While I have been baking less frequently lately, I’m trying to do so with more care, i.e. extra hours of day dreaming. Quality over voracious quantity, I suppose – with respect to reminding myself I don’t have to bring treats in to work everyday despite having set a precedent for such a thing to be expected (an expectation I entirely place on myself – thank you, type A personality). I’m pleased with the result – creating something in person that is just as beautiful as what I’ve pictured in my head is enough to induce genuine squealing (of joy, not like a pig stuck in a fence or something). This cake is no exception.
It is a creme egg in cake form – the bottom and top layers made from chocolate fudge mud cake, the middle vanilla buttermilk (both arising from the same initial batter because I am that lazy or efficient, depending on how you want to look at it). The filling between is a buttercream attempt at the fondant inside the egg, and the Dairy Milk fudge icing completes it, with actual Creme eggs and other Easter treats to complete it. I’m a loyal Whittaker’s girl in most respects, but their lack of Easter goodies and desire to recreate Cadbury’s ubiquitous Easter egg means the Dairy Milk is absolutely non-negotiable.
I used to be terrified of layer cakes. In some ways, I still am. However, as long as you bake the cakes in advance, freeze them in cling wrap, and ensure you have all the decorating ingredients and enough butter and icing sugar for the frosting the next day, you’re golden. This cake took all up maybe 2 and a half hours to create – including cooking time, with very little stress (and mess).
One thing I have noticed with making layer cakes is the sheer volume of butter cream – this obviously renders a very sweet result. This was perhaps desirable in my efforts to mimic a Creme egg, but the desire for a lie down and large glass of milk after the consumption of a slice is perhaps not what I am aiming for every time I make a cake! The next time I make one, I’ve decided to get out of my comfort zone of simple buttercream and stretch the legs of my sugar thermometer by attempting Italian meringue.
“There’s a lot happening here … in a good way” – so rest assured, you can probably serve 20-30 people with this.
For the cake layers:
- 180g butter, softened but not melted
- 270g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, free range and room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 330g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 250ml buttermilk (or 220ml full fat milk with 2 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar, mixed and left to sit for a few minutes)
- 1/2 cup hot coffee
- 100g dark chocolate in chunks or melts
- Yellow food colouring
For the fondant filling:
- 120g butter, softened
- 120g Kremelta at room temperature (shortening)
- 550g icing sugar
- 4 tbsp pouring cream
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- Yellow food colouring
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
For the Dairy Milk fudge frosting:
- 100g butter, softened
- 100g sour cream, room temperature
- 450g icing sugar
- 150g Cadbury Dairy Milk, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1-3 tbsp milk
To decorate: 2 full size Creme eggs, 5 mini Creme eggs, Malteser bunny, pieces of Dairy Milk chocolate, edible flowers, Oreo crumbs
- Preheat your oven to 350F/180C bake. Grease two (or four, if you’re lucky enough to have that many) 8″ pans liberally with butter.
- Make the cakes: cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, along with a little flour and the vanilla essence with the last egg. Mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda, then beat into the cake batter in alternating portions with the buttermilk.
- Divide the cake batter in half in separate bowls. Separate about a third of one of the halves of the mixture (a sixth, effectively) and beat in enough yellow food colouring to achieve a reasonably convincing “yolk” colour. For the chocolate mud cake, add the chocolate melts to the hot coffee so they melt before adding to the other half of the cake batter (the entire half). Make sense? You should now have 1/6th of “yolk”, 1/3 of vanilla buttermilk batter, 1/2 of chocolate mud.
- Pour equal portions of the chocolate mud cake into the two cake tins, spread across so they are even and bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven, cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes and then on a rack until room temperature.
- To make the middle “egg” section, dollop the yolky yellow batter in the middle of the regreased tins and then spread the vanilla cake mix around it. Spread with a spatula to create an even top. Bake again for 25-30 minutes, then remove and cool as previously.
- When the cakes are cool, wrap in cling film and store in the freezer overnight or up to a month (!).
- Prepare the frostings while the cakes are still in the freezer, waiting to be decorated. Make the fondant filling by beating the butter and kremelta together until combined, then adding increments of the icing sugar. Finally add the vanilla essence and cream to thin it out enough for spreading. Separate 1/4 of the frosting into a small bowl and beat in the yellow food colouring and golden syrup.
- For the fudge frosting, melt the Dairy Milk in short bursts in the microwave until just about entirely melted, then remove from heat and stir to melt the remaining pieces. Set aside to cool while beating together the butter, sour cream and icing sugar. Add the Dairy Milk and beat further. Add enough milk for the frosting to be spread easily.
- To assemble: secure the bottom chocolate layer to your serving dish with a little of the fondant frosting. Spread a little of the yellow fondant in the centre, and then smooth the white fondant filling around it out to the edges. Top with one of the “egg cake” vanilla layers, repeat the same fondant spreading step, then again with another of the vanilla layers. Finish with the final chocolate cake. Spread a thin layer of the fudge frosting over the cake to create a “crumb coat” and leave to set for 10 minutes before covering with the remainder of the frosting using a spatula to smooth. Decorate the centre of the top of the cake with Oreo crumbs before topping further with the easter items.
- Congratulations, you have just created Easter happiness.