Today I’ve made an Easter cake for the weekend, ready for family to devour it (as if there won’t be enough chocolate around!).  It’s such a simple cake but really pretty and effective, so I thought I’d share how to make it for anybody that fancies a bit of baking.

The recipe that I have based mine on is Mary Berry’s basic all in one sandwich cake recipe.  I love Mary Berry recipes, they always seem to work and I swear by them!  Having an Aga it also means that I don’t have to work out which oven to put things in, as she’s an Aga owner herself so her recipes include Aga timings thankfully.

To turn the cake in to a chocolate cake, I dissolve 3 heaped tablespoons of cocoa in a small amount of boiling water, and add it in at the last stage. I have adapted this recipe a bit, I do add more cocoa than normally suggested, just to make it more chocolatey, and I also add a couple of dollops of buttermilk.  I tend to put buttermilk in all my cakes because it just makes them so much moister, I usually have it in the fridge ready (it also gets used a lot for pancakes for breakfasts in our house!), but if you don’t have buttermilk you can use sour cream or even plain yoghurt.

I always make double the recipe, as I like a taller cake because I just think it looks nicer.  Plus more room for decorations, which is always my favourite part!  So I’ve doubled the recipe given in the link and then split the batter between four sandwich tins, to give the cake a bit of height.

So use the recipe above (feel free to ignore my tweaks!), using our tips to get a nice flat cake from our FAQ (or even better, a recipe from the notes from one of our classes) and then whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the buttercream.  You’ll need quite a bit for this cake as it’s a tall one with lots of layers, I made 900g of buttercream.  To make the buttercream use a good quality butter (such as Lurpak), and cream 300g of it in the mixer until it’s light and fluffy.  I am slightly unusual in that I don’t like normal buttercream as it’s too sweet and sickly for me, so I always make mine with salted butter!  But most people would use unsalted for this.  When the butter is creamed, add 600g of icing sugar gradually, and a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract.  When you’re happy with the consistency you can add the colour.  I used Sugarflair Eucalyptus and a dash of Sugarflair Navy to give the cake a duck egg/robins egg hue.  Remember that paste colours are very intense, so you only need a tiny bit!

Put some buttercream between each layer of cake (I’m blaming tutors Natalie and Jenni for my need to now always pipe the buttercream, I never used to be such a perfectionist!), making sure that each is level before putting the next one on.  When the cake is complete, and the sides are as straight as you can get them, crumb coat with your buttercream and then put it in the fridge for half an hour or so to set.  Then it’s time for the final coat of buttercream, which ideally would be as smooth as you can get it for a good finish, although as you can see, mine certainly isn’t perfect!

The final touch are the ‘speckles’ to give it the egg effect, and I did this using just cocoa dissolved in some water, flicked at the cake with a stiff (clean!) paintbrush.  It’s very messy as you can see, so do put some paper down on your worktops, or use a wipe clean tablecloth.

A final cluster of chocolate eggs on top and you have a gorgeous Easter cake ready for sharing with friends or family (if you’re feeling generous).

Happy Easter all!  Have a wonderful time.

Lucy. x