We have a super baking challenge for readers with a bundle of prizes on offer for the best entry. We want you to bake either Miranda Gore Browne's Speckled Easter Egg Cake, or her Easter biscuits, take a photo of the finished results and send them to us.
We will then ask Miranda to judge the winner. Feel free to involve the whole family and send us any details about who has been baking and how much fun it was.
How to enter
Bake either the Easter cake or the Easter biscuits, and then email your details and pictures to: bG9ybmEubWF5YmVyeUBuZnUub3JnLnVr. Every entry will receive a special discount code for Silverwood Bakeware. The closing date is 8 April 2021 and the final decision on a winner will be made by Miranda Gore Browne. For full competition T&Cs available online.
See below for the list of prizes - now have fun and getting baking!
The Back British Farming Speckled Egg Easter Cake
This indulgent chocolate cake is fun (and a little messy) to make and reminiscent of pretty speckled eggs. And it's also a great way to celebrate British food and farming this Easter.
Makes a four layer cake (4 x 7 or 8 inch sandwich tins will work well)
400g unsalted butter
200g soft brown sugar
200g caster sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract or bean paste
400g self-raising flour, sifted
100g cocoa powder, sifted
A pinch of sea salt
2 tsp of baking powder
100ml of milk
80ml of hot water (boiled)
100g milk chocolate, melted
For the buttercream:
375g unsalted butter, softened
1200g icing sugar, sifted
About 6 tbsp of semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp of vanilla bean paste or extract
A pinch of salt
400g mini eggs (you will need 300g to fill the middle of the cake)
A few dabs of pale pink, yellow or blue paste colouring (or leave as natural vanilla coloured) – add a tiny dot at a time and mix well before adding more or it may go too bright
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line four cake tins.
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then put to one side to cool.
- Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla until light and creamy.
- Beat the eggs in a jug and add to the mixture a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Gently sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Mix to combine.
- Add the milk and hot water then mix until smooth. Spoon in the cooled, melted chocolate and fold in.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tins until completely cold. To make the buttercream:
- Put the softened butter into a large bowl or a mixer.
- Beat the butter for about 3 minutes.
- Add about a third of the icing sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, the salt and the vanilla extract. Beat again.
- Add the remaining icing sugar and milk and mix until you have a smooth and creamy buttercream.
- Add the colour paste to half of the buttercream. Use the uncoloured between the layers and the coloured on the top and outside. To assemble the cake:
- Once the cakes are completely cold, use a sharp knife to level the tops so they are all flat.
- Adding the little chocolate eggs into the middle is optional, but if you would like to do this then use a small, round pastry cutter to cut a hole in the middle of three of the cakes, you need one left intact for the top layer.
- Put a circle of buttercream onto your cake stand and place the first cake on to this, press down gently.
- Add a layer of buttercream and put the next cake on top. Repeat until you have used all three cakes.
- Pour the mini eggs into the hole in the middle of the stacked cakes then buttercream the top of the third cake and press the last cake on top. Leave to stand and firm up a little before icing the outside of the cake.
- Smooth a thin layer of buttercream on the top and outside of the cake – this will be your crumb coat. It will gather up all the little bits of chocolate cake crumb and stop them sticking to the top layer of buttercream.
- Leave to stand until the crumb coat is firm, this will take about an hour.
- Beat the remaining buttercream to make sure it is creamy and smooth, add a little more milk if it has dried out a bit. Spoon the buttercream onto the cake and use a palette knife to smooth it over as evenly as possible. To make the speckled egg effect:
- Mix a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a small cup, add a little clear alcohol (a teaspoon or two of vodka) if it needs loosening a bit more. It needs to be quite stiff.
- Cover the work top with baking paper or tea towels.
- Use a small brush then flick the chocolate loaded brush against your finger so it spatters onto the cake. Decorate with little eggs and edible flowers or Easter biscuits. And enjoy!
Vanilla biscuits speckled like eggs with pretty pastel icing are great fun to make with children and a lovely way to drop a little bit of Easter loveliness into family and friends. Make a bigger batch if you want to deliver these like the Easter Bunny!
200g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
100g icing sugar
1 tsp of vanilla paste
400g plain flour (replace 50g of flour with cocoa for a chocolatey biscuit)
500g packet of royal icing sugar, mixed according to the instructions (this needs to be whisked with water until stiff like meringue)
To make the biscuits:
- Cream together the butter, sugar, icing sugar and vanilla. Beat in the egg and then gently mix in the flour. Add the sifted cocoa with the flour if making chocolate biscuit bases.
- Press the dough into two fat discs and wrap tightly in baking paper. Put them in the fridge to rest for at least two hours.
- Take the dough out of the fridge, leave to soften a little at room temperature before rolling out between two pieces of baking paper. Only dust with flour if it gets sticky.
- Cut out with cutters, or make your own egg or chicken shape out of a piece of card, lay on top of the rolled-out dough and cut around with a sharp knife.
- Place on low-sided baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Pop the trays back into the fridge for the cut-out shapes to rest. They can sit in the fridge overnight or just until your oven comes up to temperature.
- Make sure the oven is preheated to 180 degrees before putting the biscuits in to bake. Small biscuits will only take about 8 minutes, bigger ones about 12 minutes. Set a timer and they are baked when they are pale golden and mottled underneath.
- Leave to cool on their trays before decorating.
- To decorate:
- Whisk the royal icing sugar with about 8 tablespoons of water (check the exact instructions on the packet) until it forms stiff peaks. Colour with pastel colours.
- You can pipe around the edge of the biscuits with some of the icing, and then make some of the icing a little runnier and spoon inside the lines. Or simply spoon the icing onto the top of the biscuits and smooth to finish.
- Once the icing has set, flick the chocolate mixture on top – see the ingredients and instructions in the Easter cake recipe.
The prize bundle
Silverwood Bakeware has curated a special set of their favourite bakeware for with a retail value is £136.75. The small Birmingham based company has an award-winning range, a network of independent stockists and a dedicated following amongst professional and celebrity chefs and keen amateur bakers includng our own Miranda Gore Browne.
The prize comprises: • 1 x 12” x 8” Eyecatcher tin • 1 x 13” x 9” Traybake tin with loose base • 1 x 8” x 6” x 2” Battenberg tin • 1 x 12” x 4” Deep multisize cake tin • 1 x Multisize cake tin extra dividers
Shipton Mill has put together a lovely package as part of our prize bundle. The mill was founded by John Lister in 1979, when he discovered a derelict flour mill hidden deep in a Gloucestershire valley. Milling had been carried out for centuries on this exact site.
The prize, worth £71.69, comprises: • A Shipton Mill apron – made from unbleached organic cotton. • A Shipton Mill cookbook • Shipton Mill organic flours, range of eight (traditional white, stoneground wholemeal, wholemeal spelt, white spelt, seeded white, light rye, three malts and sunflower, and soft cake and pastry flour).
Dr. Oetker, the UK’s leading home baking brand, is known for its extensive range of baking supplies from colours and flavourings to those all-important finishing touches such as decorative icing and sprinkles. Dr. Oetker has compiled a scrumptious selection of home baking supplies worth £25 for you to win! The prize includes cakes mixes, buttercream icing, chocolate chips, shimmer sprays, decorating icing, cupcake cases and plenty of sprinkles!