter nest
Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the chocolate has melted remove saucepan off the heat and stir through the fried noodles. Do this gently so that the noodles don’t break and hold their shape. Spoon the mixture onto a baking tray, lined with baking paper. Shape the noodles into a nest. Use your fingers to form the mould of a nest shape. Make an indentation in the centre, so that it can hold the Easter eggs. Place the tray in the fridge to set.
For the chocolate ganache
Put the chocolate and cream in a medium saucepan on a low heat, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat once the mixture is smooth and the chocolate has melted. It is important not to heat the mixture any further as the chocolate can burn. Allow to cool slightly.
For the assembly
Pour the ganache over the cooled cake and spread with a palate knife evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
Take the Easter nest out of the fridge and carefully run a knife under the nest to lift it off the baking paper. Place it on the centre of the cake, while the ganache is still runny.
Put the cake back into the fridge. This will set the ganache and allow the nest to stick to the top of the cake.
Take the cake out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Place an assortment of solid and ‘birds eggs’ Easter eggs into the nest. Jelly beans can also be used to add a splash of colour.
Coloured Easter eggs
If you want to impress your guests while entertaining over Easter, make your own edible Easter eggs. They make a great table display and add a savoury touch to your meal.
Hard boiled eggs
¼ cup vinegar
Fill each bowl with water and ¼ cup of vinegar. Add different food colours to each bowl – the more you add the more intense the colour.
Dip each egg, into the bowl, removing with a spoon when they reach the desired colour.
Leave the eggs to dry on paper towels.
Tip: You can place round or star stickers or tape around the egg before placing into the bowl of food colour, to create lovely patterns on your eggs. Allow to dry thoroughly before gently removing the stickers.