Modern Nest Cake Tutorial
We've seen basket cakes with eggs and bunnies a million times. So, this year, we were set on making a simple cake for the Easter table that set the bar a little higher, and our modern spring nest cake was born. Speckled chocolate eggs are an easy way to elevate this cake to centerpiece status and keeping the nest white and textured seems befitting of such elegant eggs.
We love having versatile cake pans in our collection, and this donut pan from Fat Daddio's is just the pan. Obviously, it makes for an adorable giant donut cake or a life preserver for a pool party. But, when we were thinking about Easter cake designs, this modern bundt cake shaped seemed like the stand out choice to create a quick and easy nest cake, no carving required.
This cake is easy and can be prepped in advance. The eggs can be made days ahead and stored at room temperature. The cake can be a box mix or your favorite scratch recipe and can be baked a few days ahead and frozen (just defrost before icing). We also used toasted fresh coconut on the sides (storebought of course) to create instant texture with no muss, no fuss...a total time saver.
Our from scratch Vanilla Cake Recipe will work beautifully for this, but a box mix will work just as well. However, you want to make your buttercream from scratch so that you have a nice fluffy texture to put the coconut in. A single batch of Brenda's Bakery Buttercream is the way to go.
We used two packages of Trader Joe's Roasted Coconut for the sides, but anything similar should work.
STEP 1: BAKE CAKE AND MAKE ICING
Bake your cake in the donut shaped pan. Cool and wrap in plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge if you're making the cake in a few hours or place in the freezer for future use. Just be sure to defrost it in the fridge before icing it. (A refrigerated cake will be much easier to ice with buttercream than a room temperature cake).
Make your buttercream ahead too. Place it in the fridge and pull it out an hour or two before you need it. Restir with a spatula before using.
STEP 2: MAKE SPECKLED EGGS
In a microwave safe vessel, melt a handful of chocolate candy coating on half power. Remove and stir every 30 seconds until your coating is melted. Do not overheat it or it may burn.
Dip a toothpick in the chocolate candy coating and make little dots inside the mold to create speckles. Place the mold in the fridge for 2-3 minutes to firm up the dots.
Melt 1/3 of a bag of pink coating the same way that you melted the chocolate. (Be sure that the coating is melted but not hot or it could melt the dots in the mold). Dollop a couple of heaping tablespoons of coating into the mold and use the back of a small spoon to spread it into a shell, lining the mold. This should be no thinner than 1/4" thick, so that the egg is sturdy.
Make sure that the coating bleeds over the edge of the mold. Once you have the two sides coated, use a spatula to scrape across the mold to create a completely flat edge. Place the mold in the fridge for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes in the fridge, remove the mold. (If you feel like there are any obvious thin spots in the shell you can add some additional melted coating to strengthen it before popping it out). Flex the mold and pop out the two sides.
Rewarm your coating if necessary, and then spoon some along the edge of one side of the egg. Place the second half on top and use your finger to wipe away any excess coating that's dripping out. Hold the sides in place until you feel like they're secure.
You will have to do this three times to complete three speckled eggs.
STEP 3: ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Ice your nest cake with a thick and rough layer of buttercream. Drag the end of your spatula through the cake, following the circle shape to create a nest like texture.
Place individual pieces of coconut in the buttercream. Make sure the pieces are all heading in the same direction so that the texture of the nest doesn't look haphazard.
Add your eggs before finishing the coconut around the top edge. (We just placed the eggs in the center of the cake and they fit perfectly in the hole. However, you may need to carve out a small section of the cake or apply a little extra buttercream to make sure the eggs are sitting snugly in the middle of the cake). Now finish the top edge with some coconut and voila, you're done...now let's eat this baby!