Credit for this particular recipe has to go fully to Nigella Lawson. I have an endless capacity for cake, chocolate, dessert or pudding so don’t need much of an excuse to bake these recipes at the best of times. So when an occasion rolls round, I tend to make one slightly more sophisticated cake for the adults, and something a little more rustic for the kiddies. I do the same at Christmas and for birthdays. So, for Easter, I wanted something to accompany a Simnel cake which would be a bit more child friendly and was seduced by a picture of this recipe online – dozens of chocolate eggs sitting atop a gooey, cracking chocolate cake. And that’s exactly what it is; a really hedonistic Easter treat. I’ll confess that I’ve made this twice now and on the second occasion threw caution to the wind and chopped up three Cadbury’s Creme Eggs and layered these on the top instead of the mini chocolate eggs. If anything, I think I preferred the latter version because the sweet stickiness of the Creme Eggs was a nice contrast to the bitter dark chocolate.Print this Recipe
- 9 oz / 250g high quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 6 oz / 175g caster sugar
- 4½ oz / 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon / 6 ml real vanilla extract
- 4½ oz / 125g high quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon / 6 ml real vanilla extract
- 8½ fl oz / 250 ml double cream
- 40 – 50 small, sugar-coated Easter eggs, enough to cover the top
Pre-heat the oven to 180° / gas mark 4.
Use a 9-inch / 23 cm cake tin, preferably springform. Line the bottom with baking parchment or re-usable non-stick baking liner. Do not grease the sides.
Melt the 250g of chocolate with the butter in the microwave, or using a double boiler. Set it aside and allow it to cool slightly.
Crack open four of the eggs and separate the white from the yolks. Whisk the whites until firm.
Continue to whisk while gradually adding 100g / 3½ ounces of the sugar. Whisk until the mixture is firm enough to stand in peaks but not stiff.
In another bowl, combine the remaining four yolks with the other two whole eggs. Whisk this while adding the remaining 75g / 2½ ounces of sugar and the 6 ml / 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then, gently fold this into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture.
You can start to lighten this chocolate mixture by spooning in some of the whisked egg whites from the other bowl, a few at a time while stirring quickly. Then you can fold in the rest of the egg whites in larger amounts. The key to this step is not to have too much going in at once.
Pour the combined mixture into the cake tin.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the cake has risen and the centre is firm and showing signs of cracks.
Put the tin on a wire rack to cool with the cake still in it. As the cake cools, the centre will start to collapse and more cracks appear. Do not worry.
Once cooled, remove the cake from the tin and put on a large plate or cake stand. Do not worry if bits fall off. Just put them back as best you can.
Melt the 125g of topping chocolate in the microwave or double boiler.
In a bowl, whip the cream until it is starting to firm up but is still soft.
Add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate.
Fill the dip in the top of the cake with the chocolate mixture and use a spatula to stretch it out and smooth it out gently to the edges.
Decorate with the miniature sugar-coated chocolate eggs.
Chocolate makers Cadbury always manufacture these decorative sugar-coated eggs in time for Easter each year: Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. It is possible to find small silicon jug-like pouring pots which you can use for melting chocolate in a microwave.
The Christian fasting period of Lent leading up to the great festival of Easter itself has long been associated with numerous customs concerned with baking, in various forms. The use of eggs is at the heart of it. Christians were forbidden to eat eggs during Lent, so the custom of using up all the eggs before Lent began gave us pancakes. However, no-one told the hens, who continued to lay throughout Lent, regardless. The medieval custom of baking Simnel cakes and the later Victorian custom of Easter cakes were quick ways to use up the eggs that had accumulated during Lent.Print this Recipe