We got 4 chicks just in time for Easter and they are the most adorable thing ever. We just can't take our eyes away from them. I wanted to make a cake and have them in pictures so I could have this moment forever. It's in no time that they are going to be big hens that lay eggs.
I have been dreaming of this cake design for a while now. A few months ago I purchased a hen in a basket metal mold and my plan was to make a chocolate hen out of it. I tried that and it was a disaster. The chocolate wouldn't come out from the mold. So, I washed the chocolate out in the sink with hot water, wiped the molds dry, dusted them with confectioner's sugar and molded marzipan instead. Quite a success this time and I dare say, I love the end result way more than I would have the chocolate.
Isn't this mold so awesome? I love purchasing antiques with a purpose. Nothing compares to old-world craftsmanship, does it? This towel that the marzipan hens are sitting on, was made by my grandmother's mom in the early 1900's. It is a piece that I will always cherish.
When I style a scene I prefer to keep it simple most of the times so that the baking can be the center of attention. I play into a concept of antique plain country style design that I feel would never look outdated, but at the same time speaks of days that have long passed. Those quail eggs integrate beautifully into my plan. I brought them all the way from England from my darling friend Louise https://linktr.ee/cygnetkitchen , and that's where I found this beautiful antique prayer book as well. The Muscari's (or otherwise known as Grape Hyacinths) come fresh from my garden. I planted them a couple of years back and since then they never fail to show their beautiful color right around Easter.
for the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
the zest of 2 lemons
3 medium eggs
1 banana, mashed
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup milk
8 oz Cool Whip
8 oz dark chocolate chips
for the hen:
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
10 oz marzipan
1 tablespoon melted chocolate
1 tablespoon Cool Whip
2 tablespoons melted chocolate
1 teaspoon confectioner's sugar
empty quail eggs
small olive branch
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9 inch round cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a bowl whisk the flours and baking powder and set aside. In a different bowl combine the sugar, lemon zest, banana and eggs and beat with a hand mixer on high speed for 5 minutes until light and creamy. Gradually incorporate the olive oil, milk and flour mixture. Beat for 2 more minutes until everything is blended in. Pour in the previously prepared pan and bake for an hour and 10 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (the cake can be baked a day before). Let the cake cool down to room temperature and then mash it into fine crumbles. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan melt the Cool Whip and the chocolate chips on low heat. Mix from time to time. When the chocolate and whip cream are incorporated into a ganache, pour them on top of the crumbled cake and combine until the mixture resembles a chocolatey paste.
Prepare a 6 inch round cake pan with clear wrap (this will give the cake that wooden bark appearance). Press the chocolate cake mixture into it tightly, then freeze for one hour.
Meanwhile make the marzipan hen. Dust the hen mold with confectioner's sugar, then press the marzipan in both of the metal halves. When both sides are filled in and well pressed, remove the marzipan from the mold. Glue the two marzipan hen sides with melted chocolate.
On a parchment paper sheet make a 6x6 inch rectangle from melted chocolate then refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Take the chocolate ganache cake out of the freezer, unmould from cake pan by the help of the clear wrap, then with your hands spread a very thin layer of Cool Whip all over the cake (this will give the white tree bark appearance). Place on a serving dish.
Remove the chocolate rectangle from the fridge, brake into pieces and arrange the pieces on top of the cake in the shape of a nest. Dust with a little bit of confectioner's sugar, place the marzipan hen on top, decorate with the quail eggs, grape hyacinth, and olive branch.