When Sally Williams approached me to incorporate their roasted nougat chocolate eggs into a recipe, I thought of making something special for Greek Easter . An image I had seen in ‘Sweet’ by Yotam Ottolhengi kept coming to me. In this beautiful cookbook Yotam had designed a vertically striped lemon and blackcurrant showstopper that was visually breathtaking! Inspired by that gorgeous creation, I thought of making a vanilla scented sponge, iced with a dark chocolate nougat buttercream, decorated with roasted nougat milk chocolate eggs and topped with a dark chocolate nougat ganache and fresh roses. A perfectly indulgent Easter treat that would reveal its dazzling surprise when cut into. The below recipe has been adapted slightly from Ottolhengi’s original.
For the sponge
- 8 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 85g plus 50g caster sugar
- 80g all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- 1/4 cup golden syrup
- 80g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 300g unsalted butter, cut into 3cm cubes, softened
- 4 x 34g Sally Williams Dark Chocolate treats with Roasted Nougat , finely chopped
- 1 x 110g Sally Williams Decadent Dark Chocolate Egg with Roasted Nougat Cream
- 1/3 cup cream
16-18 Sally Williams Milk Chocolate Treats with Roasted Nougat to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180°c and line a shallow 30cm x 40cm rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside
1. Place the egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place ( I’ve used my Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer) Add the 85g caster sugar and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until pale and thick. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and sift the flour and salt directly over the egg mixture in two batches, folding through the mixture with a rubber spatula after each addition. Set aside
2. Place the egg whites into the same bowl of an electric mixer (thoroughly cleaned and dried) with the whisk attachment in place. Whisk on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, then slowly pour in the 50g caster sugar. Continue to whisk until firm peaks form, then gently fold a third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until incorporated. Finally, fold in the remaining egg whites until combined, and then scrape the mixture into the lined baking sheet. Even the surface out with a small spatula and bake for 15 minutes, or until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
3. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before dusting the top lightly with icing sugar. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of the sponge cake and then flip it over so that it is now lying on top of the kitchen towel. Carefully peel away the paper and trim the very edges of the sponge. Be careful not to cut away too much, you really just want to straighten out the edges. Starting at the shorter edge of the cake, carefully roll it up (along with the kitchen towel). This is to “train” the cake, ready for rolling up again later. After about 20 minutes, or when no longer warm, unroll the cake. With the short end facing you, measure and cut three equal strips parallel to the long edge, each about 8-9 cm. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside.
For the buttercream:
1. Place the golden, caster sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until all the sugar dissolves; this is your sugar syrup.
2. While the syrup is cooking, place the egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Beat on medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow in colour. Leave the machine on while you check the sugar syrup; when all the sugar has melted, stir again, increase the heat to medium and simmer until bubbles begin to appear. Remove from the heat.
3. Working quickly, carefully pour the hot syrup in a thin, slow, steady stream into the beating yolks ( this part might be easier if you remove the bowl from the mixer and use a handheld mixer instead) When all the syrup has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and continue to beat the mixture for about 10 minutes, until the outside of the bowl is no longer warm. Gradually add the butter, one cube at a time, allowing it to be incorporated into the mixture before adding the next. When all the butter has been added, scrape down the bowl and continue to beat for another minute, until the buttercream is very smooth and light.
4. Remove just over 1/3 of the buttercream into a separate bowl and add the chopped Sally Williams treats. Fold in until well incorporated. This buttercream will be used to sandwich the strips together. The plain buttercream will be used for the top & sides.
For the Ganache:
1.Break the chocolate into small pieces in a microwaveable bowl and pour over the cream. Microwave for 20 second bursts, stirring after every burst until the chocolate has melted completely. Set aside and allow to cool slightly, it will thicken as it does.
1.Spread each of the strips with equal amounts of the chocolate nougat buttercream and, starting with the short end, roll it up. Once this strip is rolled, position the exposed end at the beginning of the next strip and keep rolling. Again, once this is rolled — the cylinder will be getting wider now — position the exposed end at the beginning of the last strip and continue to roll. You now have a rolled cylindrical cake! Turn the cylinder onto the serving plate so that it is standing on one of its flat ends.
2. Spread the plain buttercream all over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing with a spatula to create an even surface. Use the remaining buttercream to ‘stick’ the Milk chocolate treats along bottom the circumference of the cake. Carefully spread the dark chocolate ganache over the top of the cake, gently coaxing some over the edges so that it dribbles down pleasingly. Gently wash a few blooms and cut their stems at a short, sharp angle and insert into the cake. Set aside for 1 hour at room temperature (or in the fridge if it is a very warm day) before serving.