Black Friday All Week

Easy Easter Cakes: a simple distraction

By Hazel Bannerman

In light of everything going on recently, I’d almost forgotten Easter is just around the corner. So if you’re looking to pass the time, while not making any unnecessary shopping trips, here are some Easter cake suggestions that don’t require any uncommon or excessive ingredients.

My first Easter recipe suggestion is to just point you in the direction of a rather wonderful ring marble cake (doesn’t have to be a ring). I would heartily recommend Mary Berry’s recipe, which you can easily find online or in her Ultimate Cake Book – definitely a book worth investing in.

This I covered in chocolate (as per her recommendation) and then picked spring flowers, which I arranged to the best of my artistic ability in the centre. If I had more time then I would have crystallised some primroses to put around the ring.

Crystallising primroses is a technique I love to use with Easter cakes – they taste delicious and look beautiful as well. An added benefit (particularly given the times we live in) is that this is a gorgeous cake decoration that you may not even need to leave your garden for. All you need to do is:

1. Pick your primroses

2. Whisk an egg white and delicately coat each primrose with the wash (use a paintbrush)

3. Dip each primrose in caster sugar

4. Leave to dry for 1-2 days

Marbled ring cake
Marbled ring cake

I had intended to just leave it there with the Easter baking, but then Mother’s Day arrived and with it a small culinary disaster. As part of pampering my Mum that day I decided I would cook the roast dinner she would normally cook. Not a problem, I’ve cooked plenty of roast dinners before, and I’ve grown to enjoy the stress, mild panic that dissolves into total hysteria of timing 4 different vegetables, some meat and gravy to all be ready for 1 o’clock…

What I hadn’t banked on was my Mum wanting a rhubarb crumble for pudding. Personally find crumble a little basic as far as puddings go and I’ve never cooked one before. But hey, it was Mother’s Day, who was I to deny her?

I sliced up the rhubarb (man can that be a stubborn vegetable to chop), and then set about making the topping. I wasn’t quite prepared for the disaster that ensued. Did you know that within a matter of seconds in a mixer, a perfectly crumbled crumble topping can turn into a dough? Yes? Well I didn’t, and I managed to “over-blend” my crumble mix, not once, but twice. You have my permission to ridicule me as one of the most incompetent food bloggers around.

So while I basked in the glory of being the greatest chef known to man, my grandma informed me (I’d called her for her wisdom) that this dough was unsalvageable as a crumble topping and I was better off throwing it out or making cookies.

Particularly in light of a certain situation we as a nation are all faced with, I was adamantly opposed to wasting food, so I decided to make shortbread. I’ve included the recipe below should you find yourself faced with your own crumble catastrophe…or you actually want to make yummy Easter shortbread.

Crumbly Easter shortbread
Crumbly Easter shortbread

Ingredients:

· 300g plain flour

· 120g ground almonds (or roughly 4 tbsp)

· 60g caster sugar

· 300g slightly salted butter

· 1 tbsp orange juice

· Your choice of toppings

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3

2. Lightly grease an 8 inch square tin

3. Combine flour, almonds, sugar and butter (cut into chunks) in a food processor – do not settle for a breadcrumbed consistency as you would with a crumble mix, but instead “deliberately” ignore the mixer for a while and allow the ingredients to fully combine

4. Add the orange juice to the mix and pulse to combine

5. Leave the dough to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before spreading in the tin – I used a milk bottle to push it out into the corners

6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes

7. Once out of the oven, immediately decorate with your toppings. I used zest from two oranges mixed with 2 tsp of sugar, smashed up mini eggs, and smashed up weird shop-bought sugar rose cake thingys (there’s a lockdown, I’m improvising with the weird back-of-the-cupboard items here)

8. Then leave to cool for at least an hour before slicing up and removing from the tin

Toppings of smashed sugar roses, broken mini eggs, orange zest and sugar
Toppings of smashed sugar roses, broken mini eggs, orange zest and sugar

Hazel Bannerman

Hazel is a History undergraduate who delights in fine dining on a budget, she also enjoys classic comfort cuisines.

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