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I’ve been a Hotel Chocolat fan since the early 2000’s and it is where I go when I’m looking for something that little bit special, gifts, or just to treat myself – all of our family Christmas chocolate boxes and Easter eggs (because of their ultra-thick, super delicious shells – I’m having Your Eggcellency this year with a half milk, half dark shell, stuffed with boozy egg shaped truffles – sorry I can’t link to it, it is sold out already!) I’m also of the opinion that their pink champagne truffles are the best chocolate ever made.
Anyway, I digress. One of my favourite of their Easter products is their City Bunnies, solid little bites of their delicious milk, white and super unique (and addictive) caramel chocolate – perfect for snacking, gifting, and decorating. As the chocolate element in this simple snacking cake only comes from the chocolate, you want to be using good chocolate! You can order your City Bunnies to decorate this bake (or, you know, just to sit and eat in the garden or to serve with coffee at your socially distanced in the garden Easter lunch!) here.
Otherwise, I’ve kept things pretty simple here. Again, because it is a special occasion I’ve upgraded my usual vanilla sponge with the seeds of a vanilla pod for that extra hit of vanilla to compliment the chocolate (keep the pod once you’ve scraped out the seeds and store it in a jar covered with vodka or gin to infuse homemade vanilla extract so you’re not wasting it!) and fresh strawberries in the simple buttercream to add a bit of freshness and zing. Cakes, of course, are sweet, but the blitzed strawberries along with a hit of lemon juice really help balance everything out making a treat that is perfect for kids (of all ages!)
Oh, and before we get onto the recipe, I want to share another adorable treat they sent out to me when I mentioned I’d never tried any of their mint flavoured chocolates (though I can highly recommend their Super Thin Mint Truffles for dinner parties) before: a Lamb & Mint Sandwich! I remember trying their ‘egg sandwiches’ when they first launched at a coffee date with Hotel Chocolat years ago – they’re such a sweet and fun alternative gift idea, with crunchy chocolate ‘bread’ and sweet treats in the middle. They’re going fast, but you can check out the egg sandwich selection here, and shop the rest of their Easter collection here – be sure to order before 6pm tomorrow (March 31st) to ensure you get your treats in time!
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (355 fahrenheit) and grease and line a 20x20cm cake tin (or whatever you’ve got that is the closest) with a square of baking parchment.
Beat together the margarine and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, followed by both types of vanilla, then the baking powder, then the flour. Add the boiling water, a spoonful at a time until your cake batter reaches ‘dropping consistency’ – essentially, a good dollop of it lifted up with your wooden spoon drops satisfyingly back down into the bowl.
Scrape the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth down the top. Knock the tin on the worktop a few times to knock out any unseemly air bubbles before baking in the oven for 20 minutes until the top is springy and a cake tester or sharp knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Once the tin is just about cool enough to touch, turn the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.
To make the frosting, beat together the butter and half the icing sugar until smooth. Remove the green tops from the strawberries before blitzing them in a blender or mini food processor until smooth along with the lemon juice. Gradually add the strawberry mix, bit by bit along with the icing sugar to the prepared frosting until everything is smooth and combined. If you feel like the mixture is splitting, add a little more icing sugar.
Using a palette knife, smooth the icing in swirls over the top of the cake before decorating the cake with Hotel Chocolat City Bunnies so that each of the 12 small square snacking slices this cake yields comes with its own bunny. Scatter the cake with pink sprinkles, if using.
This cake will keep, covered, for up to 4 days, if it lasts that long!
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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