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Chocolate Easter Cake

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This Easter cake is the perfect festive dessert to accompany your Easter dinner. It’s fun for the whole family to make together.

slice being taken out of chocolate easter cake with blue icing

Easter egg cake is an easy and festive treat to make during the springtime. Kids will love decorating the top with coconut and chocolate eggs.

The chocolate layers in this cake are adapted from my chocolate pistachio cake. This cake is also used for my delicious Nutella cake.

You’ll find it to be a rich and dense cake with tons of chocolate flavor. Adding melted chocolate and cocoa powder produces a powerful chocolate punch in each slice.

I love the American buttercream frosting that tops this dessert along with the cute little robin’s egg nest.

You can read my basic vanilla buttercream post for tips on how to make the perfect frosting.


Why this recipe works

  • You’ll bake a chocolate layer cake in three separate cake pans. This way, there’s no tricky slicing of cakes horizontally. Plus, your layers will be perfectly even.
  • Adding both melted chocolate and cocoa powder to the cake means there is tons of flavor in every bite. Plus, it stays super moist.
  • Simple whipped vanilla buttercream keeps the cake light and the flavors balanced.

This is such a fun and festive recipe to make with your kids. The color, candy eggs, and chocolate flavor make it a holiday favorite.

fork taking a bite out of a slice of chocolate cake with blue icing on white plate

What you need to make it

The components for this speckled egg cake create a moist, chocolate Easter dessert. Let’s discuss just a few of the key ingredients:

Ingredients

This is a short overview of the ingredients I used and why I chose them. The full recipe can be found at the bottom of the post!

  • Flour & leavening: I recommend using all-purpose flour and using a kitchen scale to weigh the flour for accuracy. Meanwhile, baking soda and baking powder act as leavening agents in this recipe.
  • Cocoa powder & unsweetened chocolate: Use Dutch-processed cocoa powder because it is neutralized and won’t react to the buttermilk. Use only unsweetened chocolate to maintain the balance of sweetness.
  • Sugar: Both types of sugar in the recipe add the perfect touch of sweetness to the Easter cake and its frosting.
  • Vanilla & salt: Vanilla adds a warm, woody taste and sweet aroma to the cake, while salt works to enhance the flavors in the cake.
  • Fats: Butter adds richness to the cake, while eggs add structure to the batter. You can substitute buttermilk with sour cream or whole milk yogurt.

Equipment

This is a list of tools I used to make the recipe. Some of the links are affiliate links.


How to make an Easter cake

1. Make the chocolate cake

You’ll combine the dry and wet ingredients to create the batter. Then, you’ll bake 3 cake layers for the Easter cake.

chocolate cake batter in glass bowl next to baked chocolate cake layer in pan on wire rack
  1. While you preheat your oven, prep your pans for baking with nonstick spray and parchment paper.
  2. Combine dry ingredients to create the flour mixture.
  3. Melt chocolate over simmering water.
  4. Then, beat sugar and butter together with a mixer.
  5. Beat in eggs one at a time. Then, beat in vanilla. And, then beat in the melted chocolate.
  6. Slowly add half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Then, add buttermilk; and then, add the remaining mixture.
  7. Divide batter among your 3 prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the toothpick method indicates it is done.
  8. Cool cake layers in pans for 10 minutes. Then, invert layers onto wire racks to cool completely. Peel off parchment paper.

2. Make the blue frosting

Next, you’ll craft the signature pastel blue frosting of the Easter cake from an American buttercream recipe.

blue frosting in glass bowl
  1. Beat butter with a mixer until creamy and pale, or about 5 minutes.
  2. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar, also called powdered sugar, and then, beat as directed from low speed to medium-high speed.
  3. Then, add remaining confectioners’ sugar. Repeat beating on low speed until moistened, then increasing to medium-high speed until well blended.
  4. Add in vanilla and salt to the mixture. Then, turn the mixer to low and slowly add 3 tablespoons of heavy cream.
  5. Then, turn the mixer up to medium-high until well blended.
  6. Check the consistency. Add more cream, ½ tablespoon at a time, if needed.
  7. Then, mix in one drop of food coloring at a time until you reach your desired color.
  8. Add cookie crumbs. Then, mix on low until evenly distributed.

3. Assemble the cake

Now that you’ve made the cake layers and crafted the frosting, you can assemble the Easter cake into its finished form.

blue frosting sandwiched between three chocolate cake layers next to cake coated in blue frosting
cake with blue frosting, coconut birds nest, and candy robin eggs on a white cake stand
  1. Place one layer onto a serving platter.
  2. Then, add a generous amount of frosting and spread it with a spatula.
  3. Repeat with a second layer. Top it with a generous amount of frosting.
  4. Finally, add the third layer. Cover the top and sides with frosting.
  5. Create a “nest” in the center of the cake out of toasted coconut. Then, place candy eggs in it.

Variations

You can personalize this cake to fit your taste preferences.

  • Chocolate speckles: Instead of cookie crumbs, mix 2 tablespoons vanilla with 2 teaspoons cocoa powder and use a small pastry brush to splatter it over the cake.
  • Vanilla cake: If you don’t like chocolate, you can make this recipe with moist vanilla cake instead.

Storing & freezing

To store: Let baked layers cool prior to wrapping in plastic wrap and storing in the fridge. Prepare the frosting and cover it in the fridge overnight. Cake must be assembled within 2 days.

To freeze: A frosted cake may be stored in the freezer for no more than 2 months. Then, thaw it overnight in your fridge. Let the cake reach room temperature before serving.

More treats to make for Easter

Make your Easter dinner so fun and festive this year. Try out even more of my seasonal cake recipes and the eternal Easter classic, Hot Cross Buns.

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side view of chocolate Easter cake with slice being taken out

Chocolate Easter Cake

Yield: one 8-inch three layer cake / 24 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

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.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ 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
  • ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ¾ cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (480 ml) buttermilk

For the frosting

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cups (600 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3-5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • blue food coloring
  • ½ cup (50 g) chocolate cookie crumbs

For garnish

  • 1 cup (85 g) shredded sweetened coconut, toasted and cooled
  • Candy eggs

Instructions

Make the cake

  1. 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.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Beat in the vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated. With the mixer set to low speed. 
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few dry crumbs. 
  10. 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

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy and pale in color, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add half the confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed just until the sugar has fully moistened, then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed just until the sugar has fully moistened, then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add 3 tablespoons of the heavy cream. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until the cream is well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. (After 2 minutes stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then continue mixing.)
  4. Check the consistency of the frosting and add more cream, ½ tablespoon at a time, if needed. The frosting should be soft and spreadable but not so loose that it doesn't hold its shape.
  5. Gradually mix in one drop of food coloring at a time until the desired color is reached.
  6. Add the cookie crumbs and mix on low speed until evenly distributed in the frosting.

Assemble the cake

  1. Place one cake layer onto a serving platter. Add a generous amount of frosting and spread it to the edge with a spatula. 
  2. Repeat with a second cake layer, topping it with a generous amount of frosting. 
  3. Add the third cake layer and cover the top and sides of the cake with frosting. 
  4. Form a "nest" in the center of the cake with the toasted coconut. Place the candy eggs in the "nest".

Notes

Flour: The recipe has only been tested with all-purpose flour. Cake flour may work but I can't guarantee it. Measure the flour correctly! Using too much flour by mistake is common. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh the flour for best results.

Cocoa powder: The recipe requires Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Dutch-processed is neutralized and will not react with the buttermilk.

Buttermilk: Sour cream or whole milk yogurt are viable substitutes. Regular milk or milk alternatives will not work.

Toasted coconut: Toast the coconut by placing it in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 325°F for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

Robin egg blue icing: I used sky blue gel food coloring by Wilton. Use a toothpick to scoop out small amounts and add it to the frosting. Mix on low speed until it's fully mixed in. Continue this process until the color is as dark as you'd like.

American buttercream: If you think American buttercream is too sweet, you may wish to use Swiss meringue buttercream instead.

Make ahead tip

  1. Wrap baked and cooled cake layers tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator.
  2. The frosting can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated overnight. Assemble and frost the cake within 2 days.
  3. 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.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 411Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 306mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 26gProtein: 4g

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