Tuesday 22 April 2014

Tots 100 and Center Parcs April Challenge: Easter Egg Nests!

When I saw this month's challenge from Center Parcs and Tots 100 to make an edible Easter Egg nest, I knew that ours would have to involve cake. Cereals don't figure much in this house generally but we all love to bake, so we were happy that we could get creative and have a Cake-nest fest!
Tots 100 CP April challenge

We were asked to take a look at the Center Parcs blog for some inspiration for our nests, and we liked all of their tips, but picked on the following one as an idea... 

Not a fan of chocolate? Twist multi-coloured liquorice laces together to create an edible nest, softening them in the microwave for 20 seconds to make them easier to mould. 

I did wonder who on earth is not a fan of chocolate.... anyhow we're not big fans of liquorice here so instead we found some blackcurrant laces which did the trick on our cupcakes! We'd also decided to use some mini mint chocolate sticks as we thought they looked like twigs (and the fact that they are yummy meant we HAD to buy two bags). Mini eggs were of course the finishing touch, joined by some fondant leaves and specially made chicks.

The girls helped of course; my little naked chef is brilliant at egg cracking and stirring.

We decided on one batch of vanilla and one batch of chocolate cupcakes, plus a mini cake with each recipe to make a slightly larger nest. Some cupcakes we mixed the vanilla and chocolate together, just to make a change!

The recipe was very simple, as always:

150g caster sugar
150g butter (we use unsalted)
3 medium eggs
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

(for chocolate we used just 120g of self raising flour and added 30g of cocoa powder instead)
Spoon licking is obligatory and the best bit!
We baked the cupcakes for around 15 minutes and the larger cakes for an extra 10 minutes. It's always good to check when they're ready by putting a skewer through the middle - if it comes out clean, they're done! Then we piped or spread some buttercream on them, added the laces and other decorations and hey presto, some unique Easter Nests!

Tamsin's not in the pictures herself this time, but she loved making these chicks out of the ready rolled icing. I loved her creativity - the one with half a mini egg for a hat was her favourite:

This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 April Challenge. If I'm chosen, I would like to visit Elveden Forest.