• 7 delicious cake recipes for Easter entertaining

    by  • March 3, 2016 • Easter, Food For Friends • 1 Comment

    Homes-&-Gardens-easter-cake-recipeHomemade cakes always add a thoughtful touch to special occasions. They’re perfect for presenting as a centrepiece at a family celebration or can be given as a gift in their own right. Whether your weakness is for a delicate aroma and a crumbly texture or a rich and buttery flavour, slice into any one one of these indulgent offerings and you’ll soon be back for seconds.

    CELEBRATION EASTER CAKE

    (Above) Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and firm. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out.  You might need to run a knife around the edge, and then cool on a wire rack.

    Makes 10-12 slices

    This lovely lemon cake is so easy to make and is just as lovely served without icing.  If you don’t want to make a tower of four cakes, simply half the mixture and make two.  You can decorate it in the same way or simply leave it plain.

    For the cake

    400g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

    400g caster sugar

    6 large free-range eggs (organic if possible)

    100g white spelt flour

    250g ground almonds

    250g ground almonds

    3 tsp baking powder

    zest of 2 lemons

    3 tbsp lemon curd

    4 shop-bough macaroons and spring flowers to decorate

    For the butter cream

    200g butter, softened

    400g icing sugar

    1 tbsp vanilla essence

    few drops of lemon food colouring

    Method

    Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Grease the base and sides of 4 x20cm round cake tins and line the bottom with baking parchment. If you don’t have enough cake tins, make the cake in two batches.

    Make up the batter, divide into two and add the baking powder just before you bake each batch. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric hand whisk or wooden spoon.

    Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. Gently fold in the flour, followed by the almonds, lemon zest and baking powder. Divide the mixture into the two tins and tap the sides to release any air bubbles. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the sponge is golden and when a skewer is inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean.

    Leave the cakes to cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely. For the butter icing, beat the softened butter in a large bowl and then add the sifted icing sugar, little by little.  

    Add the vanilla essence and a little milk if the mixture is too stiff.  Beat in the food colouring until well combined. To assemble the cake:  Lay one cake and spread with a quarter of the lemon curd, cover with the next cake and repeat with the lemon curd.

    Repeat until you have a stack of four sponges. Spread over the butter icing and top with the macaroons and spring flowers. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

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     CHERRY AND MARZIPAN CAKE

    A layer of marzipan melts into the sponge of this deliciously light cake.

    Ingredients

    Serves 8

    200g whole undyed glacé cherries or Polish sour cherries

    225g self-raising flour

    1⁄2 tsp baking powder

    120g marzipan

    225g unsalted butter, softened

    225g golden caster sugar

    Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated, plus 2 tbsp lemon juice

    4 eggs, lightly beaten

    115g ground almonds

    2 tbsp demerara sugar

    Instructions

    Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, Gas Mark 31⁄2. Butter a 30x11x6.5cm loaf tin, or a 23cm round cake tin, and line the base with baking parchment.

    Rinse and completely dry the cherries on kitchen towel. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

    Roll out the marzipan between 2 sheets of clingfilm into a very thin rectangle or circle, slightly smaller than the tin, and set aside.

    Cream the butter, sugar and zest together in an electric mixer until very pale, light and fluffy (this will take about 5 minutes). Beat in the eggs a little at a time, adding 1 tablespoon of flour during the process to stop the mixture from curdling. Fold in the almonds, sifted flour mixture and lemon juice until well blended, then spoon half the cake mixture into the tin.

    Place half the cherries over the batter in a shape echoing that of the tin, but towards the middle. This will support the marzipan. Lay on the marzipan, then add the remaining cherries, again in a shape echoing the tin, but this time towards the outer edge. Pour in the remaining batter. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and bake for 50-60 minutes.

    The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean and the centre springs back to the touch. Cool the cake in the tin for 15-20 minutes, then turn out and remove the paper. Leave to cool completely. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit in the middle. This is due to the weight of the marzipan and cherries. If decorating, simply invert it so the flat base forms the top.

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    GIANT CUPCAKE

    An oversized cupcake will certainly stand out from the crowd

    Ingredients

    Serves 10-12

    For the cake

    60g hazelnuts, skinned

    225g self-raising flour

    1 tsp baking powder

    225g unsalted butter, softened

    225g light muscovado sugar

    4 eggs, lightly beaten

    2 tbsp milk

    25ml very strong coffee

    For the buttercream

    300g unsalted butter, softened

    2 tsp vanilla extract

    400g icing sugar, sifted

    To decorate

    2 x 125g packets milk or dark chocolate fingers

    Chocolate-covered coffee beans

    Instructions

    Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC , Gas mark 4. Lightly butter two 15cm diameter, 7cm deep, round tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

    Scatter the nuts for the cake on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5 mins, shaking once and watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn, then remove from the oven and chop.

    Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. In an electric mixer, or in a large bowl with an electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until very ligh and fluffy. Add the eggs very slowly, with the mixer or whisk running, adding 1 tbsp of the flour during the process to prevent curdling. Finally, using a large spoon or spatula, fold in the remaining flour, the nuts, milk and coffee until well blended.

    Pour the batter into the tins and bake for 30-35 minutes. Leave to cool completely, then put it in the freezer for about an hour (this makes it much easier to shape).

    Meanwhile, to make the buttercream, beat the butter in an electric mixer until really pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the icing sugar and beat for at least 5 minutes, until light and creamy.

    Take 1 cake and, with a very sharp knife, cut down the sides at an angle so that it is narrower at the base (to mimic a cupcake case). Slice the cake horizontally and fill with buttercream, spreading it on the top surface too. Take the second cake and place on top. Shape it into a dome, then slice it in half horizontally and fill with buttercream.

    Spread a layer of buttercream around the sides of the bottom cake and put the remainder into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Ice the top just as you would a small cupcake. Arrange the chocolate fingers vertically all around the sides of the cake for the ‘cupcake case’, pressing them into the buttercream. Sprinkle the chocolate coffee beans over the cake.

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     WHITE CHOCOLATE AND CARDAMOM ROSEWATER SPONGE

    Use white Swiss chocolate to make the ganache filling for this delicately flavoured cake

    Ingredients

    Serves 8

    For the cake

    20 green cardamom pods

    170g self-raising flour

    100g white chocolate, chopped

    130g white caster sugar

    130g unsalted butter, softened

    2 eggs, beaten

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    For the ganache

    100g white chocolate, finely chopped

    100ml double cream

    2 tsp rosewater

    For the glacé icing

    150g icing sugar, sifted

    Instructions

    Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4. This cake could be made in a heart-shaped tin measuring 23cm at its widest point and 6.5cm deep, but you can use a 20cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round tin. Butter the tin, then line with baking parchment.

    Split the caradamom pods with the point of a knife, empty out the seeds and grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Sift the cardamom with the flour to remove any husks.

    Place the chocolate in a processor with half the sugar and whizz until fine. Take 2 tbsp hot water – not boiling or the chocolate will seize – and leave it until you can just dip in your finger. Dribble it into the chocolate mix, processing until most has melted. Add the remaining sugar and the butter, cut into knobs, and process. Add the eggs, flour mixture and vanilla and mix again. Don’t worry if there are pieces of chocolate in the batter.

    Pour into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Rest in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack, removing the parchment. Leave until cold.

    Meanwhile, make the ganache: place the chocolate in a bowl and, in a pan, bring the cream and rosewater to the boil. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate, leave it for a few seconds, then gently stir until smooth. Leave until cold, chill slightly, then whisk until thick.

    Split the cake in half and invert so the flat base forms the top. Fill with the ganache and top with the second layer of cake. Place the icing sugar in a small bowl. Add 11⁄2-2 tablespoons of water until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour over the cake and allow to drizzle down the sides.

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    STICKY TOFFEE CUPCAKES

    A favourite pudding brought up to date and topped with butter icing

    Ingredients

    Makes 12

    For the cakes

    180g dates, pitted and chopped

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    180g self-raising flour

    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

    80g unsalted butter, softened

    150g light muscovado sugar

    2 eggs, lightly beaten

    For the buttercream

    160g salted butter, softened

    200g icing sugar, sifted

    1⁄2 tsp salt (or to taste)

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    Caramel method

    125g white caster sugar

    80ml double cream

    Dulce De Leche method

    3-4 tbsp dulce de leche

    Instructions

    Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4. Place 12 paper cases into a cupcake tin.

    In a heatproof bowl, pour 180ml boiling water over the dates and soak for 20 minutes. Gently break up the dates with a fork and stir in the vanilla extract. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside.

    Cream together the unsalted butter and muscovado sugar for a good 5 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating between each addition and slipping in 1 tablespoon of the flour about halfway through to prevent curdling. Lastly, fold in the remaining sifted flour mixture and then the date mixture.

    Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes (the tops should spring back when pressed with a finger). Remove and leave to cool.

    Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Cream the salted butter and icing sugar for at least 5 minutes in an electric mixer and then add either the caramel or dulce de leche. To make the caramel, dissolve the sugar and 60ml water in a small, solid-based pan over a gentle heat, then increase the heat to the boil. Wait a few minutes, leaving the pan undisturbed but watching it. As soon as it changes to a caramel colour (resembling strong tea) and is thicker, remove immediately from the heat, stand well back and add the cream. Be very careful as it is hot and may splatter. The mixture will react, or “seize”. Keep stirring, adding the salt and the vanilla extract. Leave until stone cold.

    For the dulce de leche version, mix it with the salt and vanilla, and add to the buttercream. Put the flavoured buttercream into a nylon piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe it on to the cupcakes.

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     VERY LEMONY CRUNCH CAKE

    This moist sponge is doused in lemon syrup to give a crunchy top

    Ingredients

    Serves 6

    For the cake

    175g self-raising flour

    Pinch of salt

    175g unsalted butter, softened

    2 eggs, lightly beaten

    175g caster sugar

    Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon

    For the topping

    Juice of 1 large lemon

    100g white granulated sugar

    Instructions

    Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4. Lightly butter an 18cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round spring-form tin and line it with baking parchment.

    Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside to cool slightly. Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs and caster sugar together until very light and fluffy (this may take 5 minutes). Blend in the melted butter then, very gently, fold in the flour and zest. Finally, slowly fold in the lemon juice.

    Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch, or a skewer comes out clean. Make the topping by mixing the juice and sugar together in a small bowl. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick tiny holes all over it with a fine skewer or cocktail stick. Pour the lemon syrup evenly all over the surface. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

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     STAR ANISE, ALMOND AND CLEMENTINE CAKE

    Once baked, this exotic cake has a wonderfully refreshing citrus flavour.

     Ingredients

    Serves 8

    For the syrup

    80ml clementine juice
    (about 2 fruits)

    50g light muscovado sugar

    5–6 star anise flowers

    For the cake

    250g unsalted butter, softened

    225g golden caster sugar

    Zest of 4 clementines, finely grated

    4 eggs, lightly beaten

    220g ground almonds

    80g plain flour, sifted

    1 tsp baking powder

    Instructions

    To make the syrup, gently boil together the clementine juice, sugar and star anise until the liquid reduces, then cover and leave to infuse at room temperature.

    Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4. Butter a 20cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round springform tin, then line it with baking parchment.

    Cream the butter, sugar and zest together until very light and fluffy (this will take a good 5 minutes). Add the eggs very slowly and then, with a large metal spoon, fold in the almonds, flour and baking powder.

    Pour the batter into the cake tin, level the surface and bake for 45–50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. As soon as the cake is cooked, prick holes all over the surface with a fine skewer or cocktail stick and drizzle evenly with the syrup.

    Leave the star anise flowers from the syrup where they fall on the cake, for decoration. Allow to cool completely in the tin.

    Recipe 1 by Katie Giovanni, Photograph by Simon Brown.

    Recipes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 taken from BAKE & DECORATE by FIONA CAIRNS, £12.99, Quadrille.

    One Response to 7 delicious cake recipes for Easter entertaining

    1. March 1, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      mm yummy, this with a big pot of tea. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

      Simon

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