The best thing about Easter? Chocolate, of course!

28 Mar 2013 @ 6.06 pm
| Food & drink
Show me the bunny…

kate-clarkson-headshotKate Clarkson of YORKCakes and YORK Cookery School celebrates Easter in traditional fashion. With chocolate…

Is it really Easter already? I suppose there are a few reasons why we might be a little surprised that it’s come around so quickly; the weather would have you believe that we’re still in the grips of winter; Easter is quite early this year (although it’s not as early as it can be!) and finally, it feels like the kids only just went back to school after half-term because half-term was quite late!

All told, I think we can be excused for feeling like time is passing by more quickly than before.

It’s also been a busy time at the YORK Cookery School these last few weeks so perhaps that can go some way to explaining why time is passing so fast. We’ve hosted many different cookery classes for lots of different students – from children making marshmallows to senior executives creating an Indian banquet.

We’ve had fun baking macaroons with journalists and moulding chocolate bunnies with seven year olds who took great pleasure in making fun of the French accent of one our patissiers, Florian!

This week it’s three weddings that are the focus of our attention. With the weddings falling on Easter Friday, Saturday and Monday, we’ll be taking our Easter break on Tuesday!

A little like Christmas, there are lots of stories and legends surrounding Easter – why do we have eggs and bunnies? From the perspective of a foodie, I’m quite happy to eat either, but perhaps that’s not for everyone! It seems we have the Germans to thank again for the bunny/rabbit/hare association but the main message is about fertility and ultimately, rebirth.

kate-clarkson-easter-simnel-cakeWhilst none of the wedding cakes for this weekend has an Easter theme, one of the cakes best known for it’s association with Easter is Simnel cake. It signifies the end of Lent and has its roots in Christianity with the decoration of eleven balls of marzipan on top depicting the 12 apostles, minus Judas.

Traditionally, Simnel cake is a rich fruit cake with a layer or marzipan in the middle and one on top. Fruit cakes need time to mature so I’ve decided to share a recipe that you can make now to decorate in a similar way in time for Easter.


Recipe – rich chocolate cake with mini egg decorations

For the cake:
250g caster sugar
250g slightly salted butter
4 medium eggs
200g melted and cooled, good quality, dark chocolate
150g buttermilk
250g self-raising flour

For the filling:
100g slightly salted butter
200g icing sugar
75g melted and cooled white chocolate

For the decoration:
Eleven chocolate mini eggs


Preheat the oven to 170℃ or (160℃ fan).
You’ll need two, seven inch sandwich tins, lined with baking parchment on the bottom.

Mix the butter and sugar with a hand-mixer or in a stand-mixer until it is very pale and fluffy – this can often take five minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time whilst mixing until each egg is thoroughly mixed in. Take time to scrape the bowl down to ensure it’s mixed well. Add the buttercream and the cooled, melted chocolate and blend well.

Finally, fold in the flour and then split the mixture between the two tins and bake for 30 minutes or until the centre of the sponge springs back when pressed gently in the centre.

Leave in the tins to cool.

In the meantime, mix the icing sugar and butter until very soft and pale. Add the cooled, melted white chocolate and stir well.

When the cake is cool, remove from the tins and remove the parchment. Using half of the buttercream, spread it across the top of one of the cake and sandwich the other cake on top. Then spread the remaining buttercream on the top. Place your eleven mini eggs in a circle on the top of the cake to decorate.

Happy baking and I hope you have a wonderful Easter break.