Easter Cake

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I am so over the moon with how my first attempt at both a layer cake, and a buttercream icing cake turned out! I found this great recipe over on pinterest, courtesy of the lovely Sarah at Taming Twins. It caught my eye thanks to the gorgeous pastel colours and because IT WAS FILLED WITH MINI EGGS!!!!

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I love Easter, but have long since passed the tradition of giving and receiving Easter Eggs with my family (much to my husbands chagrin). I still enjoy the opportunity to stuff my face with chocolate at this time of year, and had been thinking of a baking idea involving mini eggs anyway. As I said earlier, I’ve never made a layer cake before, and I have to say that element didn’t faze me, but the ombre buttercream icing did! I don’t yet have a full array of baking equipment, like a revolving cake stand or an icing smoother so I had to improvise somewhat.

I baked my cakes on Saturday afternoon, ready for icing them on Sunday. Per the recipe on Sarah’s blog, I took her advice on decorating the cake on the day we were going to eat it as the mini eggs do lose their crunch a little when stuck to the icing. I didn’t trim the top and bottom layer of each individual cake as I didn’t quite get the rise I was expecting. Sarah’s recipe didn’t state an oven temperature, and I think I didn’t have mine quite high enough, as my oven is usually very quick. I did however trim round the edge of each cake so you couldn’t see the brown bake. I also cut a hole in my top layer as I wanted the mini eggs on the inside to be right to the top of the cake.

I was a little disappointed with the cake colouring for the violet cake, I used Dr Oetker and I’m aware I really ought to swap to a better quality colouring as this is not the first time I’ve had issues. But anyway the texture and moistness was lovely so I was really pleased with that. I didn’t get chance to take any photos during the bake as my hand mixer decided to give up the ghost, so I ended up finishing the cake batter mixing by hand, oooooowwwwwwww. I’d probably say if you only have a hand mixer then prepare the cake batter in stages rather than in one go as it is a lot of cake mix.  I also did all the buttercream mixing by hand which was slightly stressful, so I did this little by little, colouring it as I went.

When it came to finishing the icing on the outside of the cake, I followed Sarah’s tips and placed the cake on baking paper on the cake board I’d got, so I could make a mess on there and slide the cake off easily once finished. I was not happy with the icing as I was doing the bottom colour layers, but as soon as I started working on the top layer my confidence grew a little as it was starting to look how I expected. As for smoothing the edges once all the icing was on, I used a CD case. It worked pretty well! I like the textured look on the icing and the imperfections in smoothing, and I was chuffed with how the colours worked. And it tasted fantastic, which is the most important thing of all!

I hope you enjoy me sharing this with you, and would love to hear your thoughts!

Suzy xx

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Cheesy Twists

Delightfully easy to make nibbles perfect for any party or appetizer!

Cheesy Straws

Makes 12-14 Cheesy Twists 

Required equipment: 1 large baking sheet, lightly oiled; large rolling pin

Ingredients

325g quick puff pastry (shop bought for beginners like me!)

150g mature cheddar cheese finely grated – or similar hard cheese such as Red Leicester or parmesan for a different flavour

2-3 tbsp of coarse ground mustard

1 beaten egg

To make the cheesy straws

Roll out the block of pastry on a well floured board in a rectangular shape to around 5mm thick.

Rolled out pastry

Trim the edges to a neat rectangular shape.

Trimmed Pastry

On one half, spread the mustard over, leaving a little room around the edges.

Filling

Repeat the above for most of the grated cheese, keeping a small amount back for sprinkling later.

Fold the mustard half of the pastry over the cheesy half, and roll out again back to its original size. Be careful not to tear the pastry when rolling, use light motions to gently spread out. The larger you roll out to, the more straws you will make. Try and maintain the rectangular shape as neatly as you can.

Rolled straws

Slice the pastry into strips approx 2.5cm across, and place one end on the baking tray you will be using. From here carefully twist each strip and place along the baking sheet, making sure to leave a small gap between each twist ready for baking.

Strips Twists

Use all strips and then brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over all the twists. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes and pre heat the oven to 180° fan/200° electric/Gas Mark 6 before baking for around 15 minutes until golden and crispy.

I found this foray into handling pastry a quick and easy one, and I thought the end result not only looked fantastic but they tasted superb! I will attempt this again but will try making my own puff pastry once I’ve improved my pastry skills, looking forward to the challenge!

Enjoy!

Suzy xx

This recipe has been adapted from my subscription to Baked & Delicious magazine.