I'm not ashamed to say I went through bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs and lots of chocolate batter in the pursuit of the perfect chocolate nest cakes!
Easter is in full swing in the Caking It kitchen, and these super cute nest cupcakes are certainly the reason why!
This is the first chocolate sponge I've done on the Caking It blog and the reason for this is that it's difficult to get right. It's not enough to throw some cocoa powder into a vanilla batter because it often ends up dry and lacks the deep chocolatey flavour you want in a chocolate cake.
But after lots of research and testing I've created a chocolate sponge that is truly dreamy. The chocolate flavour is deep and rich while maintaining an utterly moist, soft and truly beautiful sponge texture. The sponge is so good that you could quite easily eat it on its own. No buttercream or filling required to make these completely enjoyable. This is my ultimate chocolate sponge and its fantastic.
The reason for the success of this sponge is threefold; blooming the cocoa is essential, using oil in place of butter, and adding coffee to the batter.
The way to bloom cocoa is to add boiling water to the batter. It activates the chocolatey goodness in the powder, and it's really a necessity when making chocolate cake. You can't skip it!
Using oil in place of butter makes the batter more liquidy and produces a softer sponge. Instead of beating butter with sugar like most of the Caking It recipes do, oil is a winner in chocolate sponge.
Finally, adding coffee to chocolate batters creates a richer chocolate flavour. Not enough coffee is added to be tasted, but just enough to bring out all the chocolatey goodness! Looking back at the photos makes my mouth water!
I'm so proud of my ultimate chocolate cake because its so so good and its easy! I've included step by step instructions so that a perfect chocolate sponge is accessible and quick to achieve.
My ultimate chocolate sponge is enhanced by adding chopped mini eggs, filling with tonnes of dreamy nutella, topping with nutella buttercream, and finishing with 4 mini eggs and a ring of Cadbury Flakes for the nest.
The rich nutella filling is complimented by the nutella buttercream. If you're really looking for a sweet kick then you can add straight nutella on top, but I find its a little bit too much (which is saying something because I have a sweet tooth!)
The whole cake makes every mouthful a perfect one, with the crunch of the mini eggs, the soft sponge and the sweet nutella.
It's a special cupcake, and one you'll definitely want to try.
So, what are you waiting for?! Let's get Caking It!
180C (170C fan)
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep: 20 mins
Bake: 20 mins
Assemble: 20 Minutes
150g gluten free self-raising flour
60g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
100g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
100ml vegetable oil (I use sunflower)
3 medium eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
50 ml boiling water with 2 tsp instant coffee
2 tbsp sour cream
120g lightly smashed Cadbury Mini Eggs
100g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
48 Cadbury Mini Eggs
3 Cadbury Flakes
Don't forget to wait until all the ingredients are room temperature before starting.
Preheat oven to 180C. Fill 12 muffin holes with cases.
Start with the dry ingredients. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and xanthan gum to a bowl and whisk to fully incorporate.
In a separate bowl, mix the oil, sugars and vanilla extract. Then, add the eggs one at a time, whisking with an electric whisk between each addition until slightly frothy.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a fork to incorporate. Don’t overmix but ensure that all the ingredients are fully mixed and the batter is smooth. At this point the batter should be thick.
Boil the water and add the instant coffee to it. Slowly pour it into the batter while mixing until it is glossy. This will take some welly but keep persevering because the batter will become smooth, glossy and a delicious brown shiny colour.
Crush the Cadbury Mini Eggs and mix these with the sour cream. Add the mini egg mix to the cake batter and give it a final quick mix to incorporate.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases, adding 1 and 1/2 tbsp to each case and let sit for 20 minutes, then bake for 20 minutes. A skewer inserted into the sponge will come out clean.
This buttercream perfectly compliments the Nutella inside the cupcake.
While the cupcakes are cooling, move onto the Nutella buttercream.
Cream the butter until pale, and gradually add in the icing sugar until it is all incorporated. You can do this either with a standing mixer, an electric hand whisk, or a fork. At this point the mixture should be a little stiff.
Slowly pour in the Nutella and beat until a rich pipeable mixture is formed. If its still too stiff then add milk a little at a time.
Making sure the sponges are completely cool, scoop out the middle of the cupcake with an apple corer, taking care not to go right down to the bottom.
With a teaspoon, fill the middle with a good dollop of Nutella.
Pipe on a layer of the buttercream.
Gently break up the Cadbury Flakes and add a ring of them to each cupcake.
Place 4 Mini Eggs in each nest.