Sweet Honey

Springtime Dessert: Vanilla Cake with Buttercream Frosting and Edible Nest

I am a sucker for anything themed, so naturally when any holiday rolls around I’m immediately on the hunt for a similarly themed dessert for our family gatherings. I found this Speckled Malted Coconut Cake by Emily Nabors Hall on the Country Living website that looked like perfection! Well, almost perfection – my husband and I are not fans of coconut or coconut flavoring (much to the disappointment of my mother). While I’m sure that Emily’s recipe is amazing and delicious, I decided to make my Easter egg cake with my favorite vanilla cake recipe and a light blue buttercream frosting. The nest is made of phyllo (or fillo) dough and is filled with chocolate eggs. I will warn you that if you decide to make this cake it is a labor of love, and you should allow about 3.5 hours from start to finish. The great thing about this cake is that it can be made the day before your gathering – the buttercream frosting acts a sealant and will keep your cake nice and moist (the only acceptable time to use this word as a descriptor)!

First, I started with the most unbelievably delicious vanilla cake recipe by Jocelyn Delk Adams, creator of Grandbaby Cakes. After discovering this recipe a couple years ago it’s the only vanilla cake recipe I’ll use. Not only is it delicious, but as it’s baking your home is filled with the most amazing vanilla scent that lasts for hours! Don’t be intimidated by the recipe – if you can’t find cake flour at your local grocery store just use this recipe. Honestly, I’ve had the hardest time finding cake flour, and I’ve found out the hard way that using regular flour instead really does make a difference.

Once I finished combining all my ingredients, I poured the batter into a 9-inch cake pan and used a spatula to smooth out the mixture. This ensures your cake bakes evenly every time.

Make sure you use Jocelyn’s suggestions for cooling. I’ve found that after taking cakes out of the freezer they are so much easier to work with as you are frosting. Even though it seems like a long time to wait, this is the perfect time to work on your phyllo nest and buttercream frosting!

For the Phyllo nest I made sure to pull my phyllo dough out of the freezer and let it reach room temperature before doing anything else. I found that the recipe doesn’t give great instructions on how to create the nest, so I actually winged it! I rolled my six phyllo sheets into a tight roll, then sliced them in varying degrees of thickness. Tip: make sure you knife is sharp when doing this. The phyllo dough is very fragile and will tear and break if your knife isn’t sharp enough.

Tip: make sure you spread out the phyllo dough in a thin layer on your baking sheet, otherwise you will have some pieces that are golden brown and some that aren’t.

Once you’ve baked the phyllo pieces and they are the perfect golden brown color you can get started on the buttercream frosting. I have had a lot of success with this recipe by Michelle with Crafty Morning. I added vanilla extract to mine, as well as a little blue gel coloring.

When I make a cake that’s more than one layer I always double up the frosting recipe. I don’t know if anyone else has had this problem, but I have never found a frosting recipe that makes enough for multiple layers and to cover the entire cake.

After your cakes are done cooling for an hour in the freezer you can start assembling. I used an offset spatula to add frosting to the cake, then a plain edge side scraper to finish, but you can get creative here and use whatever you want to get your desired look. Once the frosting had the look I was going for, I broke up the pieces of phyllo I baked off and added them around the bottom of the cake (perfect for covering any mistakes you made with the frosting). I also added them to the top of the cake to create the nest. I filled the nest with three different kinds of chocolate eggs: Lindt Hardshell Eggs, Cadbury Mini Eggs and Cadbury White Chocolate Mini Eggs. Ian said the Lindt eggs were the best, and I actually caught him picking them off the cake.

Left: Lindt Hardshell Egg, Center: Cadbury Mini Egg, Right: Cadbury White Chocolate Mini Egg

Here’s what my cake looked liked when finished. Of course it isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and more importantly how it tasted! What’s great is that you can use this cake as inspiration for your own Easter or springtime dessert, and it’s easy to adapt to either make a single layer cake or individual cupcakes.

If you end up making this cake or your own variation, leave a picture in the comments or send me a picture on Instagram. I’d love to see how yours turns out! Happy baking!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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