Hutchy Kitchen: Mum’s Easter Egg Cake

Little Wanderings - Easter Egg Cake 8 title

This cake came to life many Easters ago, when my mum thought to use up some surplus solid chocolate eggs in a humble little butter cake. Unlike chocolate chips, the chocolate eggs all sank to the bottom of the cake during baking. This was not a bad thing. Turns out those Easter eggs would form a heavenly, chocolate base – a little crisp and caramelised on the very bottom, and still soft and creamy on the inside. It was one of those serendipitous baking moments that changes everything. When I left home and started my own recipe scrapbook, this is the recipe I scribbled on the first page. I titled it, ‘BEST. CAKE. EVER.’

Little Wanderings - Easter Egg Cake 4

Mum chose a very good foundation for this baking triumph, to be sure. The original recipe was a chocolate cake from ‘The Royal Children’s Hospital Auxiliary Cookbook’, one of those wonderful old compilations that’s bound with flimsy wire combing, has no pictures and absolutely minimal directions. It seems a lady named Jill Watson, of the Oesophageal Atresia Research Auxiliary, kindly donated her chocolate cake recipe to the tome – and my goodness, am I grateful she did. In her own modest words, “This cake is beautifully moist and keeps for days.”

Little Wanderings - Easter Egg Cake 2

I whipped up a couple of these cakes to take to work last week and they disappeared quick as lightning. After five months working at this company, it suddenly occurred to me that Mum’s Easter Egg Cake was the perfect bring-my-baking-to-work debut. Seasonally themed? Check. An unwavering history of deliciousness? Check. So simple that two can be baked on a work night without any hint of a kitchen meltdown? Check. I even sprinkled on some crushed speckled eggs for a little extra Easter goodness. Now counting down the days until I can bake up and devour yet another with my family over the Easter break! x

Mum's Easter Egg Cake
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Ingredients
  1. Cake //
  2. 125g butter
  3. 2 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut
  4. 1 cup white sugar
  5. 1 cup self-raising flour
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1/2 cup milk
  8. 175g / approx. 25 solid chocolate Easter eggs (if baking out of season, use roughly chopped chocolate chunks or chocolate melts)
  9. Icing //
  10. 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  11. 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
  12. 1 tbsp / 14g butter, melted
  13. 100g speckled eggs, crushed (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line and grease a loaf tin.
  2. 2. Add cake ingredients in listed order to a mixing bowl and combine using an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes.
  3. 3. Pour mixture into loaf tin. Dot the Easter eggs evenly across the top.
  4. 4. Bake at 180°C for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  5. 5. Allow cake to cool completely before icing. Combine icing ingredients in a small bowl, then gradually add and mix in dashes of boiling water until a smooth, spreadable consistency is achieved.
  6. 6. Spread icing evenly over top of cake. Sprinkle the speckled egg pieces over icing.
  7. 7. Enjoy!
Adapted from Jill Watson's Chocolate Cake, 'The Royal Children's Hospital Auxiliary Cookbook'
Adapted from Jill Watson's Chocolate Cake, 'The Royal Children's Hospital Auxiliary Cookbook'
Little Wanderings http://littlewanderings.com/

A Blog Birthday: Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

It seems that Little Wanderings has just turned one! After recently reading Cyra of Gastronomic Nomad‘s lovely post, 12 Things I’ve Learnt Thanks to 12 Months Blogging, I realised that my own blog birthday must soon be rolling around. Lo and behold, it had just passed the day before! So, whilst I did miss the actual day last week, I thought there was definitely still reason to celebrate. With cake. Obviously. 

Little Wanderings - Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl 2

This Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl comes from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking (also known as the cookbook that beheld unto me the greatest brownie of all time). Note: it’s a coffee cake in the sense that it’s best served with a hot cuppa, rather than a cake that’s made with coffee. It is unbelievably good, and only adds to my desperate need to one day (like, soon) make pilgrimage to the Baked bakery in New York. From the moment I whipped up the crumb topping, I knew this was going to be something else. Seriously, that pecan and dark brown sugar combo is sensational. The sour cream gives a lovely balance to the cake, and makes for a beautifully light and moist crumb. And you can obviously never go wrong with a chocolate cinnamon swirl. 

Little Wanderings - Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl 5

This recipe makes a nine-by-thirteen inch cake, which is admittedly quite a large cake. I like to look at this with the perspective that I can give away a lot of cake to friends and family (and through the awesome power of this cake’s deliciousness, earn their undying devotion), whilst also eating an incredible amount of cake myself. Win-win situation, folks. 

Little Wanderings - Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl 4

I’m very proud to have reared this little blog a whole twelve months; it seems like it was only yesterday that Mat and I spent a whole afternoon just brainstorming ideas for the title! I do feel that, after a year of writing here, Little Wanderings is finally starting to take shape. I’m still not quite sure what that shape is, but I’m very excited to keep writing and find out.

And so, simply: happy birthday Little Wanderings! Thank you so much for reading and supporting the blog so far. Here’s to the year to come! x

Little Wanderings - Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl 1

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
INGREDIENTS
Crumb Topping
  1. 3/4 cup plain flour
  2. 3/4 cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 3/4 cup pecans, toasted (toast on baking tray in 180°C oven for 6-7 mins)
  5. 85g unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch cubes
Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl
  1. 1/2 cup white sugar
  2. 1 tsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
Sour Cream Cake
  1. 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 225g unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
  6. 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  7. 4 large eggs
  8. 450g sour cream
  9. 1 1/12 tsp pure vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS
Crumb Topping
  1. 1. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor for a few seconds to mix.
  2. 2. Add pecans and pulse again until finely chopped and well incorporated.
  3. 3. Add butter and pulse until combined. The crumb should look like coarse sand. Don't worry if it's a bit clumpy, so long as all the ingredients are well combined.
  4. 4. Cover with cling wrap and set aside in the fridge!
Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl
  1. 1. Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
Sour Cream Cake
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a 9x13-inch baking pan. I used glass; the Baked boys note that a metal pan will give a crispier edge to the cake. Either way is good!
  2. 2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.
  3. 3. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter until nice and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl (in fact, make sure you do this between each step!).
  4. 4. Add the sugar, and beat until the mixture becomes smooth and fluffy.
  5. 5. Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is well incorporated before the next addition.
  6. 6. Continue to mix for another 30 seconds.
  7. 7. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until just incorporated.
  8. 8. Add the dry ingredients a third at a time, beating until just incorporated between each addition. Don't over-mix at this point!
  9. 9. Pour one third of the cake batter into your prepared pan. I got quite nervous at this point; I was afraid of over-measuring my first and second layers and not having enough for the top. Despite the fact that I got it right, next time I'd probably go full OCD and weigh my mixture so I know exactly how much to pour out at a time!
  10. 10. Use an offset spatula to spread the cake batter evenly across the bottom of the pan. I didn't have an offset spatula, but found that a butter knife did a pretty great job.
  11. 11. Sprinkle half the chocolate cinnamon swirl mixture over the batter. I poured my swirl mixture into two cups to ensure an even split. Cover the batter completely!
  12. 12. Pour the second third of cake batter over the swirl mixture. Try and pour a few blobs across the whole of the pan, rather than all in the middle. Spreading this layer can be a bit tricky, as the swirl layer will stick to the batter when you lift your spatula/knife. Try and push right out to the edge of the pan with each spreading motion to avoid mixing up too much of the swirl layer with your batter layer.
  13. 13. Sprinkle on the remaining swirl mixture, and then top with the remaining cake batter.
  14. 14. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top.
  15. 15. Bake in the centre of your oven for 1 hour (or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean), rotating the pan every 15 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 mins. Enjoy!
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Little Wanderings http://littlewanderings.com/

Roses des Sables: The Recipe

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little about La Petite Rose des Sables – a tiny Parisian restaurant helmed by the wonderfully eccentric Madame Zouzou and her husband, ‘Big Boss’. Mat and I visited this gem on our recent trip to Paris, and were treated to one of the most memorable dining experiences we’ve ever had. It was bizarre and heartwarming all at once. 

At one point, Madame Zouzou appeared and eagerly pointed at a laminated article (written in French, no less) pinned to the wall above our table. Mat and I were sipping a couple of post-lunch espressos at the time – and I, of course, was taking a few happy snaps of the cute little arrangement of accompanying sweets. She pointed at my camera, motioned toward the sweets and then back at the article. I’ll admit I was confused. Luckily the cogs in Mat’s brain were turning somewhat faster.

“It’s a recipe for the chocolates. She wants you to take a photo.”

And so I would find myself back in Melbourne, months later, typing that recipe word-by-word into Google Translate. I kind of felt like I was code-breaking the secret to Madame Zouzou’s own Roses des Sables; what a marvelous little gift to be able to take away from Paris! The treat takes its name from what is known in English as a ‘sand rose’ or ‘desert rose’ – a crystal formation that occurs in certain desert conditions. The Roses des Sables recipe quite impressively recreates this phenomenon with two very simple things: corn flakes and chocolate.

Little Wanderings - Roses des Sables Recipe 1

Little Wanderings - Roses des Sables Recipe 4

Madame Zouzou gives her recipe for both dark chocolate Roses des Sables, and white chocolate and orange Roses des Sables. I used Lindt’s 70% Cocoa chocolate for the dark chocolate Roses des Sables, which made for a very intense flavour. Delicious, but intense. If you like your treats a bit sweeter I’d recommend a lower cocoa content, or perhaps even use milk chocolate (I believe the ones Madame Zouzou served us at La Petite Rose des Sables itself were made with milk chocolate). Or, simply opt for the white chocolate and orange Roses des Sables. They are divine, and became the hands-down hit when I made a batch of each over the weekend for a family gathering. Seriously, they are good.

I experimented with Madame Zouzou’s quantities a little, mostly in terms of chocolate to corn flake ratio. Feel free to do the same yourself, but the following recipe gave me the best consistencies. And best of all: they’re incredibly easy to make. In a way they’re kind of like chocolate Honey Joys, or grown-up Chocolate Crackles. Except with these, you get to be all fancy and introduce them as ‘little French corn flake treats’!

Enjoy! x

Little Wanderings - Roses des Sables Recipe 3

Little Wanderings - Roses des Sables Recipe 2

Roses des Sables
Yields 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Dark Chocolate Roses des Sables
  1. 250g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  2. 50g butter
  3. 50g icing sugar
  4. 150g corn flakes
White Chocolate and Orange Roses des Sables
  1. 250g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  2. 30g butter
  3. zest of 1 orange
  4. 150g corn flakes
Instructions
  1. 1. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the underside of bowl). Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth.
  2. 2. Stir in the icing sugar (if making dark chocolate Roses des Sables) or orange zest (if making white chocolate and orange Roses des Sables).
  3. 3. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in all of the corn flakes. Do this at about a handful at a time to ensure you get a good coating of chocolate over all the corn flakes.
  4. 4. Set a piece of baking paper over a baking tray. Madame Zouzou suggests using two spoons to form small heaps, but I found it easier (though a lot messier!) using my hands. You could also use individual paper liners.
  5. 5. Allow to harden in the fridge. They will not take long to set completely! Enjoy x
Adapted from Madame Zouzou, La Petite Rose des Sables (Paris)
Little Wanderings http://littlewanderings.com/
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