Chocolate Easter Cake with decadent chocolate layers and vanilla buttercream frosting. Tint the frosting with a fun color and garnish the cake with milk chocolate eggs and coconut.
Chocolate Easter Cake
This is a Chocolate Cake for Easter but can be adapted for any holiday. Rich chocolate cake layers with tinted vanilla buttercream frosting make the foundation for the cake. Crushed chocolate cookie crumbs are added to the frosting to give it a “speckled egg” appearance. The cake is decorated with toasted coconut and milk chocolate eggs.
Do you remember my chocolate pistachio cake? I used the same chocolate cake for today’s recipe. It’s one of my favorite chocolate cakes. It’s tender yet supremely fudgy and packed with so much chocolate.
It’s a chocolate lover’s dream cake!
Five parts to Easter egg chocolate cake
- Chocolate cake
- Tinted vanilla buttercream frosting
- Chocolate cookie crumbs
- Toasted coconut
- Milk chocolate candy eggs
How to make chocolate cake for Easter
The chocolate cake is similar to my chocolate coconut cake. The biggest difference is the use of buttermilk. I love buttermilk in cakes. Why? Buttermilk yields an incredibly moist crumb.
In fact, the crumb is so moist, it sticks to the fork.
I use both melted chocolate and cocoa powder in the batter which only enhances the chocolate flavor. You can take it a step further by omitting 1/2 cup buttermilk and using 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee in its place. Make sure the coffee has cooled to room temperature first.
Use Dutch-process cocoa powder for the cake. Dutch-processed is darker and has a much smoother flavor than natural cocoa powder.
The frosting is my basic buttercream frosting with the addition of chocolate cookie crumbs and gel food coloring. You can use any color to tint the frosting with but I highly recommend going lighter than I did so the cookie crumbs are visible. But, then again, this is totally up to you.
Toast coconut to garnish the bottom edge of the cake. Use the coconut that’s remaining to form a “nest” on top of the cake and fill the nest with candy eggs.
Tips for making chocolate Easter cake
- When measuring the flour, it’s best to weigh it. But if you don’t have a scale, stir the flour, spoon it into your measuring cup, and level it off with the back of a knife.
- Be sure you are using Dutch-process cocoa powder and not natural unsweetened cocoa.
- Work with room temperature ingredients. Set the cold ingredients out on the countertop 30 minutes to 1 hour before you begin baking.
- When tinting the frosting, add 1 drop of gel food coloring at a time until you achieve the desired color.
Chocolate Easter Cake
For the cake
- 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (57 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder , plus more for dusting the pans
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces (113 g) unsweetened chocolate , coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter , melted
- 1 and 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (480 ml) buttermilk
For the frosting
Make the cake
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray 3 8-inch round pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper cut into a circle to fit the pan. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray and dust the pan lightly with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk and set aside.
- Add the chocolate to a small heatproof bowl and set it over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir continuously until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together on medium-low speed until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Beat in the vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated. With the mixer set to low speed.
- Gradually add half the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk, and then the remaining flour mixture. Beat just until combined. The batter will be thick.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter all the way to the edges of the pan and smooth out the surface.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few dry crumbs.
- Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely. Peel the parchment paper off the bottoms before filling.
Make the frosting
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt. Continue to beat until incorporated.
- Add 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar, beat on medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened.
- Gradually add in the remaining sugar, one cup at a time. You may need more or less depending on how soft the butter is. Beat on medium-low speed until the sugar is moistened.
- Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the cookie crumbs and food coloring. Mix until well combined.
Assemble the cake
- Place one cake layer onto a serving platter. Add a generous amount of frosting and spread it to the edge with a spatula.
- Repeat with a second cake layer, topping it with a generous amount of frosting.
- Add the third cake layer and cover the top and sides of cake with frosting.
- Press toasted coconut into the sides of the cake near the bottom and coming up less than halfway.
- Form a “nest” in the center of the cake with the remaining toasted coconut. Place the candy eggs in the “nest”.
Make ahead tip
- Wrap baked and cooled cake layers tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator. The frosting can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated overnight. Assemble and frost the cake within 2 days.
- The frosted cake can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature just before serving.