‘Tis the season for bows and bunny ears… go on, indulge your creative side with these Easter tea table ideas from Jane Pikett
It used to be that Simnel was the must-serve cake at Easter, but you see it less these days, which seems to me to be a scandal, but then fewer and fewer people seem to like marzipan.
If you do want to serve a Simnel, it’s easy – simply make up a standard Dundee cake recipe, add half the batter to a deep (Christmas cake) cake tin, top with a 1 cm deep disc of marzipan and then the rest of the batter and bake as per the recipe plus 5 mins or so. When it’s cool, brush the top of the cake with warmed apricot jam and top with another disc of marzipan, then brush with egg white and brown under a low grill
Decorate with marzipan balls and your choice of Easter-themed loveliness such as mini dyed eggs and macaroons, or with tat from Poundland – your choice.
Or, make the cakes in the picture using a standard recipe for Victoria sponge topped with buttercream, whipped fresh cream or whipped Greek yoghurt, macaroons and dyed eggs.
To a standard Victoria sponge recipe
(175g butter, 175g sugar, 3 eggs,
175g self-raising flour) add:
Lemon and blueberry: Add the finely grated zest and half the juice of 1 lemon to cake mix and sprinkle a few blueberries over it in the tin before baking. Top with whipped Greek yoghurt and blueberries.
Lemon and poppy seed: Add the finely grated zest and half the juice of 1 lemon plus ½ tbsp poppy seeds to cake mix. Top with buttercream flavoured with lemon juice and zest and garnish with dehydrated lemon slices (below).
Coconut sponge: Add 75g dessicated coconut to the flour and 2 tsp milk to the finished cake mix. Serve topped with buttercream and coconut flakes.
Caraway sponge: Add 1 tbsp caraway seeds with the sugar. Serve topped with buttercream pepped up with 1-2 tbsps
Orange and walnut: Add the grated zest of a medium orange and 70g chopped walnuts to the cake mix. Top with butter cream laced with the juice of the orange and spinkle with walnuts.
Oranges and lemons
Dehydrated slices of orange and lemon make surprisingly pretty garnishes for Easter cakes. Simply wash and dry them, slice into rings and remove seeds. Preheat oven to 100C/Gas ½. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, lay out the slices in a single layer and dust generously with coconut sugar or golden granulated sugar. Bake for 2-2½ hours until the zest is dry and the flesh is translucent.
To make a dye for hard-boiled eggs, simply mix 120ml boiling water with 1 tsp vinegar and 10-20 drops food colour (depending on the intensity of colour you want). Dip each egg for about 5 mins, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to dry. Go mad with your colours, or keep it subtle, as you wish!
For a quick crowd pleaser, serve fairy cakes in china tea cups and top with piped buttercream and dyed icing cut into flower shapes. Beautifully simple…