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Easter bake show stopper – let’s get fancy!

Along with a good Victoria sponge this chocolate sponge is one of my favourite bakes and as of yet I've not met one single person who doesn't love it – I’ve gone extra on the icing but this delicious chocolate sponge can be eaten as is or topped with a simple vanilla buttercream!

Using multiple colours on icing is a really effective wow factor, along with being a 3 layer cake this makes a real Easter showstopper – a perfect colourful intro into our bright spring and summer cooking

The fact this sponge doesn't have actual melted choc in it means that, whilst being easier to make, a good quality cocoa is key here to make sure get that rich fudgy chocolate taste and colour.

Oven at 175*c and 3 8inch cake tins greased and lined

Recipe - makes a 3 layered 9'inch cake

510g soft light brown sugar or caster sugar

510g baking spread

7 tablespoons cocoa powder

9 medium eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste

540g self raising flour

2 teaspoon baking power

3 tablespoon milk

For the butter cream

450g stork baking spread or unsalted butter

900g icing sugar

2 - 3 tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

Pink food colouring

Blue or purple food colouring

Mini eggs

1 – Cream together the baking spread, sugar and vanilla extract till they go light and fluffy

2 - In a cup mix the cocoa powder and some boiling water into a lose paste and mix into the butter and sugar mixture - you may need a touch more cocoa or a touch more water, you’re looking for a toothpaste type texture.

3 - Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each egg, followed by the milk.

4 – Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix till it all comes together, pour into your lined tins

5 – Bake for about 25 minutes or till its cooked through and a skewer comes out clean

6 - Once out the oven transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing

7 – In a large bowl and using an electric hand or stand mixer beat the baking spread on its own for a few minutes until its smooth and slightly light in colour

8 – Add in the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk then sift in the icing sugar a bit at a time, beating fully each time – once you’ve added all the icing sugar if its too stiff then add in the other tablespoon of milk, then add a splash at a time till you have a spreadable but firm mixture

9 - Split the buttercream between three bowls – half in one bowl and put aside , then the remaining half split between the final 2. In one put a drop of blue food colouring and another put a drop of pink – mix in well

10 - Use 2/3 of the uncoloured buttercream to Spread over the top of each cake layering up as you go, then finally apply a very thin layer of buttercream around the outside and top of the cake and smooth with a cake scrapper or spatula – this is called the crumb coat and helps achieve a very smooth final finish – put the cake in the fridge to set for an hour– or into the freezer for half an hour!

11 – Once set pipe or apply the blue icing to the bottom level of the cake, followed by the pink just above and the uncoloured above that and along the top, using a cake scraper, smooth the edges to create a flat surface.

12 – Pipe any leftover buttercream on top in alternate colours and pop on mini eggs – and there you have it – an Easter showstopper

Note - If you’re not confident piping in this way then simply make the buttercream uncoloured and fill and cover the cake – it’ll still taste utterly delicious and look amazing topped with mini eggs

Tip – If your cake isn’t holding steady as you ice use a few metal skewers jabbed into the top to hold it steady as you go.

This cake also works well as a plain vanilla sponge inside too - just leave out the cocoa and pop a lovely berry jam between the layers!

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