Posted: 02 April 2015

Perfect recipes for an Easter Bake and Brew

With Easter just around the corner, The Children Society's resident baker Owain shares some of his recipes and tips for a perfect Bake and Brew.

'I’ve always been a keen baker, especially when I’ve got some free time on the weekends. To celebrate the run up to Easter I made Simnel cakes as well as chocolate Easter nests. Many hands make light work, so I got my nephew involved in the baking to celebrate this special and reflective time of year. 

Our head office is a brilliant location for a Bake and Brew - people are always pleased to see cake on sale! One piece of advice I'd offer anyone doing a Bake and Brew in their office is let people know in plenty of time, and try to make something suitable for people with gluten intolerance. I also gave away the first slice of cake for free – but only on the condition that the lucky recipient told everyone how great it was!'

Here are the recipes I used:

Simnel Cake (makes one 18cm cake) 

Simnel cake

Ingredients:

500g Marzipan (for icing)

180g butter or margarine

180g light muscavado sugar

4 large eggs

2 tbsp milk

200g plain flour

½ tsp ground mixed spice

150g currants

150g sultanas

60g cut mixed peel

Zest of ½ lemon

2/3 tbsp apricot jam

½ tsp salt

Method:

Roll out a third (165g) of marzipan to make a circle that fits snug inside an 18cm cake tin. Reserve the remainder for the cake topping.

Preheat oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Grease and line your 18cm cake tin.

Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy then beat three of the eggs with the milk and incorporate to the mixture slowly.

Next, add sifted flour, salt and mixed spice gradually, folding into the mixture as you go. Finally, add the cut mixed peel, dried fruit, and grated lemon zest and mix well.

Put half the mixture into the greased cake tin, smooth and cover with the layer of marzipan before adding the rest of the cake mixture and smoothing again.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 45 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled, spread the top of the cake with apricot jam and divide the remaining marzipan into two – roll out one half to cover the top of the cake and the other half to make 11 small balls, arranging these evenly around the edge of the cake.

Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg, before placing under the grill for 2-3 minutes to brown. Keep a close eye on the cake at this stage as it can burn very quickly.

 

Easter Nests (makes around 14 nests):

easter nests

Ingredients:

300g Milk Chocolate

100g Shredded Wheat, crushed

80g Mini Marshmallows

200g Mini chocolate eggs, for decoration

Cupcake cases

Method:

Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl placed over a pan of gently simmering water.

Pour the melted chocolate over the crushed Shredded Wheat and mix well, also incorporating the mini marshmallows.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, pressing the back of a teaspoon into the centre of the mix to create a nest shape.

Finally,  arrange 3 mini chocolate eggs in the centre of the nest, then put the completed nests in the fridge for one hour to set.

 

Easter Biscuits (serves 12):

easter biscuits

Ingredients:

200g Plain Flour

1 tsp mixed spice

½ tsp salt

75g caster sugar

100g butter

1 medium egg, separated

50g currants

2 tbsp warm milk

Pinch saffron (mixed with milk)

Additional Caster sugar, for dusting

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°C, gas 6.

Prepare two baking trays with baking paper

Sift the flour, salt and spice into a small bowl and set aside.

Cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk.

Fold in the flour, salt and spice, currants, milk and saffron to form a fairly soft dough.

Knead lightly on a floured surface and roll out thinly (about 1/2 cm)

Using a 8cm circular round cutter, cut into biscuits and place onto baking trays.

Bake for 8 minutes then remove from the oven, brush with egg white, sprinkle over sugar and bake for a further 3 minutes until golden brown.

Feeling inspired? Get involved

Whether it’s a sticky Simnel cake or buttery biscuits, your Easter baking can make a huge difference to vulnerable children.  Why not organise a Bake and Brew this Easter weekend - we've got everything you need to organise your event and raise vital funds for our work.