Easter Roll Cakes and Blue Birds on a Nest

I thought this would be something kind fun to do for my Mama and Daddy and my son and his fiance for Easter this year.  I wanted to do one of those Roll Cakes with my own personal touches for them.  So, let’s get started.

First I made my design template.  I wanted to have enough color but a simple enough design since I was going to have to pipe everything in.  Using PowerPoint, I just took some ovals and added colored dots and filled the rest in.  You can do this freehand without a template or take any image, like the napkin you will use for a party or holiday.  I wanted to tie this in with everything else so I just did this simple design.  And I added the names.  I took the whole thing and save it as a picture then flipped it the opposite direction.  If you have words you’ll need to put this in backwards so it’ll be correct when flip out of the pan.  I printed this on a regular 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.  You’ll need to cut off about 3/4 of an inch off each side to fit in the 10 x 15 pan.

Since this was the first time I was going to use this recipe I did a practice one the week before.  I made this template since I love my hubby, A.J.  And I was able to take my time taking pictures.  Plus it had less colors so I was able to get it done faster.

After my template was finished and printed I got out my 10 x 15 x 1 pan and taped my template to one end.  This will be the design you will see after you roll up the cake.  Over that I placed a sheet of parchment paper and added another little piece of tape to the top to keep my template from moving.  I set that aside and started on my batters.

Below is the full directions and list of ingredients.  I made my “design” batter first.  I separated it into 3 bowls (Black, red and blue).  You may need to make a second batch of batter if you are doing a lot of designs and colors but it’s quick and easy to do.  I actually made 2 batches when I did the Easter designs but I think I would have had enough for both cakes with just one batch.  I added food color to each bowl for the one I was doing for my hubby till I got the shades I need.

Each color went into piping bags with a small round tip.  You can also use some ziplock bags and just cut out a tip from one corner.  A good trick to do is to put your piping tip in one pastry bag then each color into their own pastry bag.  When you are ready to pipe in your color, just cut the tip off the bag and drop into the bag with the tip.  After you finished that color just pull out the bag and drop in another bag. Squeeze to get the first color to pass through and your new color to start.  It’s less messy, you can change colors fast and keep using the same tip.  You can even put 2 or 3 bags in at the same time and get a swirl effect.  I use binder clips to keep my batter from oozing out the top but a rubber band works great, too!

I started by making all the letters first then the hearts and the dots.  When you are doing colors on top of each other or close to each other, like I did with the Easter template, do one section first (like all the dots) then pop the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Now, when you add your other colors on top they keep their shape and not bleed or smear. So, I made all my designs and popped the tray into the freezer while I prepared my cake batter.  Make sure to give it a good 10-20 minutes in the freezer so it will hold up when the cake batter is poured on top.  You can see I had to make mini hearts on the edges.  Even though I allowed for the sides to be cut to fit my 10 inch width, I still didn’t allow enough.

I made my cake batter for the top part per the instructions below and pre-heated my oven for 375 degrees.  I took my pan out of the freezer and carefully slipped out the template from under my parchment paper and the tape from the parchment paper.  Then  carefully poured the cake batter into the pan smoothing it out evenly to cover.  I tapped the pan a little on the counter to remove bubbles and make sure everything was distributed evenly. That went into the oven for 7 minutes.  Now, this is why I like to make a test before I do the actual one.  I really needed to have my oven hotter in the pre-heat.  I put this in right when the buzzer went off.  And the instructions say ONLY 7 minutes.  I could tell when I pull this out I could have used an extra minute.  Because my cake wasn’t baked right I ended up with a tear when I rolled it.  And I needed to cut my strawberries a little smaller to keep from pushing through when I was rolling.  I made sure my oven was pre-heated for a longer time for my Easter ones and they baked just perfect.

Now, take the cake out of the oven.  Take a knife and cut around the edges of the cake to help loosen it from the pan to make flipping it out a little easier.  My pan was really great so I just needed to push the edges from the sides a little.  Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the cake then another flat pan (bottom side) or cookie sheet on top of the parchment paper.  Make sure to use oven mitts because the pan will be hot. Now flip the pans over.  This will take the cake out of the baking pan.  You’ll need to flip it over again so the cake will be back on the bottom…so, put another cookie sheet or bottom of a flat pan on top again and flip back over.  Slide this onto your counter top.

At this point you should have your roll cake between 2 sheets of parchment paper, design side down sitting on your counter.  Time to roll.  Leaving the cake between the sheets of parchment paper, start at the bottom and begin to roll towards the design.  It doesn’t have to be too tight, just roll into a log and set to the side to cool.  This helps set the shape.

This is a good time for a glass of wine.  OK, maybe it’s just a good time to work on the filling but you do want to give the cake enough time to completely cool.  You can use most anything for the filling.  Canned frosting, whip cream and fresh fruit…whatever.  But, to keep with a traditional cake roll I like doing a cream cheese filling.  The recipe is below. And, if you want to make it fun, add some food color to the filling.  You can use several different colors with your filling.  Just pipe the colors in horizontal stripes so when the cake it cut you’ll see each one…just sayin’

After your cake has cooled carefully begin to unroll.  Don’t flatten it but unroll enough to be able to get your filling in.  Remember that the filling will squeeze forward and outward as you re-roll. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and add your filling and fruit.  NOTE**  Cut the strawberries smaller so they don’t push out and poke through when you start rolling!  I did that with the Easter cakes and added a lot more strawberries and it was so much better!

Starting at the bottom again, begin to re-roll the cake removing it from the bottom parchment paper.  By the time you have come to the end you should be seeing your design.  Place your cake roll onto a plate, seam side down, design side up.

And here are the ones I did for Easter.  Wrap them in clear wrap and stick in the fridge.    This will keep the cake fresh and help set the filling. And it’s done!!  Remove clear wrap when you are ready to eat!

I wanted to add something cute to my baskets with the Roll Cake so I thought I would make some little baby blue birds sitting on a nest.  You can make the birds out of anything that would hold a shape of a ball…cake pop, truffle, fudge, etc.  I put my recipe below.

Start by getting your shredded coconut colored.  I took some coconut and placed it in a ziplock bag. I added some royal blue food color and kneaded the bag around to make sure all the coconut was covered in blue.  I poured out the colored coconut and spread it onto some wax paper to dry a little so my fingers wouldn’t turn blue from the wet coconut.  I usually make this a day ahead if I have the time to make sure it good and dry.

I made my candies and shaped them into balls and put into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.  I made some balls about a good inch round and a few a little bigger than that.  I’ll use those bigger ones later to make some little bunnies.

This is a good time to start the little bird nests.  These can be made several ways.  You can use more shredded coconut or Chinese noodles or stick pretzels, even Frosted Flakes…whatever you like for the flavor.  If you are using stick pretzels be sure to break them in half or thirds before mixing with your chocolate so they won’t be so long and easier to make the shape of a nest.  I went with the Chinese Noodles since I like that flavor and the look.

The color of the “nest” is up to you, too.  You can make them dark with milk chocolate melts or add some yellow and white chocolate melts to the milk chocolate to lightened it up.  You can just use white or yellow.  Again, it’s what you want to do!  I wanted my nests to be a light brown color.  I put a bag of milk chocolate melts in a bowl and microwaved for 1 minute, stirred a little and microwaved for another 30 seconds.  I added about 20 white melts and about 30 yellow melts to my melted chocolate and stirred till well blended.  Add another 15-30 seconds more in the microwave if you need to get all the chocolates melted.  If you want this really light start with white and yellow melts and add the milk chocolate.  Save a little of this chocolate (about 2 or 3 tablespoons) in a ziplock bag to use for later to glue the eggs and birds onto the nest.  When you get what color chocolate you want, add your coconut or noodles or pretzels and fold till they are completely coated.  You want to add enough coconut/noodles/pretzels to get completely coated.  Start by adding a good handful, stir to coat then add more a little at a time as needed.  I took some of the chocolate out before I added the noodle and mixed with some pecans.  My hubby loves that so I needed to make a treat for him since I’m always in the kitchen!

Since chocolate hardens fast you’ll need to make sure to have some wax paper handy and begin to scoop your mixture onto the paper.  I wanted mine to be big enough to put one of my baby birds onto the edge of my nest with 3 Robin’s Eggs in the nest (those are the ones that haven’t hatched yet).  So, depending on the size of your little birds, if you are going to be using the mini Robin’s Eggs or the regular sized eggs is what size your nest needs to be.  I used the mini eggs for these.  The nest were about 3 – 4 inches in diameter. Make sure to push down in the middle of your chocolate mixture after each scoop to make a place for the eggs.  If you want to have a bowl-shaped nest, put your chocolate mixture into the cups of a muffin pan (lightly sprayed with cooking spray) then press in the middle to form the nest.  That makes it a little easier but you end up with the flat indention of the cups and not the smooth, round branches like a real nest.  Let those set and harden.

Now, back to the baby birds.  I have my candy balls that have been in the fridge and my coconut air dried to keep from being to wet and messy.  You’ll need to have everything ready for this part.  You are going to need to dip the candy into melted chocolate then cover with coconut.  When the cold candy balls come out from being dipped into the chocolate, the chocolate hardens fast.  The chocolate will need to be wet to get the coconut to stick.  So, have everything ready to go.  I have my wax paper with my blue coconut on it with a place to add the dipped candies.

Since I was using blue for my birds I got some royal blue candy melts.  If you can’t find the blue, add some blue food color to some white.  And, if you want to use yellow chocolate and yellow dyed coconut, you can make little chickies instead of baby blue birds.  Now, melt the chocolate the same way in the microwave (1 minute, stir, 30 seconds, stir).   Take a ball and drop into the chocolate covering it completely with chocolate, scoop out with a fork, tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate, place on your wax paper and cover with coconut.  You can re-dip the balls if you didn’t move fast enough and the chocolate set.  And you can let the balls warm up a little, too, so they won’t be so cold and the chocolate doesn’t harden so fast.  After you have all the balls covered in coconut, shake off any loose coconut and put on another sheet of wax paper.  I took a paring knife and shaved off some of the chocolate from the bottom where it spread to make them a little rounder.

Now the body of the birds are done, let’s give them a little face.   If you can find the tiny royal icing eyes, those work great.  They aren’t always around so you may have to make your own, which I had to do.  I just use chocolate so I didn’t have to make a batch of royal icing.  Take some white chocolate melts and put them into a ziplock bag.   Microwave for 1 minute and knead and microwave another 30 seconds then knead the bag well to make sure there are no solid pieces.  Do the same with some black chocolate melts but you’ll just need about 15 pieces to make the dots of the eyes.  I needed more white since I was doing the bunny stuff.   Cut a small tip off one corner of each bag, make a few dots of white chocolate on some wax paper then immediately follow with the black dots on top.  I shake my wax paper a little to help blend the black with the white and get rid of the pointy tips.  Keep repeating this till you have plenty of eyes.  Do the same thing for the beak. Take some yellow chocolate  and melt the same way in a ziplock bag.  Cut off a small tip and pipe a little triangle to make a beak shape.

To make the feet you can use the same chocolate as the beak.  I added a little  orange to change the color a little.  If you are going to have your little birds standing on their own, squeeze a large dot then 3 lines out from that to make the little birdy toes.  I used melted white chocolate to glue on my eyes and some of the yellow to glue on the beaks. And the orange to glue the body into the feet.  With some of my birds, though, I have them perched on the side of the nest.  I placed my birds on the nest and my mini Robins Eggs to find where they would fit the best.  Then I took my melted chocolate and made little “toes” over the noodles.

Then I added more chocolate to glued the bird to the nest.  You don’t even have to add the toes to the nest, just glue on the bird.  This is where you decide what you want to do.  Now I had my birdies sitting on the nest and some outside the nest!

And, since I’m going to have to transport this, I took the chocolate I saved from making the nest and microwaved about 15-30 to remelt.  I put a little of that chocolate to the bottom of my nest and added my Robin’s Eggs to keep them from bouncing out.

With the balls I made a little bigger I wanted to make some little bunnies.  I did the same thing as the birds but with white chocolate and not coloring my coconut.  I took 2 sizes of the balls and dipped them in white chocolate, covered with coconut and set on some wax paper to set.  Then shook off any loose coconut and shaved off the excess chocolate from the bottom edges.

For the ears I took some melted white chocolate and pink chocolate (a few tiny pieces of a red melt in some white chocolate) and made my bunny ear shapes.  I put the white chocolate down first then added a streak of pink and let those set.   And, I made some bunny feet….a large long dot with 3 dots for the toes.  And I needed some more eyes!

To make the tail I thought about dipping a mini marshmallow in white chocolate and rolling in coconut but I thought it would get lost in all the other coconut in the body.  So, I just squeezed some chocolate in a pile and set to the side to harden.  I think it shows up better.

So, taking more melted white chocolate (I reheated my chocolate for about 15-30 seconds) I glued the smaller ball on top of the larger one.   Then taking more chocolate and glued on the eyes, ears and feet, letting each set before starting the next.   I put just a dot of pink chocolate for a nose and my bunnies were done!

I needed to put these all together.  I found these great plastic baskets at Target.  I needed something tall enough so the bunnies didn’t get their ears broken off when these were all wrapped up.  Plus it was just enough room to put all my goodies in there.  I did a 11 x 17 printout of some Easter eggs in the grass and trimmed it to fit at the bottom of the baskets. I put some wax paper over that so I can “glue” everything down with melted chocolate.  I have some ribbon and a medium size clear wrap bag to put it all together.

One other fun thing to go with all this is to make some Bunny Bait (aka chocolate popcorn).  This is pretty simple to make.  Take a bag of popcorn and pop it.  I use the light kind so there’s not a lot of butter on it.  Pour it onto some parchment paper and remove any un-popped kernels.  Then melt a bag of white chocolate melts.  I microwave these in a ziplock bag for 1 minute, kneaded the bag and microwave another 30 seconds.  I kneaded the bag more to make sure there are no solid pieces.  Add another 15 seconds and knead if needed.  Have your popcorn spread out flat on the parchment paper.  If you are going to add candies (I used Easter M&Ms, pastel candy corn and pastel sprinkles I had left over from the candy balls) make sure to have them out and ready to grab.  You’ll need to work kinda fast since the chocolate will begin to set.  Cut one end of the bag of melted chocolate large enough so the chocolate will come out a little thick.  Then start pouring the chocolate back and forth over the popcorn.  Grab your candies and sprinkle those over the chocolate covered popcorn.  I took a spatula and flipped everything up and over, tossing together to make sure everything got coated.  I let that set for a few minutes and started flipping again.  And waited a few more minutes and flipped again.  Once everything was coated and set I put some of the mix in large clear bags and tied with a ribbon and a tag I made to match the Cake Rolls and my Easter card.  This stuff tastes yummy!!!

Now I just have to put everything together.  I added my cake rolls.  I kept them wrapped in the clear wrap to keep them fresh.  Then I took some melted white chocolate I reheated and added large dots to my wax paper and glued my nests, little birdies and bunnies in place.  And put in my Bunny Bait.

I slipped my baskets into some medium sized clear bags.  I put these in sideways so you can see what in there better.  I had some X-Large clear bags I was going to use to tie the ribbon on the top but like doing this to the side instead.  And tied everything up with some ribbon.

Needless to say they were thrilled.  There’s so much you can do with the designs with the cake rolls.  You can dye the cake batter, too.  I kept these regular color but my mind was going crazy thinking of orange and black for Halloween and a green Christmas tree with ornaments.  Or make a repeated design so when you cut it each would have them same thing.  It would make a great presentation at a shower to have each plate with a nice slice with a baby bottle design or something.  And add pink or blue food color to the filling.

But, for right now it was fun doing these!  Happy Easter!!

 

ROLL CAKE WITH DESIGN

For Designs (**Note* if doing writing, do design backwards so when it’s flipped it’ll read correctly)

  • 7 tablespoons butter soften
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup flour

With a hand or stand mixer, mix together butter and powdered sugar to combine.  Add 3 egg whites and mix well.  Gradually add flour and mix well.

Separate out into bowls and add food colors for your design.

Take your paper template and tape to one end of flat cake pan.  Cover pan with parchment paper.  Draw on designs with mixture.  If adding colors beside or on top of each other, make first color design, put in freezer for 10 minutes, then remove and add next design color to keep everything from bleeding together.  When your design is finished, put in freezer till ready to add cake mix.

For Cake

Get 2 bowls!

Bowl 1

  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cream of tartar

Whisk until soft peaks form.  Set to the side

Bowl 2

  • 4 eggs yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Egg white mixture from bowl 1
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (microwaved then let cool)
  • ¾ cup flour

Take egg yolks and sugar and mix till creamy.  Fold in egg white mixture till well blended.  Add melted butter and fold together.  Add half of the flour, fold together then add rest of flour and fold till well blended.  You want to “fold” this all together so your don’t break up the egg whites.

Take cake pan with designs out of freezer and slip out paper template from under parchment paper.

Add cake mixture and spread evenly.  Tap pan onto the counter a few times to remove bubbles.

Put in preheated 375 degree oven

Bake ONLY 7 mins – take out if turning golden brown.

Remove from oven and cut out along edges.  Place a sheet of parchment paper over cake.  Using the bottom side of another flat pan or cookie sheet (wear oven mitts since pan will be hot) flip cake over to remove from pan.   Then using another pan or cookie sheet, flip back over and onto the counter so the design is back on the bottom. With parchment paper on top and bottom of cake, roll starting at the bottom without the design.  Set aside to let cool.

Carefully unroll and remove top parchment paper, add filling, fresh fruit, etc. then re-roll cake starting at the bottom removing it from the bottom parchment paper.

Filling:

  • 4 oz Softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ¾ cup Heavy whipping cream
  • Fresh fruit (optional)

With a hand mixer whip cream cheese and sugar till well mixed.  In a separate bowl whip heavy whipping cream till thick and fluffy.  Carefully fold the cream cheese/sugar mixture to the whipped cream till well mixed.  Spread on cake, add fruit if desired.  Re-roll cake starting at the bottom.  Cover and put in fridge 2 hours to help set filling.

No-Bake Cake Balls (used for Baby Birds and Bunnies)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup yellow cake mix, dry
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp sprinkles
  • 16 oz white candy melts or vanilla chips
  1. Beat butter and sugar until combined.
  2. Add flour, cake mix, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined throughout.
  3. Add milk by the tablespoon until you reach a dough consistency.  I used 4 tablespoons.  The dough will be sort of crumbly, but you should still be able to form balls out of it.
  4. Mix in sprinkles and form balls out of the dough.
  5. Chill balls in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
  6. Melt candy melts according to package directions and using two forks, dip the balls in the melts.  Let harden before moving.

 

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