Easter baskets! Can’t you feel a bit of a sugar high just from looking at them sometimes? They held the Easter eggs that held allllll the candy that felt like the best part of Easter as a kid 😉
Browsing Pinterest shortly before Easter, I saw several cakes with handles added to them made to look like Easter baskets – they were soo adorable!! So cute and neat and perfect. This one….well, wasn’t really that way so much. :p I guess I got down to my roots a bit when I started into this decoration……it sums up two of my more prominent characteristics: 1) sugar addict and 2) world-class pro-level klutz. 😉
My current favorite layer cake recipe is below – a slightly-modified version of Martha Stewart’s Vanilla Layer Cake recipe 😉
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 c granulated sugar
6 eggs + 2 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 c whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch and two 6-inch round cake pans and line with buttered parchment or spray with baker’s floured cooking spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cream softened butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla, eggs and egg white and beat well, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, alternating with the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and mix until well combined.
Divide batter between pans (I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part) and smooth tops with an off-set spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.
Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
6-7 c powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla (or desired flavoring)
1/4 t. salt
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.
Reserve about 2/3 c frosting to color and use for decorating later.
1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle
1 6-inch cardboard cake circle (or a folded square parchment paper)
1 small Easter basket
6-10 small/medium sized Easter eggs
15-20 mini Cadbury chocolate eggs
1/4 c tinted coconut (place in a plastic bag with gel food coloring and shake to tint)
Pastel-colored sprinkles of your choice 😉
While you’re waiting for your cakes to cool, tint 1/3 c of reserved frosting with pastel colors of your choice – I used green and yellow.
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired) and fill and crumb-coat both tiers. If you’re unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it’s just what it sounds like – a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer 😉 I put my 8-inch tier on a cardboard cake circle and my 6-inch tier on a doubled piece of parchment paper….because I didn’t have any smaller cake circles on hand. A 6-inch cardboard cake circle would’ve simplified the frosting and stacking process immensely 😉
Once your crumb coats have set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your tiers are covered, place them into the fridge to set the frosting.
Stacking the tiers. Pull your hair back and roll up your sleeves for this part. 😉 It helps. Or at least it helped me. I used about 8 toothpick holes poked 1 inch from the edge of my 8-inch cake layer to mark where I wanted my 6-inch tier to go. Once the 6-inch cake was well-chilled, I *very carefully* peeled back half the parchment paper and placed one edge on top of my bottom layer, and then slowly slid the parchment paper out from underneath my 6-inch tier. Breathe a sigh of relief – the hardest part is over! 😉
Turn your Easter basket upside down, and place it on top of your cake. Pipe the colored frosting around the bases of both layers, and use small amounts of the frosting to stick the eggs to your cake. Place the eggs under the basket and down the side of the cake – make it look like your Easter basket just spilled all over your cake 😉 Add tinted coconut and sprinkles around the eggs, and add sprinkles around the bottom of both tiers.
Annnnd you’re done! Stand back and admire your awesome cake 😉