Happy Easter! I hope all of my readers are enjoying a wonderful day spent with family or friends. I will be spending today with my family and have been looking forward to it for a while. As the baker in the family, I'm usually asked to make dessert for the holidays. Not that I mind; I love making cakes and cupcakes. Wait until you see this adorable Bird's Nest Cake! I first saw it several weeks ago and I've been waiting until this weekend to make it and share it.
The base of the cake is carrot cake. While there are so many carrot cake recipes out there, my favorite is Dorie Greenspan's. She truely is the baking queen and her cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours is one of my favorite baking books! The reason the carrot cake is so good is because it's stuffed with carrots, raisins, and other goodies. I used it for the carrot cake but didn't make the cream cheese frosting this time.
The recipe calls for chocolate frosting but since my brother really likes carrot cake but can't have chocolate, I was a nice sister and made buttercream frosting tinted with AmeriColor Soft Gel Paste in Chocolate Brown. It turned out perfectly for the bird's nest cake. When I first looked at this cake I figured the "twigs" were Chinese noodles but they are actually lines of frosting. While I thought it would take forever to put all of those lines on the cake, it actually only took about 20 minutes.
I finished the cake with Cadbury chocolate eggs and Peeps! How adorable is this cake? I can't wait to share it with my family today!
Carrot Cake (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)
For the Cake:
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt
2 c. grated carrots
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans
½ c. raisins
2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
For the Frosting:
2 stick butter, softened
3 ½ c. powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla
For decorating (idea from The Vanilla Bean Baker):
Cadbury mini chocolate eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter three 9″ round cake pans and flour the insides.
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a medium bowl combine the carrots, nuts, and raisins.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the sugar, butter, and oil together on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat until the batter is smooth.
4. Reduce to mixed speed to low and add in the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Remove the bowl from the bowl and fold in the carrots, nuts, and raisins.
5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them.
6. Invert the cakes and remove them from the pans. Invert and cool to room temperature.
7. To make the frosting place the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the frosting is smooth. Beat in the vanilla then add in brown food coloring.
8. To assemble the cake put one layer on a cardboard cake round. Spread frosting on top of the cake then place the second layer on top. Place frosting on top of the second layer and top with the third later.
9. Cut a 4" circle in the top layer of the cake in the center. Carefully remove the piece and set aside (to snack on).
10. Frost the sides and the top of the cake, including inside the "nest" with frosting.
11. Place all remaining frosting in a piping bag fitted with a number 3 or 4 tip. Beginning inside the nest, pipe on lines at random lengths and angles until the entire cake is covered.
12. Fill the nest on top with chocolate eggs and top with 1 or 2 Peeps.
What are you having for dessert tonight?