Easter just isn’t Easter without a suitable bake. And as far as I’m concerned it’s all the better for the inclusion of chocolate. So, with that in mind, I wish you all a very Happy chocolate filled Easter and hope you enjoy my Simnel Mincemeat Easter Cake with chocolate apostles.
When I ordered my latest supplies from Suma, it was around Pancake Day so I had pancakes very much in mind. I wasn’t quite sure what sort I would make, but I ordered a few things which might be suitable. With Easter fast approaching, I finally plumped for some chocolate pancakes for Easter, which I thought a fine idea.
Easter is fast approaching and as it gets ever nearer, my thoughts turn to chocolate, although to be fair, my thoughts are rarely far from this exquisite food of the gods. Over the years I’ve made many Easter chocolate cakes, some more child friendly than others. These ones, containing rather a lot of rum are definitely of the adult variety.
Well Easter just wouldn’t be right without a little bit of baking. Oh and chocolate of course. Stork have come up with a fun bake to be enjoyed by friends and family over the Easter weekend. They reckon these Easter Nest Cupcakes would make a nice alternative to all those chocolate Easter eggs that abound at this time of the year. But why not have both I say.
Who doesn’t love a good Easter egg hunt? Well, I’m not actually sure I’ve ever been on one, but I love the idea and I’ve certainly witnessed a few with the excited squeals of children ringing in my ears. So when I was asked to create an Easter recipe for Sainsbury’s, I thought I’d hide a few Easter eggs inside some cupcakes.
There is no doubt about it, nettles are jam packed full of goodness and there seems no end to their health benefits. Be wary of their sting when raw by all means, but once cooked, they make an excellent spinach substitute. At a time of year when there is not a lot ready to be harvested in our gardens, plots and fields, they fill a handy gap. Some of the nicest home brew I have tasted was nettle beer. We use them to enrich our compost heap and make a tea for both ourselves and the garden. Recently I noted in a guest post by Urvashi Roe over at Fuss Free Flavours that toasted nettle seeds are good scattered over salads or even porridge. That’s a new one on me and I can’t wait for the nettles to start seeding so I can try it. Despite my love of this stinging weed, nettles were not something I had ever thought of adding to cakes. I was quite startled when I saw a recipe for nettle and lemon cake over on Veggie Desserts. I really shouldn’t have been too surprised, however. Kate includes all sorts of interesting vegetables into her bakes and desserts and if you haven’t yet come across her blog, I urge you to take a look.
My love of nettles and my experimental inclinations very soon got the better of me and it wasn’t long before I was having a go myself. Over Easter, I met up with some old school friends for a fabulous walk along the south Devon coast near East Prawle (just love that name). I suspected they would be intrigued rather than aghast at the thought of eating nettle cakes, so I took them along to picnic on after our walk. I sort of followed Kate’s recipe, but reduced the quantities somewhat and adapted it in order to add white chocolate. I also topped it with a mascarpone icing.
This is how I made:
Nettle, Lemon and White Chocolate Cupcakes
- Picked 100g of young nettle tops (top 4 leaves). Washed them, then simmered with a little water until they were cooked – about 5 minutes.
- Drained off any excess water and pureed with a hand blender.
- Melted 50g white chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of hot water.
- Added 150g cubed unsalted butter and 115g vanilla sugar (golden caster).
- Grated in the zest of ½ an organic lemon (reserving the other half for the icing) and creamed until light and fluffy.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs (large hens eggs) and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- Sifted in 200g flour (half wholemeal, half white) and 1 tsp baking powder.
- Squeezed in the juice of half a lemon.
- Added the nettle puree and stirred until just combined.
- Spooned into 15 cupcake cases and baked at 180℃ for about 20 minutes when the cakes were well risen and an inserted skewer came out clean.
- Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Stirred the remaining lemon zest into 125g mascarpone cheese.
- Squeezed in the remaining lemon juice.
- Sifted in 100g icing sugar and beat well.
- Spread the icing on top of the cakes.
The icing was a little on the runny side, so you might want to fiddle with the quantities. But it tasted most satisfactory as did the nettle cupcakes. There was some debate as to whether the nettles could be tasted or not, but all enjoyed them and loved the vibrant green colour. CT was aghast that anyone could fail to detect the flavour; thankfully he kept his thoughts to himself. The best bit of course, was feeling as though you were having a nutritious snack whilst tucking into a sweet indulgent treat. Maybe it was both?
As nettles were very much in season when I made these cakes and in fact still are, I am entering them into Simple and in Season with Ren Behan.
One of these cakes at least is being sent off to Emily of A Mummy Too for her #recipeoftheweek.
Spring is the time for nettles and I can’t think of a better veg to celebrate it with – well maybe I can, but it is one of my favourites. Celebrating Spring is the theme for this month’s Four Seasons Food which is being hosted by Lou of Eat Your Veg. Anneli of Delicieux hosted last month.
This was a bank holiday cake bake for taking on a picnic so qualifies for this month’s Calendar Cakes over at Dolly Bakes.
Well I am pleased to report that the chocolate Easter bundt cake I made for friends on Good Friday, made it up to Dartmoor in one piece. The day was wonderfully sunny and I have no wish to complain about that. But I was concerned that the heat in the car would cause the chocolate to melt and the Easter eggs to slide off the top. I insulated the cake as best I could with blankets and all was well. We had it for tea, sitting out in the garden and it was glorious, all of it – the garden, the sun, the view, the company and the cake.
I originally planned to make hot cross buns on the traditional day of Maundy Thursday, but what with one thing and another, action was postponed until Good Friday.
With my first ever Clandestine Cake Club coming up, I wanted to have a practice run at baking the type of cake I was planning to take along. Fruit was the theme and Easter was the time (that I made this cake not the CCC one), so inspired by the cake on the cover of Issue 1 of Co-op Food magazine and with my new found passion for fruit curds, I wanted to make up my very own Easter curd cake. For this one I was going to use my apple and lemon curd. But, oh what a calamity!
This is what I did:
- Creamed 225g unsalted butter with 225g cardamom sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Grated in the zest of a lemon.
- Beat in two large tbsp of apple and lemon curd.
- Beat in 1 goose egg.
- Folded in 225 sifted flour (1/2 wholemeal, 1/2 white) with a heaped tsp of baking powder.
- Stirred in 2 tbsp sour milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
- Spooned mixture into two 21 cm cake moulds and baked at 180C for 25 minutes.
- Left to cool for a few minutes then turned out onto wire racks.
|picture taken from Co-operative Food magazine issue 1|
Instead, mine looked like this (or at least what was left of it after I’d tucked in).
I can’t tell you how good the bits of broken cake were though, they tasted absolutely scrummy – especially when eaten warm. When the cake fell apart on me, I tried one piece and then another and then another – it was soooooo good. Deliciously moist it had a good dense consistency (not dense enough, obviously). It was hard to pick out a specific flavour, lemon was present, but not overly so. In any case it was delicious.
- Whilst the cakes were in the oven, I was making the filling – which actually became the topping!
- Melted 75g white chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
- Spooned some of this (slightly less than half) into the little chick moulds from Baked & Delicious and placed in the fridge to set.
- Creamed 75g unsalted butter with 125g icing sugar until very pale.
- Beat in the remaining chocolate.
- Beat in 2 tbsp apple and lemon curd and a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice.
- Spread this over the cake that remained intact.
- Decorated with lemon jelly sweets, white chocolate chicks and a few flowers from the garden.
- I was going to make a lemon icing to go over the top of the cake, but that obviously didn’t happen.
Despite, the errr, mishap, this was a truly delicious cake and it didn’t deter me from making this with my latest curd recipe (yet to be revealed) for CCC. As the curd is made with lemons I am submitting this to the One ingredient challenge hosted by Laura of How to Cook Good Food who has chosen lemons this month. It’s alternately hosted by Working London Mummy where you can see the rules.