Hello everyone! It’s Emma back to say hi with my March column for decor8 and today I’m celebrating Easter with you and giving you a sweet treat idea for your upcoming celebration. I always see Easter as the turn in the season – the days can still be beautifully warm but as three o’clock hits the air temp becomes crisp and a jumper has to be pulled on. This year, however, Easter is super early and with the above average sunny and hot days that we have been experiencing here it’s all set to still feel like summer. Many of you will be experiencing the first hint of spring with blossom on the trees, daffodils shoots poking through the soil and longer, brighter days. It’s such an awakening time of year after the hibernation of a long winter so enjoy the change!
Excitingly I’ve hit my third trimester in my pregnancy and as much as I love long hot summer days, I am longing for the cooler air of autumn to provide some respite (I’m in Sydney, Australia). The nights are still so warm and with this growing belly of mine it’s harder to get a full nights sleep comfortably. I like to think it of getting prepared for the broken nights sleep when the baby comes! My girls are relishing in the prospect of baby’s arrival. Being so close in age themselves (only twelve months apart) this experience of having a younger sibling to care for is exciting them to no end – it is quite the loveliest thing to see.
Back to Easter. With a long weekend we usually celebrate with a family get together, usually breakfast and have a mini Easter egg hunt in the garden. Regardless of what time of day it is our get together will have to involve chocolate and of course Easter eggs (my two still sweetly believe in the Easter bunny!). I’m thinking a breakfast of french crepes with chocolate sauce (recipe on my blog here) and a selection of fruits and good ol’ avo on sour dough (inspired by Rachel’s last column)… And of course this hazelnut cake that can easily be made into cupcakes if you prefer.
I love love love nuts in cake and this hazelnut torte is delicious! My aim was to keep the components of the recipe simple and so have teamed the cake with a fragrant orange buttercream. This buttercream packs a bunch with jaffa flavour which is delicious (I’m a strong fan of chocolate orange anything!!) but if this isn’t your thing then team the torte with a simple chocolate buttercream. The variety of Easter eggs that you decorate with on the top of the cake will give you an additional hit of chocolate!. You should have seen my girls’ eyes light up when they saw all the eggs – they thought they were in chocolate heaven!!
For The Cake:
1 Cup plain flour
1 Cup hazelnut meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 Cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (optional)
Selection of edible Easter eggs of your choice
For The Frosting:
2 c unsalted butter, softened*
4 c powdered sugar
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
a pinch of kosher salt
zest of one orange
2 tsp orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and then put to one side.
3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then mix in vanilla extract.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour in three portions, alternating with two portions of sour cream. Mix until a few streaks of flour remain. Stir in chopped hazelnuts if you would like a bit of crunch throughout the sponge (this is optional).
6. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Smooth batter evenly in pans.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cakes are lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes. Transfer cakes from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
9. In a separate bowl beat all frosting ingredients together until smooth.
10. To construct the cake: Place one layer of sponge cake on your cake stand or plate, spoon buttercream and spread to edges. Place second layer of cake on buttercream and spoon a final buttercream layer on the top. Allow to cool in the fridge for 20 mins. This will firm up the buttercream and give your cake more stability. Now is your chance to get creative with the top. I sprinkled a layer of flaked white chocolate in an arc shape and using this as my ‘template’ then topped with varying sizing of Easter eggs. The different scale and proportion of the eggs allows the top of the cake to have a main focal point (here it’s the large egg cracked oped with mini ones spilling out).
Enjoy your Easter dear readers and I’ll see you next month on 16th. We’ll have just come back from a week in Bali on a long awaited for family holiday and so I am thinking of a sweet treat inspired by the tropics. – Emma
(Photography, Styling, Recipe and Text: Emma Duckworth. Editor: Holly Becker)