What kid doesn’t love Easter? With the promise of dozens of little chocolate eggs left scattered around the house, Easter is like a pastel version of Halloween. You’re pretty much guaranteed to get a whack load of chocolate, but you don’t even need to go knocking on doors to get it!
When I was a kid one of my favourite things to do around the Easter holidays (in addition to eating chocolate), was dying Easter eggs. There was nothing funner than mixing up mugs of coloured water and dunking plain boring white eggs into the dye, only to watch them emerge moments later looking fun and colourful. Within a half hour period we would have a dozen or more hardboiled eggs lined up on the table in a rainbow of colours. What fun! I’m sure what wasn’t fun was the fact that my parents were stuck with a basket full of hard boiled eggs to eat (I didn’t like hard boiled back then!)
So when my first Easter in the UK rolled around a few years ago, I decided to try and re-create the fun I had as a kid and dye some Easter eggs. To my surprise I could not find white eggs anywhere! I mean no where. I called around to all my local grocery stores, free range egg farms, specialty farm shops, and even Selfridges in London and no one sold white eggs. Except for duck eggs, and I didn’t want a dozen hardboiled duck eggs hanging around. Even if they were in pretty colours. After an exhaustive search across the greater London area I discovered that white eggs are pretty much an extinct species in the UK. It all comes down to a hyped up urban legend way back in the 1970’s that brown eggs were healthier than white eggs. Lies I tell you! All lies!! White eggs eventually fell out of favour here, which means that the chickens that lay white eggs are no longer kept in the UK – so no more white eggs! 🙁
I’ve since been told that Whole Foods in Kensington, and now Selfridges stock white eggs around Easter for Americans (and Canadians!) so they can dye them just like they do at home.
I haven’t had the time to actually get to Whole Food or Selfridges this year, but I still wanted to make some pretty coloured eggs for Easter so I came up with a solution. Last year I had the idea to bake cake inside eggs. Yes, that’s right. I baked cake inside of egg shells. I got the inspiration for my egg cakes from baking cake inside of oranges – something I used to do when I was a kid in girl guides. This year I went one step further, and instead of baking just a boring white cake inside of my eggs I decided to dye my batter pretty colours in order to fill my coloured Easter egg void.
I loved the way these turned out! Just by looking at them you’d never guess that they weren’t your regular run of the mill brown egg. Only up closer inspection will you find the hole in the bottom of the egg where I poured the cake batter. Try and crack them, and you’ll be in for an even bigger surprise!
These eggs are really fun and easy to make, but they are a bit time consuming to empty out before you can fill them with cake batter. I decided to try out a white cake recipe from a new cupcake book that I had just bought. While I did really like the flavour and texture of the cupcake (I made a dozen egg cakes and used the rest of the batter for cupcakes), the batter itself was a bit thicker than I had imagined which meant that it was a bit tricky to actually get into the egg – but I came up with a solution for that (I’ll explain below).
What I think the best part of these cake eggs is (aside from the fact that they’re cake filled eggs) is that they’re basically a mini cake in it’s own container! How cute would these be to include in your kids lunch box! They’d probably think you’d gone mental packing a hard boiled egg inside their lunch and not a cookie or something like that. Come to think of it, I should have got this post up for April Fools Day! (Lack of sleep and a 2 week holiday have resulted in a bit of a blog delay). Oh well, ho hum. Make them now and surprise your friends and family with them this week instead.
To make these cake eggs you’ll need a few things – eggs (duh!), something sharp to poke a hole in the shell (I started off using the tip of a meat thermometer, but found a corkscrew worked better), food dye, and cake batter either from scratch or a mix. You decide.
Easter Egg Surprise Cakes
Classic White Cupcakes
Adapted from the Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes
2 3/4 Cups (345g) Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 Cup (170g) Butter
1 2/3 Cups (375g) Sugar
5 Egg Whites
2 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (I used Coconut Extract)
1 1/4 Cups (295ml) Whole Milk
12 Eggs (or more if you’d like), emptied
Food colourings of your choice
1. First you’ll need to empty out your eggs. Start by holding a raw egg firmly in your hand with the bottom (the wider end) facing up. Using a corkscrew or something else sharp and pointy, carefully but firmly start to make a hole in your egg by twisting / “drilling” into the shell. Once you create a small hole, you can gently pry little pieces of the shell up and off of the egg until you’ve got a hole wide enough to get your batter into.
Next you’ll have to actually empty the egg. Do this by holding the egg upside down over a bowl** and give it a few god shakes. The egg white inside will start to drool out of the hole. You can basically pull the liquid egg out from the shell by poking a toothpick through the liquid white dangling out of the egg and pull down. Do this a few more times, give the egg another shake or two and it should be totally emptied out. Set your egg aside and continue to empty all of your eggs in the same way.
Once all of your eggs have been emptied, give them a rinse by holding them under the tap and filling them with water. Cover the hole with the tip of your finger, give them a few shakes and dump the water out. Turn your eggs upside down and set them aside in a large bowl, or on top of a tea towel so all of the water runs out.
**Tip: To avoid wasting the eggs, use a few small bowls and empty 2 – 3 eggs into each bowl. This makes them easier to use in recipes later on. Have a think about what you’ll be making in the next day or so, and portion out your eggs accordingly.
2. Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC). In order to prepare your cupcake pan to hold the eggs, you’ll need to twist strips of tin foil into circles and place them in the bottom of each section of the pan. This will ensure that your eggs stay in place and don’t lean on the side of the pan. Line another cupcake pan with regular cupcake liners. Set both pans aside.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter for 30 seconds using an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar 1/3 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat for 4 minutes longer. Add the whites, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture and milk alternating between the two. Beat until just combined.
4. Decide on how many colours of cake you would like to make, and set out a small bowl for each colour. Assuming you are making 4 colours, pour about a 1/3 cup of batter into each bowl and add a few drops of food colouring to each until you achieve your desired colour. Pour each bowl of coloured batter into a piping bag (or ziplock bag with the corner cut off). Fill your hollow eggs by inserting the tip of the piping bag into the hole and squeezing the batter into the egg so it fills the egg 1/2 – 2/3 full. Place the filled eggs into your prepared cupcake pan, hole side up. Use the rest of the batter to make regular cupcakes (unless you want to make more egg cakes!)
5. Bake the egg cakes for about 10 minutes, or until they’re done – you can insert a toothpick into them if your not sure. Bake your regular cupcakes for 18 – 20 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before moving to wire racks.
**Don’t panic if the batter overflows from your egg cakes and bakes onto the outside of the shell. You can easily peel the baked cake off the outside of the egg shell, and use a damp cloth to wipe off any remaining cake and crumbs. Some of mine looked more like egg volcano science experiments before I wiped them clean.
That’s it really! These are a bit time consuming because you have to hollow out the shells, but they’re pretty cool once they’re baked. Hand them out to your unsuspecting family and friends, and watch their amazement as they crack open and peel these little cakes!
I took my egg cakes one step further and used a straw to hollow out the centre of a few of them so I could fill them with a lemon curd yolk! You could do the same with icing if you wanted, but I thought a lemony yolk was a nice surprise.