Easter Reblog: Figolli (Maltese Easter Biscuits)

These rich buttery biscuits with a chewy almond-citrus filling are my favourite Easter treat. Topped with a simple icing and a mini egg, they are gorgeous to give as gifts, or to eat yourself. They also give some relief from the chocolate-laden treats so abundant at Easter time. Happy baking!! xx

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Ingredients
Pastry
400g plain flour, sifted
175g caster sugar
200g butter
2 egg yolks
Grated rind of ½ a lemon

Filling
300g icing sugar, icing
300g ground almonds
2 egg whites
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2-2½ teaspoons orange blossom water

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Method
In a food processor, blitz flour, sugar & butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add egg yolks, lemon zest & sufficient cold water to bring together. Knead gently to form a smooth ball and then cover in cling film and refrigerate for 20mins.

Meanwhile, add the lemon zest, orange blossom water, egg whites & sugar to the ground almonds. Mix until combined.

Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced.

Roll pastry out to a 2-3mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 2 of each shape (we used round & oval shaped cutters of varying sizes).

Spread almond paste on one half and lay matching shapes on top, pressing the edges together.

Bake for approximately 20 mins or until golden brown.

Allow to cool before decorating with glacé icing & mini easter eggs or speckled eggs.

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Adapted from ‘The Food and Cookery of Malta’ (1999)

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Neapolitan Easter Layer Cake

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This cake is surprisingly quick & easy to whip up and makes the perfect centre piece to an Easter celebration. This cake is very rich so small pieces are recommended, especially when consumed in addition to chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday!

Of course, this cake doesn’t need to be Easter-themed at all, just omit the mini eggs and decorate as desired.

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Ingredients (layer cake serves up to 20 + 6 cupcakes out of the vanilla cake mix)
For the white & pink layers
190g butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
410g caster sugar
4 eggs
1½ cups plain flour
¾ cup self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
¾ cup milk
Pink food colouring

For the chocolate layer
60g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140g caster sugar
1 egg
100g self-raising flour
¼ cup cocoa
80ml water

For the vanilla buttercream
200g butter, softened
½ cup milk
1 tblspn vanilla extract
8 cups icing sugar

To decorate
150g dark chocolate
1 ½ bags Cadbury mini eggs, or easter eggs of your choice

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Method
Grease & line three 20cm cake tins and line a 6-hole muffin tin with patty pans. Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced.

To make the vanilla cake layers, add the butter, vanilla, caster sugar, eggs, flours, bicarb soda and milk to a large bowl. Beat for 1-2 minutes with an electric mixer until completely combined and lighter in colour.

Fill the 6 patty pans approximately ¾ full with cake batter and set aside.

Divide the remaining vanilla batter into halves and colour one half pink with food colouring (this time I only used a couple of drops, but in future I will put in more for a more vibrant colour). Spread white mixture into one prepared tin and pink mixture into another, and set aside.

To make the chocolate layer, add butter, vanilla, sugar, egg, flour, cocoa and water into a large bowl. Beat for 1-2 minutes with an electric mixer until completely combined. Spread into remaining cake tin.

Place the three large cakes into the oven and bake for ~40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. When they are half way cooked (i.e. after 20 minutes), put the cupcakes into the oven and let them cook for ~20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool cakes for 5 minutes in their tins, then gently turn out onto metal cooling racks to cool completely.

Once the cakes are cool, you can start on the frosting. Cream the butter for 1-2 mins in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Add the milk, vanilla and half of the icing sugar and beat for at least 3 mins (until the mixture is light and fluffy). Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 mins or until of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if too dry or extra icing sugar if too wet.

Spread frosting over the top of each of your cupcakes and top with a mini egg if desired.

To assemble the layer cake, put a small amount of frosting in the middle of a cake stand (or plate/cake board/ whatever you want your cake to be displayed on) and gently place your chocolate layer on top. Top the cake with a generous layer of frosting and smoothe it out to the edges so you have an even layer. Gently place the pink layer directly on top, ensuring that it is flat and in-line with the chocolate layer (if the cake is wonky at all, shave some of the cake off with a knife so it sits flat, or add more frosting where it is thinner). Top the pink layer with a generous dollop of frosting and, again, smoothe it out to the edges so it’s evenly spread. Gently place the white cake on top, again making alterations if necessary so that it is flat and even.

Coat top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting and don’t worry if you get crumbs in this layer (it is known as the ‘crumb coat’). Put the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes or until set. Top with another layer of frosting and smoothe with a palette knife so you have a neat, even surface. Return to the freezer for a further 10 minutes to set.

While the cake is in the freezer, melt your chocolate ready for the drizzle. Once your cake’s frosting is set, pour the melted chocolate onto the top of your cake and allow it to run down the sides. Make sure the entire top of the cake is covered in chocolate. Once the chocolate has set slightly (but not completely!!) top evenly with mini eggs. Leave it for a few further minutes until the chocolate has completely set and then serve. Enjoy!

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Cake recipes adapted from the ‘cut and keep butter cake’ and the ‘one-bowl chocolate cake’ in the Australian Women’s Weekly Classic Cakes cookbook.

Decoration inspiration from Sainsbury’s Magazine.

Easter Cupcakes 3 Ways

Wow, I can’t believe it’s only 1 week until Easter Sunday!

Here are 3 simple ways to decorate cupcakes for Easter. I used my favourite dark chocolate mud cupcake recipe for the cakes, but they would be equally delicious vanilla or any other flavour of your choice! When I made mine, I just made one batch of the cakes and divided each of the frosting recipes by a third, but feel free to triple the cake recipe if you want 3 full batches, or pick and choose which decorations you’d like 🙂

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Dark Chocolate Mud Cupcakes Ingredients (makes 12)
90g softened butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
⅔ cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
⅓ cup almond meal
⅔ cup water
60g dark chocolate melts, melted

Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

Beat butter, sugar & eggs in a large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in sifted flour and cocoa, almond meal, water and melted chocolate.

Fill each patty pan approximately ⅔ of the way full. Bake for around 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Stand cakes in tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

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Dark Chocolate Easter Nest Cupcake Ingredients (makes 12)
Dark chocolate frosting: 
125g butter, softened
1 ½ cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons dutch cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk

Chocolate Easter Nests
1x 100g packet Chang’s Original Fried Noodles (or equivalent)
2 tbspns crunchy peanut butter
200g dark chocolate melts
1 bag of Cadbury “Mini Eggs” (or equivalent)

Method
To make the nests, microwave peanut butter and chocolate until melted. Mix until it is a smooth paste. Add the noodles and coat them well.

Spoon the mixture onto grease-proof paper and shape into nests small enough to fit on top of your cupcakes. Top with three mini eggs and then place in the refrigerator until set.

While the nests are setting, make the frosting. Beat butter in a medium bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in icing sugar, cocoa and milk in two batches. If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar or cocoa.

To decorate, spread each cupcake generously with frosting and top with a nest.

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Bright Springtime Easter Cupcake Ingredients (makes 12)
Vanilla frosting:
125g butter, softened
1 ½ cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence (or flavouring of your choice)
Green food colouring

To decorate:
Wilton grass icing nozzle tip
1 bag of Cadbury “Mini Eggs” or equivalent

Method
To make the frosting, beat butter in a medium bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in icing sugar, vanilla and milk in two batches. Add green food colouring until desired colour is reached (start slowly, the colouring is often very strong!) If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.

Spoon frosting into a piping bag with a grass tip attachment. Pipe frosting vertically onto the cupcake until each cupcake is fully covered. Top with 3 mini eggs.

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Bunny Behind Cupcake Ingredients (makes 12)
Vanilla frosting:
125g butter, softened
1 ½ cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence (or flavouring of your choice)
Green food colouring

Decorations
12 Ferrero Raffaello white chocolate truffles (or equivalent)
36 white mini marshmallows
Pink icing pen (or alternatively use pink icing, fondant or melted pink candy melts)
Milo (Australian malt powder) or crushed chocolate biscuits, for the soil

Method
To make the frosting, beat butter in a medium bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in icing sugar, vanilla and milk in two batches. Add green food colouring until desired colour is reached (start slowly, the colouring is often very strong!) If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.

Top each cupcake with a generous layer of frosting, but be sure to leave aside a small amount of frosting to use as ‘glue’. Smoothe the top of each cupcake so you have a flat surface to work with. Sprinkle milo or crushed chocolate biscuits onto the frosting (but leave a border of green around the edge); this makes the ‘soil’. Firmly place a Raffaelo truffle into roughly the centre of your soil on each cake.

To make the tails, shape mini marshmallows into spheres and press firmly down. Attach each tail, using a small amount of frosting (so the green doesn’t show), to the Raffaelos (I chose to do mine to one side but I have seen them work top and centre).

To make the bunny’s feet, flatten 2 white marshmallows per bunny and squeeze in the centre to give a foot-like shape. Using your icing pen, draw on foot and toe-pads. Attach, toes down to the Raffaelos using a tiny amount of icing on the top back-side of each foot.

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Frosting recipes adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Cupcakes by Colour’ cookbook.

 

Chocolate Easter Nests

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This recipe is incredibly quick & easy (only 5 steps & 4 ingredients) so it’s perfect for making with the kids. The nests look adorable and, most importantly, taste even better –  I’ve never met someone who hasn’t loved them!

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Ingredients
1x 100g packet Chang’s Original Fried Noodles (or equivalent)
2 tbspns crunchy peanut butter
200g dark chocolate melts
1 bag of Cadbury “Mini Eggs” (or equivalent)

Method
Microwave peanut butter and chocolate until melted.

Mix until it is a smooth paste.

Add the noodles and coat them well.

Spoon the mixture onto grease-proof paper and shape into small nests.

Top with three mini eggs and then place in the refrigerator until set.

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Adapted from Chang’s Original Fried Noodles ‘Chocolate Spiders’ recipe.