Chocolate Easter Nest Cake
250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g good quality cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate, grated
For the chocolate buttercream filling:
50g butter, softened
50g cocoa powder
120g icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
For the ganache topping:
200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
100ml double cream
For the nest:
vermicelli or Shredded Wheat
20g chocolate, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/Gas mark 4.
2. Grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins.
3. In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and fold in with a spatula, taking care not to knock the air out.
5. Fold in the grated chocolate and the milk.
6. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 prepared cake tins.
7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and the cakes are well risen.
8. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then remove and place on a wire rack until completely cooled.
9. Make the ganache topping first as it needs a little time to cool and thicken. Place the chocolate pieces in a bowl with the butter and pour on the hot cream (heat in a microwave in 20 sec bursts, checking in between each).
10. Pour the cream on top of the chocolate and butter and whisk continuously until the ganache is smooth. You can heat it in the microwave for a few seconds if it cools before the chocolate is fully melted.
11. Leave to cool and thicken so that it is still easily spreadable.
12. To make the filling, beat the butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder and milk together until smooth and creamy.
13. Sandwich the two layers together with the chocolate buttercream and then spread the ganache over the top of the cake with a palette knife.
14. Place the vermicelli or Shredded Wheat in a bowl and pull apart with your fingers. Try not to break it too small - 8 cm lengths are fine.
15. Pour the melted chocolate over the strands and coat them gently with your fingers so that they resemble twigs.
16. Cover 2 bowls (one a little bigger than the other) with cling film. Line the inside of the bigger bowl with the 'twigs', place the smaller bowl inside the 'nest' and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes until hardened.
17. Remove the nest from the bigger bowl and gently peel away the cling film from the bottom. Place the nest on top of the cake and fill with mini eggs and Easter chicks.
18. Serve with ice-cream or fresh cream. Enjoy!