Vanilla and Chocolate Easter Egg Cake

Easter egg cake

This is quite a silly post about a very silly recipe. This cake is not big and it is not clever. So much so that  I very nearly did not write this post. But it turned out to be really quite joyful, and a perfect cake for Easter, and so here it is.

I’d been trying to work out what to blog as Easter approached; there were a few lovely little bakes that I hadn’t finished recipe testing; there were a couple of experiments that were still very much still just that; I’d done the obvious easter bakes last year with hot cross buns, hot cross bun loaf, and bunny biscuits. I decided I was going to make a simple but delicious mini egg cake.

I had grand plans for it: a light golden, very vanilla-y sponge, topped with chocolate ganache which was going to be elegantly piped and draped into low, looping faux-drips. The decoration on top would be whimsical but deliberate: clusters of little eggs, seemingly haphazardly arranged, but actually artistically placed.

But life got in the way, as it has a tendency to do. And suddenly it was Wednesday night, and I had to order a chest of drawers, and pay my accountant, and watch the final episode of Happy Valley. So I baked the cake without really thinking about it. And then as I left the ganache to cool, just a little, I became preoccupied and suddenly it was time to eat supper. And supper was gorgeous, but by now my ganache was not.

Easter egg cake

It had thickened more than I wanted and wasn’t really dribblable. I slapped it on disconsolately with a spatula, imagining a more serene version of myself competently holding a piping bag. I plopped the mini eggs onto the ganache in a frenzy and flung (read: carefully placed) the cake in the corner and tried to ignore it.

Easter egg cake

I came home the following day, still annoyed about cake-gate, and crossly ate a packet of marmite crisps on the sofa. The cake was sitting on the coffee table, gently mocking me with its messy icing, its strangely regimented mini eggs.

I realised that the whole room smelt of vanilla and sugar. Cautiously, I cut a slice, because I may be an ungracious and feckless baker, but I’m not going to take that out on a cake.

And do you know what? It was absolutely delicious. And easy. And I enjoyed making it and I really, really enjoyed eating it. The sponge is light and so very vanilla-y, the chocolate icing is thick, smooth, just thick enough to hold its shape and teeth marks when bitten.

I can’t promise that, if you make this cake, it will be a proud yet whimsical masterpiece, but it might be, if you’re more skilled and organised than I am. But I can promise that it will be utterly delicious. This it will perfume your house with vanilla. That children (and grown ups) will love making it. That it will be easy. That actually, yes, you will be proud of it. And do you know what? I think that’s enough. That’s good enough for me. And good enough is, sometimes, more than good enough.

That’ll do cake, that’ll do.

Easter egg cake

It goes like this:

Easter Egg Cake

Sponge roughly adapted from ‘best white cake recipe {ever}

You can make this as a bundt like I have, or it would make a proud, tall round non-bundt cake. If you’re making it in a 9 inch cake tin, cut the recipe down by 1/3, or make two slightly thinner layers, and sandwich with more chocolate ganache.

(I know, there is a lot of sugar and margarine in this recipe, but there needs to be: this is quite a large cake, and really will happily serve at least twelve people)

Makes: 12 big slices
Takes: 10 minutes
Bakes: 45 minutes

For the sponge:
200g margarine
400g sugar
3 eggs
1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract
275g flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
100ml buttermilk
100ml whole milk

For the ganache:
100 ml double cream
100g milk chocolate

1 packet of mini eggs

1. First, make the sponge. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Thoroughly grease and flour a bundt tin (or if you’re using a non-bundt tin, grease and line with baking paper).

2. Using a stand mixer, hand beaters, or a lot of elbow grease, beat the margarine until fluffy, and then add the sugar bit by bit, continuing to beat, until completely combined and really very fluffy indeed. Add each of the eggs, one by one, beating in until combined, but no more, or the sponge will become tough. Fold in the vanilla extract.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in one bowl. Mix the buttermilk and milk together in another. Alternating, add them bit by bit to the egg-sugar-marg mixture, folding in with a spatula.

4. When everything has been mixed together, spoon the mixture into the bundt tin, shuffle it a little to even out the mixture, and place in the oven for 45 minutes (if you’re using a non-bundt tin, this might take a little longer; be led by the cake starting to move away from the sides of the pan, and if you’re worried pierce the cake with a cocktail stick; if cooked, the stick should come out clean).

5. Loosen the bundt cake: Pour very hot water over a tea towel and lay this taut over your bundt tin, without allowing the wet tea towel to touch the cake. Leave for fifteen minutes, and then turn the bundt out of its tin by placing a plate over it, and flipping the tin and plate in one bold, swooping motion. If the bundt it still reluctant, you can repeat the tea towel trick, and try again after another fifteen minutes.

6. Make the ganache: Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Heat the double cream in a small pan until it is steaming, just before it starts to properly boil. Pour over the broken chocolate. Leave for five minutes, and then gently stir. At first, it will look split and broken, but after a little bit of patience and attention, it will come together into a shiny, silky sauce. Set aside for ten-fifteen minutes to firm up just a bit.

7. Pour or smear the chocolate sauce over the cake depending on how neat you are and how set your ganache is.

8. Dot with mini eggs.

9. Ta Dah!

Easter egg cake

Icing on the Cake

This is a celebration cake. It should be eaten with lots of people, cut up all in one go bossily, and divvied out fat slice by fat slice, to proffered paper napkins. It should be eaten on Easter Sunday, in between a spring roast lunch and an evening forage for cheese and biscuits. But I can tell you that it’s also pretty great eaten at 4pm on a sad Thursday, or 11 am on a brighter Friday. If you want to posh it up and serve it as pudding, you can rely on my old faithful: a blob of crème fraiche.

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