Tuesday, 6 April 2010


I've never really cooked anything for Easter before. It's my Gran's birthday on the 6th, so my plan was to
1. Make an Easter cake.
2. Make Gran's cake.
Of course, me being me- I found interesting things on the internet to do. And put myself in a rush the whole weekend. I need to learn how to plan my time. Seriously.

Okay. Project #1. Easter cake.

I decided to make a double chocolate/coffee cake, with chocolate ganache, a chocolate shell, topped with a chocolate nest filled with chocolate eggs.
I don't even like chocolate that much.

I originally got the recipie from here, but it's a Martha Stewart one. I found the one I've linked to more helpful. I used milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate, because I really am not fond of dark chocolate. If I'm going to cook something, I had better like it.
So yeah - heres the recipie that I  used.

Ingredients Needed:

1/2 cup cocoa powder (plus a little extra for dusting)
1 cup of butter
1 Tbsp. of instant espresso powder
3/4 cup water
2 cups of sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of low fat buttermilk ( I use milk & lemon juice left for 15 minutes)
2 Tbsp. of pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Ganache whipped frosting (recipe below)
8 ounces of finely chopped milk chocolate
1/2 cup of heavy cream

Chocolate Outer Shell
2 Tbsp. of corn syrup (I used golden syrup)
8 ounces of milk chocolate

1 lb. bar of milk chocolate (for nest)

          Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 7 inch round cake pans by spraying them with cooking spray and lining them with parchment paper also coated with cooking spray and then sprinkled with cocoa powder on top. Tap out any excess coca powder. Set aside pans.
           In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa, espresso, and water until dissolved. Then add the sugar and continue whisking until smooth. Remove from heat.
          Stir in the remaining cake ingredients - eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk until well combined.
           Pour the cake batter into the two prepared pans and bake for about 45 minutes or until the skewer (cake tester) comes out clean.
          Allow the cakes to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pans. Remove from pans and peel off the parchment paper then allow to completely cool.
          Trim the tops of the cakes so that they are level for stacking. Place the first layer (cut side up) and frost with 1/2 cup Ganache.

Ganache Recipe

           To make the Ganache frosting, place 8 ounces of chopped chocolate and 1/2 cup of heavy cream into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (double boiler). Stir together until smooth and then refrigerate it. Stir occasionally over the next 10-15 minutes until it stiffens up a bit (like cream cheese) and then whisk it until it's nice and fluffy and smooth.
          Then place the other layer on top (cut side down), and finish frosting it with the remaining Ganache. Refrigerate about 15 minutes until firm.
          Melt semisweet chocolate over a double boiler along with the cream and corn syrup and stir until smooth. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then pour it over the cake and refrigerate about 15 minutes until nice and firm.

         Make the "nest" by scraping the milk chocolate bar with a sharp knife at a 90° angle ( i used a potato peeler) to form a nice pile of curls and shards (about 1 1/2 cups). Refrigerate to keep firm until ready to serve.
         Place cake on a nice cake plate and use the chocolate shavings to form the nest. Then fill the nest with chocolate eggs. You can make your own or used store-bought eggs.


Project 2. Easter Chicks

This was pretty simple. Just a normal cupcake recipe.

3 cups self raising flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

          Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated; scrape down sides of bowl, and beat in vanilla.
          Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
          Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.

           Okay, then you have to cover the cakes with buttercream. My cakes turned out disasterously small, so I had to sandwich 2 together to make a chick. Cover with buttercream, and roll in some toasted coconut. WARNING- if you have to toast the coconut yourself, do not toast for more than 2 minutes. I had no idea my grill was so powerful. After your chicks are looking more feathery, stick on some liquorice eyes, and strawberry lace combs. I even did liquorice feet, but it took so long.
            I felt bad when I had to eat them. I gave them names and everything. At least Harold tasted good.

sad little eyes

Project 3 - Macaroons

I'd always seen macaroons on the internet- the colourful ones, sandwiched together with buttercream. So when I found the recipe, I got very excited :) I made 6 different colours, and they all turned out really well.
Macaroons (makes 20)

175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large egg whites
75g caster sugar

For the filling
150g butter
75g icing sugar

         Preheat the oven to 160 degrees, grind icing sugar and ground almonds to make a fine mixture, then sift into a bowl. Sneaky hint: Use a coffee grinder.
          In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in caster sugar until thick & glossy. For different colours - now if the time to divide the mixture.
          Fold half the almond and icing sugar mixture into the meringue and mix well. Fold until mixture has a thick, ribbon-like consistency as it falls from the spatuala.
          Line baking skeets with baking paper. Pipe small rounds onto the paper.  Sneaky hint: Use a circular cookie cutter to pipe into.
          Leave to stand for 15 minutes, until the macaroon has a skin. - you should be able to touch them without getting mixture on your hands. Don't touch them too hard. I left a fingerprint in one of mine.
         Bake for 15 mins.
        Meanwhile, beat butter until light and fluffy, and beat in icing sugar. Use to sandwich pairs of macaroons together.

lots of pretty colours!

longest blog. ever. happy easter.

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