Not only is this cake totally delicious, with rich, dark chocolate sponge, gooey chocolate icing and crumbled cookie topping, but it also contains a special Easter surprise. Impress your guests as you serve up this Easter treat - as each slice of chocolately-goodness unveils a hidden carrot!
Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Lightly grease and line a 2lb (1kg) loaf tin with non-stick baking paper.
Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and cream with a wooden spoon or electric hand whisk until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and flour and beat until smooth. Add the food colouring to produce a vibrant orange mixture. Spoon into the base of the loaf tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin then remove (but keep in the baking paper) and cool on a wire rack.
Once completely cool, discard the paper – leave the cake upright and use a long serrated knife to level the top of the cake. Cut a 'V' shape from the sponge, cutting from the top of the cake (about 2.5cm (1in) in from the edge), down to the centre of the base, on both sides.
Grease and line the same loaf tin with non-stick baking paper and place the 'V' carrot shape in the middle of the tin, with its widest side down.
Now make the chocolate cake mixture. Cream the butter and soft brown sugar with a wooden spoon or electric hand whisk until light and fluffy, then add the eggs and the sifted flours, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla essence and beat well until smooth.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until melted. Pour the melted chocolate into the cake mix and mix well then add the boiling water to loosen the mixture a little. Spoon the mixture carefully around the ‘carrot’ in the tin making sure it reaches the corners then bake in the same temperature oven for about an hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing from the tin and placing in its paper on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of gently simmering water – stir until melted. Add the cream and the icing sugar and stir again until thick and glossy. Turn the heat off but leave the bowl over the warm water until ready to use.
Using a large, serrated knife, cut the top from the cooled cake to level. Turn upside down and place onto a board or serving plate. Spoon the chocolate icing over the surface, spreading to allow the icing to drizzle down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle with the crushed Oreo biscuits, spooning them down the centre of the cake.
Lightly dust the work surface with cornflour and roll out the green fondant icing. Cut out carrot-top shaped leaves with a knife and place each leaf over a rolling pin and allow to dry for 1-2 hours until reasonably firm.
Using a skewer, make approx 5-6 holes through the cookie crumbs, into to the cake and place the fondant leaves in clusters, allowing the crumbs to support them. Serve in slices, each with a surprise carrot shape inside!
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or icing if called for. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a moderate oven.
If you wish to add icing or decoration, add them after the baked goods have fully defrosted and are at room temperature.
See more Easter cake recipes
As part of a healthy balanced diet, we recommend this recipe for a special occasion or treat.