Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Egg Nest Cake

When I'm looking for something festive, kitschy, and fun?  I know I can turn to my girl Nigella.  She throws the kinds of parties that I want to attend.  Nothing too fussy.  We must have a drink in one hand, after all. Everything tasty.  Fun lights and decorations.  Happy chatter full of people swooning in "Brit".  I mean that in a good way - I could listen to a British accent for hours and be happy.  

So the minute I saw her Easter Egg Nest Cake, I was reminded that I've been wanting to try it.  I just always think about it at the wrong time.  But not this year.  The timing was perfect.  Mine turned out looking pretty much nothing like hers.   Except for the Cadbury Mini Eggs.  The best part.  I have to force myself NOT to open the bag before I need them by hiding it away in a high cupboard.  I love those things.

I'm going to try this again.  But probably not until next year.  It's good.  And decadent.  There's a rich, fudgy, not-overly-sweet bottom layer.  It's followed by a cool layer of softly whipped cream sweetened only by the chocolate that you fold* into it.  And the whole thing is topped off with a good scattering of those irresistibe thin-candy shelled, creamy-chocolate centered Cadbury Mini Eggs.  It deserves to make the table every year.
*Let's talk about the folding of melted chocolate into whipped cream.  When I whip cream, I do it straight from the fridge.  This caused the chocolate to seize up when I tried to fold it in.  I went ahead and left it as it was.  Because I thought it looked kinda cool even though I was hoping for an actual chocolate-colored whipped cream.  Of course I thought about the fact that I probably could have just whipped it for a bit longer after adding the chocolate without doing any harm.  So I will try this next year.  And add an update to let you know if that solves the problem.  Or you could just try whipping room temperature cream, I suppose...

Oh!  I also wanted to note that I used semi-sweet chocolate in the cake pictured.  Nigella's called for dark chocolate, but since I had it, I wanted to use it.  I liked it, but I'm also going to try dark chocolate next go 'round.

Easter Egg Nest Cake

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate Easter cake spring

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
    FOR THE CAKE
    • 8 oz. chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, or milk), chopped
    • 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
    • 6 eggs- 2 whole; 4 separated
    • 6 oz. superfine sugar, divided
    • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    FOR THE TOPPING
    • 4 oz. chocolate (dark, semi-sweet, or milk), chopped
    • 8 oz. (1 c.) heavy cream
    • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • ~10 oz. Cadbury Mini Eggs (or other chocolate eggs with thin candy shell of your choice)
    Instructions
    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Line the bottom of a 9" springform tin with parchment paper or spray with pan spray, but do not grease the sides.

    for the cake:
    Melt the chocolate and butter in either a double boiler or a microwave and set aside to cool slightly.

    Whisk the 4 egg whites until thick and aerated, then gradually add 3½ oz. of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape and are shiny, but not stiff.

    Set this bowl aside. In another bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs and 4 yolks with 2½ oz. of sugar and the vanilla extract. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture.

    Lighten the mixture by stirring in a spoonful of the egg whites and then gently fold in the rest of the whites in three additions.

    Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the center no longer appears wobbly on the surface.

    Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack. The middle will sink as it cools and the sides will splinter. This is a good thing - it's what makes it look a bit like a nest.

    To finish the cake, carefully remove it from the tin and place it on a plate or cake stand, not worrying if bits fall off here and there. Put them back in a loose fashion.

    for the topping:
    Melt the chocolate for the topping and leave it to cool a little.

    Whip the cream until it is forms soft peaks. Add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate. (note: When I folded in the melted chocolate, the cold cream caused it to seize up, resulting in a white cream with chocolate squiggles through it. You may want to try just adding the chocolate and whipping for a a bit longer to achieve a consistent "chocolate" color. It'll taste good whichever way you choose to do it.)

    Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolate whipped cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake with a rubber spatula.

    Arrange the little sugar Easter eggs on top.  This cake is best when eaten the same day that it is made.
    slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson
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