Sorry this took so long, but I’ve had a busy couple of weeks…
Thankfully, Easter went marvelously well with lots of good food and delicious sweets!
This second installment to “An Ode to Easter” is about a gorgeous cake that I first made for a friend’s birthday a few years ago. It is a Peeps Sunflower Cake, and surprisingly can be made year-round since Peeps freeze very well and can be defrosted in the refrigerator. So run out now and buy a ton of Peeps while they are on sale and have this cake whenever you feel like you need a little sunflowery goodness in your life.
This time, I made the cake with a butter cake recipe that I found on Recipezaar.com that I cut in half to make a single-layer cake, but I have made a two-layer cake in the past with a chocolate cake mix and it was just as good (if not better due to being easier).
Here’s what you need:
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbls. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 can chocolate frosting (two if you are making a two-layer cake)
Large chocolate chips
mini chocolate chips
Here’s what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour one (or two) 9 inch cake pan.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add remaining milk; mix until combined. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry ingredient mixture until well combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. If using a cake mix, simply follow the recipe on the box.
Once the cake is baked and cooled to room temperature (it can even be refrigerated over night), you are ready to decorate. Line the edges of a serving tray or cake carrier with wax paper, making sure to leave space in the center, and place the cake on top. This step will help you with clean-up. Begin frosting your cake. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate frosting, smoothing it out as you go. I use an off-set spatula and spin the cake plate as I go so I can see what I’m doing. I think it is easier to cover the top first and then do the sides.
Now it is time for the Peeps! Take one row of Peeps (mine came in rows of five) and bend them slightly to make a curve. You can even cut between the Peeps, just a little bit, with a knife or kitchen scissors to make them curve more. (I did not cut them on this cake, so my sunflower looks a little square.) Place your curved Peeps along the edge of the cake, so just their tails hang off the side. Repeat this with the remaining rows of Peeps. You will have to cut off a Peep or two on the last row to make them fit.
Next come the “seeds” of the sunflower. Place the big chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli chips) in the center of the cake standing up to look like individual seeds. Lastly sprinkle a couple of handfuls of mini chocolate chips over the center to fill in the spaces between the bigger chocolate chips.
Lastly remove the waxed paper from around the cake and, if desired, pipe a ribbon of chocolate frosting around the gap that is left between the cake and the plate and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.