** So I didn't make this cake as part of a challenge, but I recently stumbled across an Easter Cake Competition over at A Slice of Cherry Pie - it looked fun, so I thought I would submit my cake, though when looking at the posts from last years, it is all in fun (I am not nearly as talented as the others bakers!)**
At family gatherings, I am the one who prefers to bring the dessert. Pies are my preference - but it was time for a cake...this one, Martha inspired *gasp* - to check out the original, it is in the March 08 Martha Stewart Living.
Ingredients for Cake Layers
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee (I used Swiss Chocolate coffee - even more chocolate flavour!)
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup good quality creamy/smooth peanut butter
1 stick butter (half a cup)
2 cups icing sugar
2-3 Tbsp milk or cream
Ingredients for Chocolate Icing
5 Tbs boiling water
6oz butter or soft margarine
9-12oz icing sugar, sifted
For the Cake Layers: *or cupcakes - those turned out great as well*
- Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
- Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer).
- Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well.
- Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
- Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Adjust time accordingly for cupcakes - mini's took about 15 minutes.
- Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks.
- Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely.
- Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
For the Peanut Butter Icing:
- In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
- Slowly beat in 1/2 of the confectioner's sugar.
- Mix in 1/2 of the milk/cream.
- Beat in the remaining confectioners' sugar.
- If necessary, add a little more cream or milk until the frosting reaches a good spreading consistency.
- I used this for in between the layers of chocolate cake
- Dissolve the cocoa in the boiling water, making a paste.
- Cream the fat to soften it, then add the icing sugar and beat really well until the mixture becomes pale in colour and light in texture. (An electric mixer is helpful).
- Mix in the cooled cocoa.
- Additional flavouring of vanilla or peppermint essence, dissolved instant coffee or the finely grated rind of half an orange may be added.
- Store in a covered container in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Cut off the "humps" of the cakes - put excess cake aside
- Spread peanut butter frosting between cake layers
- Spread the chocolate frosting over the sides and top of cake.
- Take remainder of cake humps and crumble with your hands to make "dirt"
- Curl chocolate with a veggie peeler and carefully place on sides of cakes
- If you want to make the nest, this was out of regular filo pastry, shredded with a tablepsoon of butter mixed in and then nestled in a muffin tin - bake at 350 until golden
- Mushrooms are made from fondant and then dusted with cocoa
- Flowers are made with tissue paper, floral wire and floral tape - you could buy something similar at Michael's
- Place Cadbury mini eggs in nest
- Once everything is in place, dust cake carefully with icing sugar.
**WARNING** this cake is incredibly rich, especially with the peanut butter icing- but good!