A rich and indulgent dark chocolate sponge, topped with smooth milk chocolate buttercream and decorated with crushed chocolate eggs. This Easter Traybake is a chocolate lovers paradise.
Sheet cakes are one of the most versatile, easy and adaptable cakes you can make at the moment. It all started with that famous school dinner cake. A vanilla sponge topped with icing and a truck load of sprinkles. Since then we’ve seen thousands of different flavours and toppings and this Easter version is something quite special.
WHAT MAKES THIS RECIPE GREAT?
Chocolate Indulgence | Its Easter so chocolate overload is a necessity right? Absolutely! But what makes this recipe particularly chocolatey is the rich ultra dark chocolate cocoa. It’s amazingly dark colour is down to it being 100% cocoa which in turn give it a super intense and deep chocolate flavour.
Great for sharing | Traybakes are cakes made for sharing. They’re also so much easier to serve that a regular layer cake which is what makes them really popular. From this recipe you will easily get 12 generous slices so you could easily cut smaller and get up to 24 little bites instead.
Fun to make with children | Unlike layer cakes which can involve lots of stages, and cupcakes with tricky piping, the traybake is a great bake to get the children involved in. It’s so easy that they could quite literally do the entire thing on their own, with your help getting it in and out of the oven. Decorating has to be their favourite part though and you can follow my recipe and use crushed chocolate eggs alone, or take it a step further and go all out with more treats.
HOW TO MAKE THIS EASTER TRAYBAKE
It really is a super simple a straight forward bake but different recipes will often call for different methods. Some like the all-in-one, others use butter and go for a creaming method. This recipe uses oil and calls for the wet into dry mixture method. Follow the steps below to learn more but make sure to read the full recipe and method below.
- Begin by preheating your oven to 180C, then add the flour, both sugars, the black cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into a large bowl.
2. Whisk the ingredients together until well combined.
4. In a separate bowl add the oil and both eggs and whisk them all together.
6. Pour in the milk and whisk it through until well combined.
7. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into it. Stir the two together well until you have a rich black and shiny batter.
8. Grease and line your rectangle baking tin with baking paper then pour the batter in pushing it into all the corners and smoothing it out.
9. Tap the baking tin on a hard surface to release any air bubbles then place in the centre of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
MY KITCHEN TIP: Avoid all temptation to open the oven door before 25 minutes as the sudden rush of cooler air can cause the uncooked sponge to sink in the middle. From 25 minutes you can open the oven to check. Firstly touch the sponge and if it feels springy then pull it out and test the centre with a skewer. If it comes out clean it’s baked, if it’s still a little sticky then leave it for the remaining 5 minutes.
9. Once baked leave it to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove and let it cool fully.
10. To make the buttercream, beat together the butter, icing sugar and lighter cocoa powder. Add a splash of milk to loosen the mixture and continue beating until it’s smooth and pliable.
11. Spoon a large amount onto the centre of your cooled sponge then using a palette knife begin pushing it out to the sides until it’s fully coated. Finish with your crushed chocolate eggs decorations.
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
Rectangle traybake baking tin | A good quality rectangle baking tin is a great baking essential to have on hand for brownies, blondies and of course this Easter Traybake.
2 large mixing bowls | It’s always handy to have more than one mixing bowl, especially when a recipe needs you to mix your dry and wet ingredients separately first. I have numerous mixing bowls in varying sizes. I really love the large Mason Cash mixing bowl and then have lots of clear Pyrex bowls which are great for prep and mixing together various ingredients.
Measuring Jug | Another kitchen essential and something I believe most households will have.
MY KITCHEN TIP: If you don’t have a measuring jug then you can easily measure out your wet ingredients using scales. Whatever it is in ml you can convert to grams. This tip is quite useful if you only have one jug and it’s already been used for something else.
Baking Paper | An essential and necessary for any cake baking. The silicone lining on baking paper prevents the cake from sticking when it’s baked. Be careful not to confuse baking paper with greaseproof paper as the two are not the same. Greaseproof paper will not prevent the cake from sticking unless you can greased the paper as well. But even then baking paper is much more reliable.
Off-set Spatula | Also known as an angled palette knife, if you’re into cake decorating then this is a great tool for the kitchen. Compared to regular palette knifes the angled edge means you can get close to the buttercream and spread it across the sponge more evenly. If you don’t have one, the back of a spoon also works well.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE THIS EASTER TRAYBAKE
Storing the Easter Traybake | Once baked the traybake will last a good 2-3 days if stored somewhere dry and cool in an airtight container. You can store the container in the fridge if you wish but the buttercream will naturally harden so if you want to enjoy it with the soft buttercream then let it reach room temperature before serving.
Freezing the baked sponge | If you want to bake ahead for an event or just to have sponge on demand whenever it’s needed you can freeze the baked sponge for up to 3 months. Once the sponge has fully cooled, wrap it up in a few layers of cling film or in a few large freezer bags and lay flat in a freezer. To defrost bring it out the night before you want to decorate it and let it thaw at room temperature, by morning it will be ready to use.
Freezing the buttercream | If you want to make the buttercream ahead of time you can do this also by making it and then putting it into a freezer bag and flattening it out to store in the freezer. Again this is best thawed at room temperature and can be done so overnight or for a few hours. Before you use it, I would recommend putting it into a bowl and beating it together again to smooth it out.
TRAYBAKE VARIATIONS YOU CAN TRY
- Tropical Carrot Cake (try the recipe from The Tropical Cookbook)
- Strawberries and Cream
- Mocha Espresso
- Lemon Drizzle
- Sticky Banana Upside Down Cake
I would love it if you tagged me @mykitchendrawer on Instagram if you make this Easter Traybake. It’s the biggest honour to see my recipes come to life in your kitchen and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to drop me a message. Happy baking!
- Rectangle Baking Tin
- Measuring Jug
- Off-set Spatula
- Several mixing bowls
For the sponge
- 175 ml sunflower oil plus extra for greasing
- 225 g plain flour
- 75 g intense black cocoa powder
- 100 g golden caster sugar
- 200 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 2 large eggs
- 175 ml milk
For the buttercream
- 100 g unsalted butter softened
- 200 g icing sugar
- 20 g cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp milk
- 150 g chocolate eggs crushed
For the sponge
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C then grease and line a rectangle cake tin.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, sugars, baking powder, bicarb and salt and whisk together to combine.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk the oil and eggs until combined, then whisk through the milk.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and tap it firmy onto a worktop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes then set aside to cool fully.
For the buttercream and decoration
- Beat the butter until light and fluffy then add the icing sugar and cocoa and stir all together until combined.
- Add 2 tbsp milk to loosen the mixture and continue beating until it's smooth and light.
- Put a large spoonful in the centre of the cooled sponge cake and spread it over across the sponge evenly using a spatula or the back of a spoon.
- Finish with crushed chocolate eggs.