On Easter Sunday 2003, my sister made Nigella Lawson’s Easter Egg Nest cake, a cake that had been featured in The New York Times the Wednesday prior. Studded with flecked pastel eggs, this cake could only suit my sister better if a flock of Peeps and a colony of white chocolate bunnies were nestled among the eggs.
I’m not sure anyone in the family including my sister has made the cake since, but upon finding an old photo of Lindsey presenting her creation at the dinner table, I felt I had to make it. At the very least, I knew it would look festive on the table, the kids would find it enchanting, and my few guests would welcome a sliver of anything chocolaty.
Dense with a mousse-like texture, this cake is definitely for chocolate lovers — intense chocolate lovers. If you have made the torta caprese and are into making comparison charts, this cake has the same amount of chocolate and the same number of eggs for half the amount of butter (one sticks versus two) and no almonds or almond flour (two cups of ground almonds go into the the torta caprese).
For me, this cake is festive and fun more than anything. It puffs way up when it bakes and sinks when it cools, a crackly meringue-like layer forming a perfect base to house dozens of colorful candy eggs. If you love a rich chocolate cake, this one’s for you, but my preference in the flourless chocolate cake genre is still the torta caprese.
Have a wonderful holiday and weekend, Everyone. I’ll leave you with my favorite holiday reminder: If you’re making a ham, don’t forget the ham sauce! Seriously, so good.
A Few More Ideas for Easter can be found here
Easter 2003: My sister presenting her Easter Egg Nest Cake with Mr. Ford, a favorite high school teacher and close family friend:
Source: Nigella Lawson’s Feast
Notes: If you would like to follow the original recipe, find it here. I’ve made a few changes: bittersweet chocolate has replaced semisweet; salt has been added as have a couple of tablespoons of booze;
As I’ve noted above, this cake is intensely chocolaty — I prefer the torta caprese — and I think it really needs a dollop of lightly sweetened (or not) whipped cream or something like a crème anglaise, if you are up for it. A glass of milk does the job nicely, too.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate*, melted
- 6 large eggs: 2 whole; 4 separated
- 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omitted because I added the booze)
- 1/2 teaspoon nice sea salt (such as Maldon) or kosher salt
- 1-2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)
- powdered sugar for garnish
- mini malted eggs or cadbury cream eggs or whatever you like
- slightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
*I used Ghiradelhi 60%.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper.
- For the cake: Stir butter into chocolate and let cool. (Note: You can melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water or in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave (I used the microwave)). Whisk 4 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and whisk until whites hold their shape but are not too stiff. Reserve.
- Whisk 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar and vanilla until combined. Stir in chocolate to mix. Add the vanilla (if using), the salt, and the booze, if using, and stir to combine.
- In three additions, fold whites into chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake rises, cracks and center is no longer wobbly.
- Cool cake on a wire rack; middle will sink and the sides will crack. Carefully remove cake from pan and place it on serving plate. Once completely cook, arrange Easter eggs on top. Serve with whipped cream.