Sometimes, as this year, my birthday falls on Easter Day itself, which, when I was a child, made it extra special. So it had to be a chocolate cake this month and as there are plenty of Easter eggs all over the place, I’ve chosen another traditional theme; a nest full of chicks.
- 1 packet Jane Asher Chocolate Sponge Cake Mix
- 2 medium eggs
- 170ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp (15ml) oil
- 125g soft butter or margarine
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g self-raising flour, sieved
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 level tsp baking powder
- 1 packet (or 125g ) Jane Asher white chocolate chips
- 1 packet Jane Asher chocolate icing mix (or 110g icing sugar plus 1 dsp cocoa powder)
- 60g softened butter
- A little milk
You will need:
- 2 x 20.5 cm baking tins
- 10cm round cutter
- Cake pops mould (optional, but makes it easier)
- Cake board
- 6-8 cocktail sticks
- Sugar flowers
- Sprinkles – chocolate, green and yellow
- Orange and dark chocolate writing icing
- Silver balls
- Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan, 375F, gas mark 5).
- Grease the baking tins and line the bottoms with baking parchment.
- Mix the cake mix with the eggs, milk and oil as directed on the packet, or mix the all-in-one cake ingredients together in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon until smooth.
- Pour the mix into the prepared tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool a couple of minutes in the tins, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Add the icing mix (or sieved icing sugar and cocoa powder) to the softened butter and beat well until smooth and fluffy, adding a little milk to give a soft texture.
- Using about a third of the butter icing, sandwich the two cakes together.
- Keeping the cut off pieces to one side, shape the top outside edge of the cake with a serrated knife so that it is rounded. Using the cutter, take out a hole in the centre of the cake to the depth of the top cake.
- Put all the cut off cake pieces into a processor or blender and process until in crumbs (or chop finely with a sharp knife).
- Melt the white chocolate chips gently in a bowl over hot water. Mix about a third of the melted chocolate into the cake crumbs and stir well until blended.
- Fill 6 shapes in a cake pop mould with the mixture, filling each half to the brim before pressing the mould together (or roll into balls with your hands). Place in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread the remaining butter icing all over the cake. The cake will be soft and crumbly where you have trimmed it, so you may have to add a little extra milk to the icing to help it to spread: don’t worry if it pulls up crumbs as you do, as they can be disguised with sprinkles. Move the cake onto a cake board and mark the icing with a fork to give it a ‘nesty’ look. Add chocolate and green sprinkles and some pretty Easter sugar flowers.
- Gently melt the white chocolate again. Pour the yellow sprinkles into a small bowl. Take out the cake pops and spear each one with a cocktail stick, dip into the chocolate and then immediately into the yellow sprinkles, rolling it around until coated and then quickly place into the freezer again before the chocolate slides off.
- When all the chicks are cold and set, add beaks with the orange writing icing and eyes with the chocolate icing and silver balls. Push carefully into the centre of the nest.