I FIRST learnt about the significance of Easter at school. Despite going to a school where Asians were a minority, it was very inclusive and I fitted in perfectly, really enjoying my time there. I learnt to appreciate other religions’ festivals and cultures, and thoroughly enjoyed singing my heart out in school gatherings.
As a child I focussed less on the religious aspects of Easter, but I remember noticing how much everyone was looking forward to their spring lamb lunches and Easter cake puddings, which were very much associated with the Easter festival. As I didn’t care too much for meat, I wasn’t too bothered about the feasting, but I did get very excited about the prospect of an extra-long school break!
We were taught that there are numerous interpretations of the meaning of Easter; not only the Christian story of death and resurrection, but also the fact that spring heralds new life and re-awakening of nature, whilst at the same time – magically for a child – managing to incorporate the giving of celebratory chocolate eggs!
Did you know the ‘modern’ Easter egg became a symbol associated with Easter gift-giving in the 18th century, you could say a little similar to a Kinder egg, made of paper mâché and containing a little gift? There have been traditions involving eggs around the world for centuries, including painting and exchanging real eggs in the UK, but it wasn’t until 1873 when the first chocolate egg was made by JS Fry & Son, to be followed within a couple of years by many of their confectioner rivals.
This Easter, as the first stage of lockdown easing allows us to plan outdoor meetings with family and friends once more, celebrations are likely to be more lavish as we play “party catch up”. I’m planning my Easter-themed outdoor décor, in the hope that I can share some lovely food and will really be putting in some effort to make it extra special.
I am more of a cook than a baker, so I’m choosing to bake a rich chocolate cake, as there’s less scope for me to go wrong! I’ve been experimenting already, and my first effort actually tasted quite indulgent and I was pleased with it – the right texture, light, airy and of course very, very chocolatey with some lovely sweet mini egg shards as a topping. Well, it’s only Easter once a year!
Assuming I can make a cake, anyone can! So here’s my recipe.
Mrs C’s Spice Blend & Rose Chocolate Cake . Prep and cook 40 minutes. Serves 6-8
1 heap teaspoon Spice blend
1 tablespoon rose water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
100 grams self raising flour
2 medium eggs
100 grams castor sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
200 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
100 grams butter, room temperature
* Pre-heat oven to 170 (fan), grease two 10cm cake tins with butter
* In a deep bowl whisk together all the cake mixture ingredients
* Divide the mixture into two, pour the mixture into the cake tins bake for 20 minutes (check by inserting a skewer into the middle, it should come out clean)
* Leave to cool for about 10 minutes
* Now microwave the chocolate in a heat proof bowl stirring every 30 seconds, allow to cool.
* Whisk in the butter, icing sugar, milk, cocoa powder, until smooth and shiny.
* Spread half of the buttercream onto one of the cakes, sandwich together, lastly spread the rest on top of the cake.
* See more of Chandra’s recipes on Instagram @leedshomecook