When I was a kid, there were four High Holy candy holidays: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter.
Halloween, with the socially acceptable begging, ruled the childhood candy spectrum. I could always count on a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day (except for the disastrous year my mother decided to give us underwear instead) and a book of Lifesavers in my stocking at Christmas.
Easter meant a chocolate rabbit (usually hollow), and maybe some of those Brach’s marshmallow egg things and jelly beans.
Then the Cadbury Creme Egg entered my consciousness, with the commercials featuring the Cadbury Bunny tryouts in the early 1980s. They were chocolate, with the most ultra sweet filling that looked like raw eggs.
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And the floodgates opened. Now no chocolatier or candy maker can afford not to do something special. This season, for the first time, Ghirardelli has introduced a milk chocolate rabbit, named Noe.
This year, the National Confectioners Association expects people to spend $2.35 million on Easter candy.
“It’s the number two holiday for seasonal spending, behind Halloween,” said Susan Whiteside, NCA spokeswoman. Whereas for Halloween people typically buy mostly everyday candy, albeit smaller in size, for Easter the offerings tend to be more unique.
“You have so many options and so different kinds of candy and other kinds of presents, too,” she said. “The chocolate bunny is the centerpiece of every Easter basket. But it is hard to imagine not having jelly beans, and Peeps and other traditional candies, too.”
It used to be the highest goal was to get a solid chocolate rabbit. Now there’s a solid wall of candy. Candywarehouse.com had more than 650 Easter-themed items, from Easter grass-green Twizzlers to neon Peeps and even caramel filled Cadbury eggs. There are more than 200 hits on jelly beans alone.
But, if your tastes lean toward homemade for Easter, this cake might be the most decadent thing yet. Martha Collison, a former contestant on the Great British Bake Off, created a Cadbury Creme pinata cake. It’s got creme egg fondant spilled all over the top and miniature creme eggs spilling out of the inside of a three-layer cake covered with chocolate frosting. In short, it’s got everything.
As Collison put it on her blog: “This is a full on cake for the most extreme Creme Egg lovers. … If you want to go into a Creme Egg coma, then look no further, this cake is for you.”
Cadbury Creme Egg pinata cake
By Martha Collison, Great British Bake Off contestant
For the cake:
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 medium free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp. milk
For the ganache:
1 7/8 cups dark chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup butter, cubed
1 tablespoon golden syrup (not light corn syrup)
1 cup heavy cream
1 Cadbury Creme Egg
2 bags of mini Cadbury Creme Eggs (or small chocolate egg)
For the icing:
7/8 cup confectioner’s sugar
Orange and white food coloring
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease 3 7-inch round cake pans and line them with baking parchment.
Using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then stir in the vanilla extract.
Add the flour and salt, stirring until the mixture is well combined, then add the milk. You should have a thick batter.
Divide the mixture evenly between the pans and smooth over the tops with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen, golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool briefly in the tins, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely
To make the ganache, place the chocolate, butter and golden syrup into a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Stir until the mixture is melted and smooth, and then pour in the double cream and mix until combined. Place the ganache into the fridge for around 30 minutes, or until chilled but not set firm. Use an electric hand mixer to whip the ganache until it turns from dark to pale brown, it should be light and mousse-like in texture
To assemble the cake, stack the bottom two layers on top of each other and use a circular cookie cutter to remove the middle. Press through both layers at once to make sure the holes line up
Put the bottom ring on a cake stand and cover the top with a layer of ganache using a palette knife. Put the second ring on top of the first and fill the cavity with mini creme eggs. Make sure the hole is filled to the same level as the cake or the top layer will cave in.
Cover the surface of the second ring with ganache then top with the final layer. Cover the whole cake in the remaining ganache, using a palette knife to smooth the edges
To make the icing, divide the confectioner’s sugar between two small bowls and add 1-2 teaspoons of water to each. You might need to add a little more water — you want a thick paste to drizzle. Add enough orange/ white food coloring to the bowls to make your icing and drizzle over the cake. Finish off the cake by cutting open your Creme Egg and placing it on the top of the cake.