Well, I’m a bit late. 😛 But who said that you need an occasion to bake a cake? Blogging is not really effortless, organising the pictures, typing…. Phew! Let me get back to the cake now. I made this cake on Easter and I’m really ecstatic about it. I was inspired by Martha Stewart’s chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate truffle eggs but I felt it would be too heavy on the chocolate. How ironic, too much of chocolate? 😀
So I replaced the chocolate cake with my classic sponge cake, changed the frosting to a swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC) and instead of chocolate truffle eggs, I used my homemade marzipan dipped in rich chocolate ganache. The sponge was oh so delish with a slight pink tinge. The only thing that I would suggest, is to make the eggs one day before so that it sets nicely.
For Easter Eggs–
- Marzipan– 400 grams (Click on the highlighted term to get my marzipan recipe)
- Good-quality dark chocolate- 100g
- Single/ pouring cream- 1/4 cup or 60 ml
- Granulated sugar- 1 teaspoon
- Sugar balls- to decorate (Optional)
- Dark/ Milk Chocolate- 50-60 grams which we will scrape from a bar of chocolate
- Sharp knife
- Soft- unsalted butter- 200 grams
- Granulated sugar- 1 and 1/2 cups or 300 grams
(Note– Usage of granulated sugar is perfectly fine for this cake because in the end, you will get a luscious shiny, smooth batter. But if you are concerned, you can use caster sugar.)
- Eggs- 4; medium sized and room temperature
- Sunflower oil- 2 tablespoons+ 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Plain/ All-purpose Flour- 2 cups or 250 grams
- Milk- 1/2 cup
- Vanilla extract- 2 teaspoons
- Organic pink food colouring- 3 to 4 drops
- Baking powder- 2 teaspoons
For Swiss Meringue Buttercream–
- Egg whites- 3; large
- Granulated sugar- 1 cup or 200 grams
- Soft unsalted butter- 260 g (Make sure the butter is not too soft)
- Vanilla extract- 1/2 teaspoon
For Easter eggs–
Split the marzipan into 6 equal parts. Roll them into a rough round shape. Then shape them into eggs by adding slightly tapering blunt ends to get an oval shape.
For the ganache coating, melt together the cream, sugar and chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Once the mixture turns thick and glossy, remove from heat. Coat the eggs with the ganache and place over parchment/ butter paper. Sprinkle some sugar balls if you like. (I sprinkle 3 eggs with the sugar balls and leave the other 3 plain)
Place in the fridge for 4-5 hours or overnight. I usually leave it overnight as it is easier to handle. Once chilled and set, carefully transfer the Easter eggs onto a new parchment paper, leaving behind the excess ganache on the paper. Chill until use.
Take the bar of chocolate and keep it on a cutting board if you wish to minimize the mess. With a sharp knife, at a 90° angle, start cutting from the side of the bar. Shards of chocolate will be produced. Gently lift the the shards, place on a plate and keep in the refrigerator to chill.
Preheat the oven to 180° C. Grease two 20cm cake tins with butter and line the base with a disc of parchment/ butter paper. Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Cream the butter and sugar together until you get a pale yellow mixture. (If using granulated sugar, don’t be worried if you have crystals here and there. It will melt) Beat in the egg one at a time making sure you completely incorporate each egg into the cake before adding the next. Pour the sunflower+ olive oil mixture and mix. Sift in the flour and fold the mixture gently.
Once you have folded in all the flour, pour in the milk and stir carefully. Incorporate the vanilla extract into the mixture. Add 3-4 drops of pink food colouring. (Add 2 drops and then add the rest according to your preference) We do not want to make it really dark pink, it’s just a tinge that is required. Sift in the baking powder and fold gently.
Divide the mixture into the two lined tins and bake in the oven for about 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. (Note– the temperature is for a fan-forced convection oven. The baking time may also vary with the size of the pan and oven to oven.)
Let the cakes cool in their tins for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the tins and place them over a wire rack and allow them to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
For Swiss Meringue Buttercream–
Add the egg whites and sugar to a glass bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer. Place it over a vessel containing simmering water. Make sure the bowl is not touching the hot water. If it is, remove some of the water. Initially, just mix the egg whites and sugar with a whisk till the sugar is completely covered with the egg white. Once combined, start whisking it slowly while the bowl is still over the simmering water. After about 4 minutes, the mixture will be slightly foamy and the sugar should have dissolved completely. A good way to check if the sugar has dissolved is to take a small amount of the mixture and rub it between your fingers. It should not feel grainy.
Once the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat and start whisking with a beater or in a stand mixture for about 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form. The meringue mixture should be stiff and glossy. Make sure your butter is not too soft. On getting stiff peaks, add the butter little by little while beating at a low speed until nice and glossy. For this cake, there is no need to beat it for long after adding the butter as there is no piping involved. Cover with cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
Note– The consistency of the buttercream will be affected by the humidity, temperature and even on the butter. If the butter is too soft, the buttercream will tend to become loose. If the butter is very cold and hard, the icing may seize.
Invert one of the sponge on your serving plate or cake stand. (The side of the sponge that touched the parchment paper should be on the top). Spread nearly half of the buttercream mixture over it.
Carefully place the other sponge over it.
Frost the top and sides of the cake with a palette knife or if you don’t have that, use a spatula. The top need not be really smooth as you will be covering it with the egg nest. Try the make the sides as neat as possible. I’m not a professional when it comes to icing a cake. I like it a little rustic with swirls and dents. 😛
Sprinkle the smaller shards of chocolate in the centre of the cake and place the 6 Easter eggs in a circular way. Cover the sides of the eggs with the bigger shards so that it resembles a nest.
Serve the cake. Before cutting, remove the eggs in that area and cut with a sharp knife. Belated Easter Folks.
Happy Baking 🙂