Although the outlook for 2021 is far better than last year, it will still require a sense of humor to get through it. This Easter Sunday we are celebrating with an easy, kid-friendly cake that will be almost as fun to make as it is to eat. The pig pen may be made from either Kit Kat bars or Pepperidge Farm chocolate hazelnut pirouette cookie straws, the cake is a simple chocolate cake (use a high quality box mix if you must), a simple ganache, and some natural pink tinted marzipan. If you have never worked with marzipan, no worries! Ask a kid for help. Once the warmth of your hands is in contact with the marzipan, it becomes pliable and much like play-doh. We often have more pigs than belong on the cake as everyone passing through the kitchen would like to get in on the fun. Save the extra piggies to serve alongside the cake so each person has their own pet pig on the plate.
cuisine American
difficulty Easy
season Year Round
serves 8 to 12

Ingredients for the Cake

  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 7 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 4.5 ounces of hot water
  • 170 grams or 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 85 grams or 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 85 grams or 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon muscovado sugar
  • 25 grams or 2 level tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 Kit Kat bars
  • 200 grams or 3/4 cup natural marzipan
  • pink food coloring

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache

  • 300 ml or 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 200 grams or 1 cup bittersweet baking chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons caster (super fine) sugar

Directions for the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare to 8" cake rounds by greasing and flouring each pan.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.  Add the dissolved coffee and stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare everything else.
  3. Mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and eggs together until smooth.
  5. Pour the chocolate and egg mixtures into the flour mixture, gently folding until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, runny consistency.
  6. Pour the batter equally between the cake pans. Put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and the top should feel firm (don’t worry if it cracks a bit). Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  7. To make the marzipan pigs add a tiny bit of the pink food coloring and  use your hands to knead the marzipan until the coloring is completely incorporated. This will take some time but is part of the fun. Add coloring as needed until the pink looks piglet pink.
  8. To make the pig bottoms: roll a ball then cut in half. Each half is one bottom. Use your fingers to round off the edges slightly. Press the edge of the toothpick into the marzipan from the middle of the ball to create the cheeks!. Use a very small piece of marzipan for the tail. Roll a thin sausage shape, then wind round itself to create a curly tail. Stick this on where the line begins. 
  9. To make the sitting pig: roll 2 balls, one slightly bigger than the other. Use the big ball as the body. Push your toothpick in to create a belly button. Gently press the smaller ball (the head) onto the body. 
  10. Use a very small piece of marzipan to make the snout. Roll into a ball then flatten. Stick this to the front of the head and push 2 holes in with your toothpick to create nostrils. Do the same for eyes.
  11. For each ear, create a triangular shape: pinch your forefinger and thumb together while pressing a finger from your other hand against this. Flatten slightly, then use the toothpick the press the triangular indentation into the centre of each ear. Gently attach to the head. Bend one ear over if desired.
  12. For the arms, roll 2 sausages the same length, flatten slightly and press the toothpick into the end to create a trotter. Stick to either side of the body.
  13. To make the swimming pig: same as above for the body and head but do not attach to one another. For the feet, roll 4 small balls and press the toothpick into the edge to create trotters.
  14. Reserve the pigs until time for assembly on a piece of parchment paper.
  15. Once the cakes are cool, make the ganache.
  16. Place 1 cake upside down on your cake plate.
  17. Spread with about ¼ of the ganache. Add the second cake layer and spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides of the cake. 
  18. Break the Kit Kats into two finger pieces. Place each set of Kit Kats around the cake to form the fence--the ganache will act as "glue" for the fence posts.
  19. Secure the Kit Kat fence by tying a grosgrain ribbon half way down the fence.
  20. Add the marzipan pigs to the top of the cake.

directions for the chocolate ganache

  1. In a small pot, bring the cream and the sugar to a boil over a medium heat, stirring ocassionally. 
  2. Cut the chocolate into small pieces. As soon as the cream starts to boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let the hot cream sit over the chocolate for 2 to 3 minutes then whisk until the chocolate has completely melted and everything is fully combined. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. This is the trickiest part: judging when the ganache is at the right consistency for pouring over the cake. If it is too runny it will seep between the Kit Kats fence. If it is too thick it won't pour over the cake. As the ganache cools it will thicken a bit so keep your eye out and test for the right consistency before pouring ganache over the cake.