Written by Claire Goodwin

Food

Mr E. Bunny’s Piñata Cake

Could there be a more appropriate time than Easter to make a spectacularly chocolate egg-­filled piñata cake? GBBO 2014 contestant Claire Goodwin doesn’t think so. Prepare to feel a rush of sugar­coated kitchen ambition.

Claire's pinata cake I’m not religious – I’m an atheist – so there isn’t a spiritual element to Easter for me, unless you count the metaphysical properties of chocolate. Easter is about families, so I will tell you about some of mine.

Six years ago I met a man that I went on to marry. Our first Easter together was spent with his parents, Sylvia and Graham, and his sister Angela and her husband John. Sylvia is a committed lifelong Catholic, and therefore Easter is an important time for her and she planned the Sunday feast with vigour.

That Easter, I ate so much I think I was on the verge of gastric rupture and laughed myself exhausted. Since that time, it has become tradition: Easter is held at the Goodwins’, and so it will be this year.

Of course on such occasions, one can’t go empty handed, so here’s a recipe for a pretty awesome cake to take.

For the cake

600g margarine or butter
600g caster sugar
12 eggs
500g self­-raising flour
150g cocoa
A few splashes of vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180°C

Bake your cakes in two batches – half of the ingredients in each. Cream the butter and sugar together, slowly add the eggs, sift in the flour and cocoa powder, mix in the vanilla.

Grease and line two 8- or 9-inch baking tins and pour the cake batter in, level out with the back of a spoon and bake in the oven for 30-­40 mins, dependent on your oven.

They are done when a skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean when inserted.

For the frosting

350g butter or margarine
350g icing sugar, sifted
A few splashes of vanilla essence
3 tablespoons cocoa

Beat all the ingredients together until smooth.

For the piñata fillings and decorations

250g Mini Eggs (2 tubes)
200g Tiny Eggs (I used Harrington’s, from the bargain shop)
1kg white fondant icing
250g baby blue fondant icing
Baby blue lustre dust (not essential)
50g Teddy Bear Brown fondant (Renshaw) or similar
Small amount of black fondant
1 strand of dry spaghetti
9-inch cake board

Build the cake

Stages of shaping the cake1. Have a look at the guide pictures to get an idea of what you are doing with your cake.

2. Level the two cakes by cutting off the humps/mounds.

3. Use a circular cutter to punch a hole in two of the rounds, approx. 3 inches in diameter so that the cake round looks like a doughnut.

4. Place the first whole cake round on the board; affix using a little bit of your frosting.

5. Frost the top of this cake evenly.

6. Place your first doughnut shaped cake round on top; frost the top of this.

7. Place your second doughnut shaped cake round on top of this.

8. You now have a three-layer cake with a hole in the middle. Fill this with mini eggs and tiny eggs.

9. Frost the top doughnut shaped cake round and place your final full cake round on top.

10. Frost the entire cake (this is called a crumb coat); push frosting into all the nooks and crannies. This will eliminate trapped air pockets which cause your cake to shift and make it difficult to decorate. You can buy cheap, good quality palette knives from places such as Home Bargains that are great for this job.

11. Place in the fridge for half an hour to firm up; it will crust over. It is ready for the next coat of frosting when you can touch it and frosting doesn’t come off on your finger.

12. Use the remaining frosting to add a final coat to the cake. Smooth off as best you can and place in fridge again for half an hour.

Decorate the cake

1. Pull a blob off the blue fondant (about 50g) and knead it into the white fondant so you have pale baby blue fondant. You don’t have to do this. If you want the top of your cake to be white, then leave it as it is.

2. Roll out your white fondant so that it is large enough to cover your whole cake.

3. Place the fondant on the cake and smooth off. Don’t worry if it is a bit lumpy, we are going to cover it with stripes. Try and make the top as smooth as possible though.

4. Cut away any remaining white fondant and re­roll.

5. Using your hands, or fondant smoothers, press the fondant against the cake using flat palms. Take care not to push your fingertips in it.

6. Cut this into strips – I used a kid’s ruler to get the widths right.

7. Roll out the blue fondant and repeat cutting stripes.

8. Mark four guidelines around the side of the cake that you know are vertical and true. I used a set square as my guide. These will help you to keep your stripes straight.

9. Place your stripes on the cake, attaching with water, alternating between blue and white. If you are left with two stripes of the same colour touching, trim off a third of each. Place them on and use the alternate colour stripe to fill in the gap. No-one will notice, and if they do, they won’t point it out. If they do point it out, ask them to leave.

10. Trim the tops of the stripes so that they are all level and neat.

11. Dust the top with lustre dust using a soft brush (optional).

12. Trim the base edges of the cake so they are all flush and look pretty.

13. Time to make Mr B: Follow the pictorial guide below.

Photo instructions part 1Photo instructions part 214. Place Mr B on top using a little water. Attach a small pile of mini eggs next to him.

15. Affix tiny eggs around the top perimeter of the cake. I sorted my eggs into white and blue to match the stripes. You can do it any way you wish.

16. Place your cake on a serving plate or stand and let everyone stand agog at your awesomeness.Details of the finished caketadaa

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Written by Claire Goodwin

Claire is a speech therapist, baker, cake decorator, sometime radio guest and writer. She writes about food, being fat and living with mental health problems @bake_therapist; www.baketherapy.co.uk; www.facebook.com/CakeChemistryUK