Chocolate Easter Nest Cake
Chocolate Easter Nest Cake

This jolly little egg-filled nest is the Easter equivalent of a Yule log: gorgeously light chocolate sponge generously covered in chocolate buttercream and decorated on a seasonal theme. Just the thing for Easter Sunday tea.

Smaller Bundt or Savarin cake pans aren’t easy to get hold of (and they’re quite pricey too) but you can easily improvise your own home-made version with an 18cm (7inch) loose bottomed cake tin and an empty (very well-washed) pilchard can.

Don’t forget to weigh the can down with baking beans though – otherwise as the cake rises it will push the can up with it!

Obviously, this would never happened to me. I, myself, naturally, instinctively knew better than to put an un-weighted can in the middle of a cake.

Ahem … well, anyway, you live and learn. . . .

A food processor makes short work of both the cake and the buttercream icing. You (or various family members) can have fun with the decoration: start off with a good grating of dark chocolate; pile sugar coated mini eggs into the middle, and pretty up the whole thing with edible spring flowers. *

Edible Flowers

Pansies, violas and primroses are all edible but anything grown from a bulb tends to be toxic to some degree.

Non-Edible Greenery

A garland of fresh green trailing ivy leaves looks terrific but do be aware that ivy leaves are toxic and that handling the leaves can cause skin irritation in some people.

Cuts into 8 generous slices
  • 175g (6oz) salted butter, softened
  • 175g (6oz) golden caster sugar
  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • 25g (1oz) cocoa powder
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda*
  • 2 level teaspoons cream of tartar*
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Plus: chocolate buttercream, see below, several squares of dark chocolate, fresh edible flowers and a 90g bag of sugar coated mini eggs

* Always use cook’s measuring spoons for raising agents

Preheat oven to (160C fan ovens) or equivalent

You will need an 18cm (7 inch) loose bottomed cake tin

Plus:

An empty well washed 155g pilchard can, label removed

Sufficient ceramic baking beans to almost fill the pilchard can

Whiz the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the raising agents to the weighed flour and cocoa and sieve half over the butter and sugar mixture covering it completely. Add the eggs and sieve the rest of the flour over the top.

Whiz to combine. Add the milk and whiz until smooth and glossy.

Grease the cake tin and around the outside of the pilchard can.

Position the can in the middle of the cake tin and fill not quite to the top with the baking beans.

Pour the cake mix carefully into the prepared cake tin and around the central pilchard can.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool in the tin. Remove the side of the cake tin first, then the bottom. Remove the pilchard can last of all with a gentle twisting action.

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 150g (5oz) sieved icing sugar
  • 25g (1oz) cocoa powder
  • 75g (3oz) salted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk to mix

Whiz the combined icing sugar and cocoa in the clean dry food processor bowl.

Add the butter and whiz until combined. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whiz until smooth and glossy.

Cover the cake with the chocolate buttercream. Grate over the dark chocolate.

Pile the mini eggs into the centre. Position the flowers just before serving.

It looks great when it’s cut into: with a central column of mini eggs. Unfortunately, I am unable to show you a photo of this as once it was cut into the whole cake disappeared at a rate of knots before I had a chance to get my camera out.