Chocolate nest Easter cake
- April 2019
- Serves 12-14
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 35-45 min, plus cooling
Martha Collison‘s chocolate nest Easter cake goes all out with white chocolate sponge, dark chocolate buttercream and Mini Egg-filled nests.
Martha says: ”I used kataifi pastry (see know how) to create a wispy, crunchy nest. You can use shredded wheat cereal instead.”
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- 33.9g (20.6g saturated)
- 91.7g (64.6g sugars)
For the white chocolate sponge
- 175g white chocolate, chopped
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 225ml semi-skimmed milk
- 375g plain flour
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 150g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate buttercream
- 175g good quality dark chocolate
- 225g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 25g cocoa powder
- 350g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
For the nest
- Vegetable oil for greasing
- 125g kataifi pastry (or shredded wheat – see Know-how)
- 150g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- Chocolate mini eggs to decorate
You’ll also need…
- 3 x 18cm loose-bottomed round sandwich tins, greased and bases lined with non-stick baking paper
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) until smooth, then set aside.
- Put the remaining ingredients for the sponge in a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer (or use a stand mixer) for 2-3 minutes until you have a smooth, thick batter. Fold in the melted white chocolate, then divide equally among the prepared cake tins (I use an ice-cream scoop for accuracy).
- Smooth the tops of the cakes with a spatula, then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean and the cakes are golden brown on top. Cool for 5 minutes in the tins, then remove the cakes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the chocolate buttercream, melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water), then set aside to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth, then add the cocoa powder. Gradually add the icing sugar, a little at a time, and the milk, beating until light and fluffy (around 4-5 minutes), then gradually fold in the melted chocolate and beat again until smooth (see tip).
- Trim the tops of the sponges using a serrated knife so they’re all perfectly flat. Apply a small amount of buttercream to the centre of a plate or cake stand, then stick down the bottom sponge. Build the cake, spreading buttercream in between each layer, then cover the whole cake with the remaining buttercream. Use a palette knife to smooth the edges upwards to mimic a nest (see picture).
- To make the nest, heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and grease and line a small bowl with cling film. Pull apart the strands of kataifi pastry so they aren’t too tangled, then bake on a baking tray for 10 minutes or until crisp. (If using shredded wheat, simply break up into smaller pieces – no need to bake). Melt the chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of boiling water and remove from the heat.
- Carefully add the pastry (or shredded wheat) to the melted chocolate. Stir gently to coat – it’s easier to use your hands – then use the pastry/shredded wheat to mould a nest in the prepared bowl, pushing the mixture up the sides. Set aside to harden (chill if your kitchen is warm).
- Serve the cake with the nest sitting on the top filled with colourful chocolate mini eggs.
If the buttercream looks as if it might split (step 4), stop adding the chocolate and chill the mixture. Once chilled, beat in a splash of boiling water to bring the buttercream back together.
The assembled, iced cake will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
Greek/Middle Eastern kataifi pastry comes in thin strands that resemble finely shredded filo. Buy online from hellenicgrocery.co.uk.
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