EASTER EGG NEST CAKE
(Serves 8-10, but I make it if there are just 4 of us, frankly)
For the Cake:
· 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
· 1 stick unsalted softened butter
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 6 eggs: 2 whole; 4 separated
· 1/3 cup plus ½ cup superfine sugar: 1/3 cup for the yolk mixture; ½ cup for the whites
For the Topping:
· 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
· 1 cup heavy cream
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1 cup of robin’s eggs or other small sugar-coated pretty little East eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper or, better still, Silpat but do not grease the sides of the pan.
Melt the 8oz chocolate with the butter in either a double boiler or a microwave and then set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the 4 egg whites until firm, then gradually add the 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape and peak gleamingly – but not stiff.
Remove this bowl (if you’re using a standard mixer, as I do, though a hand-held job would do fine) and set aside while you whisk, in another bowl, the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with the 1/3 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract, and then gently fold in the chocolate mixture. Lighten the mixture with some of the egg whites – just dollop a large spoonful in and stir briskly—and then fold in the rest of the whisked whites gently, in about three goes.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the center is no longer wobbly on the surface. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools and the sides splinter. You want this to look like a cake with a crater in it, so do not panic at the vision of imperfection in front of you. That’s one of the reasons this cake is so unstressful to make.
To finish the cake, carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a plate or cake-stand, not worrying if bits fall off here and there. Put them back in a loose fashion.
Melt the chocolate for the topping and leave it to cool a little. Whip the cream until it is firming up and aerated but still soft, and then add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate. Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolaty cream, easing it to cool a little. Whip the cream until it is firming up and aerated but still soft, and then add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate. Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolaty cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake with a rubber spatula, and then arrange the little sugar Easter eggs on top.
From Feast by Nigella Lawson. Copyright (c) 2004 by Nigella Lawson. Published by Hyperion.
Notes: I use unsweetened chocolate. Try adding 1 tbsp to topping. Add some sugar to base as well:
3 tablespoons chocolate chips for every 1-ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate.
1-ounce bittersweet baking chocolate for every 1-ounce semi-sweet bittersweet baking chocolate.
1-ounce unsweetened baking chocolate and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for every 1-ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate.
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or shortening for every 1 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate.
?Chocolate, Semi-Sweet, 3 tablespoons chocolate chips = 1 square (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate plus 1 tablespoon sugar or 1 square (1-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate; 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus 7 tablespoons sugar plus 1/4 cup fat can be substituted for 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate.