I can't believe it's almost Easter! I've always wanted to make an Easter basket cake, and this year I finally got around to making one. Not only was this my first time using a basket weave technique, it also was my first time making a cake without butter!! I wanted to try a butter alternative, to ensure that my frosting was as white as possible. I used unsalted Country Crock Sticks, and was pretty amazed by how interchangeable they were with butter!! I used my go to vanilla layer cake recipe and American buttercream recipe, but swapped out butter for baking sticks (1:1 ratio). The recipes used can be found below.
3 1/4 cup (416 grams) all-purpose flour
3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp (13 grams) baking powder
1 tsp (5 grams) salt
2 sticks unsalted Country Crock Sticks
1 Tbsp (13 grams) coconut extract
1 cup egg whites (244 grams) – about 7 large egg whites; I use egg whites from the carton to avoid wasting egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (360 grams) buttermilk, room temperature
1/8 cup (28 grams) vegetable oil
6 sticks unsalted Country Crock Sticks
12 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp coconut extract
pink, purple, and yellow gel food coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 7” and two 8″ round pans.
Begin by making the coconut cake layers. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
Mix chunks of the unsalted Country Crock Baking sticks slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in coconut extract and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Using a spatula, carefully fold in sprinkles.
Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-37 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling, or in the freezer to accelerate the process. Once chilled, level the layers using a serrated knife.
While the layers bake and cool, make coconut frosting. Beat the unsalted Country Crock Sticks on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the coconut extract and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Place 1 cup of frosting into a bowl and color a pastel shade of yellow using a few drops of gel food coloring. Set aside, and repeat with pink and purple gel food coloring.
Stack and frost layers on a cardboard cake round. Frost an even layer of colorful between each cake layer, using the yellow, pink, and purple frosting. Once the layers are stacked, trim in a tapered shape, to resemble a basket.
Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, place remaining white frosting into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 47 tip.
Carefully pipe a basket weave pattern onto the cake. Begin by making the vertical lines, then carefully pipe the horizontal stitches.
Chill again for 5 minutes, then carefully invert the cake using an an addition cardboard cake round.
Use a spoon to remove about 1 cm from the center of the top of the cake, to make it easier to fill with easter treats.
Frost the exposed area, and pipe a boarder around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Fill the inside of the basket with you favorite Easter goodies. I added peeps, candy eggs, a chocolate bunny, and some buttercream flowers.
Use a bit of wire to shape the handle of the basket, and wrap with fondant. Leave at least 1 inch of uncovered wire, to allow you to securing anchor the handle into the top of the cake.
Then it's time to cut in and celebrate Easter in style :)