Easter Nest Cake

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This Easter Nest Cake is perfect for any Easter get-together. It’s made with a rich and moist chocolate cake, layered with chocolate buttercream frosting, and topped off with your favorite Easter candies!

Easter Nest Cake on a green cake stand surrounded by greenery.

🥚 Make A Cute Nest Cake this Easter

This Easter Nest Cake recipe was first published in 2015, and since then has become one of SugarHero’s most popular Easter desserts. Every year, I receive emails and pictures from readers who have fallen in love with the cake — from first-time makers to folks who’ve made it a family tradition, this fun and whimsical cake converts new fans every year.

It’s easy to see why this cake recipe is so popular. Obviously, it’s ADORABLE (said with all the bias of a proud parent gazing down at their newborn baby), but it’s also an eye-catching, clever design that looks difficult, but is actually simple (and fun!) to decorate. You don’t need a special cake pan to make it, and you can make the nest decorations as simple or as complex as you’d like.

The BEST part? This bird’s nest cake is deeply, sinfully, unapologetically full of chocolate flavor. From the moist cake layers to the fudgy frosting in between, this is a chocolate lover’s dream come true.

If you love all things cute and cake-y, don’t miss our best-loved Easter desserts like Easter No-Bake Mini Cheesecakes, Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake, and Easter Egg Petit Fours!

Close up of Easter Nest Cake with greenery in the background.

🧾 What You’ll Need

Chocolate egg that is broken with egg shaped candies spilling out.

Ingredients

This recipe is built on pantry staples, so chances are you have a good amount of the ingredients already. Here are a few notes to keep in mind as you gather ingredients: (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Since this cake gets all of its chocolate flavor from cocoa powder, I recommend using a high-quality cocoa powder. Cheap cocoa powders can be nearly flavorless, or worse, impart a bitter, dusty, or stale flavor. My personal favorite is Cacao Barry Extra Brute – it hits that sweet spot between very high quality but also pretty affordable since it is sold in bulk. Whatever you use, make sure that it is dutch-processed (also known as alkalized), because that will make a huge difference in the final taste and texture of the cake! 
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter, and leave it at room temperature before you start baking. This is an all-butter cake, which is my favorite type of chocolate cake to make. Using butter instead of oil gives the cake more flavor, makes it less prone to a greasy texture, and also makes the cake sturdy enough for layering into tall cakes. Chocolate butter cakes can also be turned into great cupcakes, and if you’re looking for a no-fail cupcake, check out my Chocolate Cupcake recipe
  • Unsweetened Chocolate: the frosting uses unsweetened chocolate, which gives it an ultra-rich texture and deep chocolate flavor. Any unsweetened bar you pick up from the grocery store will work – I typically use Guittard or Baker’s unsweetened chocolate.
  • Decorations: use coconut or edible Easter grass to line your nest, then fill it with your favorite Easter egg candies. Just like these Easter Egg Brownies, you can’t go wrong with which candies you choose!
Grass piping tip piping chocolate buttercream on a wooden surface.

Equipment

There are a few must-haves to make this cake: (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Grass Piping Tip: the secret to getting that messy, swirled bird’s nest look is a multi-opening piping tip, also known as a “grass” tip.
  • Piping Bags: use piping bags to add the frosting and to any additional decoration.
  • Metal Bowl:we’re using a 4-quart mixing bowl as the baking pan to create that perfect nest shape.
  • Egg Candy Molds: I use both large and small egg candy molds to shape the chocolate eggs for decorating. You can skip this if you’re using pre-bought Easter decorations!
Slice of Easter Nest Cake surrounded by candy eggs and a fork.

📋 Instructions

Curious about how to construct this cute nest shape? I’ve got ya covered! Here’s a quick overview of the decorating process. You can find full printable instructions in the recipe card below.

Two photo collage showing how to bake and slice an Easter Nest Cake.

Bake & Layer the Cake

  • Line a 4-quart metal bowl with overlapping strips of parchment paper, then spray well with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Pour in the cake batter and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
  • Let the cake cool completely, then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it well. An hour in the freezer or several hours in the refrigerator is perfect!
  • Flip the cake out onto a cardboard circle, so the widest part is now the base. Cut the cake into three equal layers.
Two photo collage showing how to fill and frost an Easter Nest Cake.

Frost the Cake

  • Spread a thick layer of chocolate frosting on the bottom cake layer, and use a metal spatula to smooth it out to the edges.
  • Top that layer with a second cake layer, and add more frosting. Finally, add the final third of cake.
  • Once all of the cake layers are assembled, spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting all along the sides of the cake, to seal in any crumbs and to give it more structural support. Don’t put any frosting on the “top” of the cake, because once we’re done decorating it, the cake will be flipped over and that will be the bottom!
Two photo collage showing how to pipe decorations on an Easter Nest Cake.

Add Frosting Decorations

  • Fit a piping bag with a grass tip and fill it with chocolate frosting. Starting at the top of the cake, squeeze the frosting out onto the sides, going around and around the cake as you work your way down. Don’t worry about making it “pretty”—this actually looks best when the frosting weaves around in a random pattern.
  • Place a small cardboard cake circle on top of the cake, and flip the cake upside-down so it is now a nest shape. If you have bare spots on the sides that you couldn’t decorate before, add frosting to them now.
  • Use a spoon to scrape out a shallow hole in the top of the cake. Leave a lip around the edge to hold the eggs in.
Two photo collage showing how to finish decorating an Easter Nest Cake.

Add Finishing Touches

  • Spread a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake, and go around the edges with the grass tip so the nest’s texture covers the edge around the top.
  • Fill the nest cake with chocolate eggs, jelly beans, marshmallow chicks, edible grass, or any other combination of Easter candy you can dream up!
Close up of Easter Nest Cake on a green cake stand surrounded by greenery.

💡 Tips

  • Chill out. You will have a much easier time decorating this cake if it is well-chilled before you start assembly. It can even be partially frozen (completely frozen will make it hard to slice!) Working with a cold cake provides more stability during the assembly process. Consider baking the cake on one day, and doing the decorating on the next.
  • Assemble upside down. I recommend assembling and frosting the nest cake upside-down so it’s more stable. Once it’s assembled, then you can flip it over and add the topping!
  • To make the speckled eggs pictured in this post, check out these instructions for Hollow Chocolate Easter Eggs. I make them in different sizes using both a small egg mold and a large egg mold. The video shows an alternative way to decorate, using store-bought Easter candies.
  • Play around with decorations. You can add any Easter-y decorations your heart desires! Try coconut grass, Peeps, jelly beans, chocolate figurines, or anything else you enjoy eating.

💭 Easter Nest Cake FAQs

Easter Nest Cake with a slice cut out and set beside it. Greenery in the background of the photo.

❤️ More Easter Desserts You’ll Love

This Easter Nest Cake is just one of my delicious Easter recipes. Here are a few more to try!

Easter Push-Up Pops
These Push-Up Pops are perfect for Easter! Chocolate cake, frosting, and chocolate rocks are layered in push pop containers, then topped with adorable chocolate bunny ears, carrots, and bunny butts.
Get the recipe!
Two push-up pops filled with chocolate cake and topped with bunny ears and a chocolate carrot.
Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake
It just wouldn’t be Easter without at least one adorable bunny-themed treat, and this Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake delivers! Moist chocolate cake, smooth buttercream, and lots of mini fondant decorations on top make this bunny cake a favorite the whole family will love.
Get the recipe!
Chocolate Easter Bunny Cake | From SugarHero.com

Leave a review!

If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below, and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram @elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!

Close up of Easter Nest Cake on a green cake stand surrounded by greenery.

Easter Nest Cake

4.75 from 8 votes
This Easter Nest Cake is a cute and easy Easter dessert recipe! It’s baked right in a bowl–no special pan required–and is decorated with chocolate frosting to look like a sweet little bird’s nest, complete with your favorite Easter egg candies.
Prep Time 3hrs
Cook Time 1hr10mins
Total Time 4hrs10mins
Yield 16servings
Calories 764kcal

Ingredients
 

For the Cake:

  • 6ozbutter, at room temperature
  • 4.75ozgranulated sugar, (2/3 cup)
  • 5ozbrown sugar, (2/3 cup packed)
  • 2eggs, at room temperature
  • 2tspvanilla extract
  • 8ozbuttermilk, 1 cup, at room temperature
  • 4ozsour cream, 1/2 cup, at room temperature
  • 2tbspwater or brewed coffee
  • 7.8ozall-purpose flour, ( cups)
  • 3ozunsweetened cocoa powder, (1 cup)
  • tspbaking soda
  • ½tspsalt

For the Frosting:

  • 12ozunsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 36ozpowdered sugar, (9 cups)
  • 12ozunsalted butter, (3 sticks, or 1.5 cups) at room temperature
  • 1/2cupmilk, plus more if necessary
  • 1tbspvanilla extract
  • 1/4tspsalt,
  • Assorted chocolate eggs, Peeps, or other Easter edibles, to decorate
CUSTOMIZE: 16servings

Instructions
 

To Make the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut 4 strips of parchment paper about 2 inches wide and 14-16 inches long. Spray an oven-safe 4-quart metal bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the parchment strips in an asterisk in the center of the bowl, so they overlap each other in the middle and extend up the sides. Spray the parchment with nonstick cooking spray—this process makes it easy to remove the cake after baking.
  • Combine the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix it in.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and water (or coffee, if using). In a different bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer running on low, add a quarter of the sifted flour mixture. When the flour streaks have almost all disappeared, add a third of the liquid to the mixing bowl. When that’s incorporated, continue to add the drys and wets in an alternating pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.
  • When the dry ingredients are nearly incorporated, stop the mixer. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and finish mixing the cake by hand. Pour the batter into the prepared bowl and smooth it into an even layer. Bake the cake for about 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. If the top seems to be getting too dark during baking, cover it with foil to prevent it from burning. Because of the unique shape of the bowl, it takes a little longer to bake than other cakes, and can sometimes bake a little unevenly. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack.
  • Unmolding the cake should be a simple matter of turning it out onto a cake cardboard—the parchment is a big help here. If you’re having trouble, gently use a small metal spatula around the sides to loosen the cake before unmolding it. The cake can be made several days in advance and kept, well-wrapped and refrigerated or frozen, until ready to use. If you freeze it, make sure it’s partially defrosted before you use it so you can cut it easily.

To Make the Frosting:

  • Place the chopped unsweetened chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt it in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Place the remaining ingredients (sugar through salt) in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sugar is thoroughly moistened, then raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Turn the mixer speed back to low, and add the chocolate. Once the chocolate is mixed in, raise the speed back to medium and beat for one minute more. If it seems too stiff, add a bit more milk until you get a texture that you like. Use immediately, or place in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed on top. The frosting can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before using.

To Assemble:

  • Cut out a cardboard cake circle the same size as the bottom of the chocolate cake. If the inside of your bowl was round, instead of having a flat bottom, trim the rounded part off the bottom of the chocolate cake, to give the cake a flat base.
  • Place a large cake cardboard on a cake turntable, and flip the cake upside-down so the widest part is now on the bottom. Cut the cake into three layers with a long serrated knife. Spread a thick layer of chocolate frosting on top of the cake layer, and use a metal spatula to smooth it out to the edges.
  • Top the cake with the second layer, and add another layer of frosting. Finally, add the final layer of cake. Once all of the cake layers are assembled, spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting all along the sides of the cake, to seal in any crumbs and to give it more structural support. Don’t put any frosting on the “top” of the cake, because once we’re done decorating it, the cake will be flipped over and that will be the bottom!
  • After your sides are covered with chocolate, transfer some of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a grass tip (I used Ateco #133). Starting at the top of the cake, squeeze the frosting out onto the sides, going around and around the cake as you work your way down. Don’t worry about making it “pretty”—this actually looks best when the frosting weaves around in a random pattern, because that makes it look more like a nest. Just make sure to fill in all the gaps so there aren’t any naked areas not covered in the long strings of chocolate frosting. It might get more difficult as you get toward the bottom of the cake, so just go as far down as you can.
  • Place the small cardboard cake circle on top of the cake, and using the large circle underneath to support it, flip the cake upside-down so it is now the typical nest shape. If you have bare spots on the sides that you couldn’t decorate before, add frosting to them now.
  • Use a spoon to scrape out a shallow hole in the top of the cake. You just want to create a little indentation where the eggs will rest, so only scrape about 1/2- or 3/4-inch of cake, and leave a lip around the edge to hold the eggs in. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake, and go around the edges with the grass tip so the nest’s texture covers the edge around the top.
  • Fill the nest cake with chocolate eggs, jelly beans, marshmallow chicks, edible grass, or any other combination of Easter candy you can dream up!

Video

MEASURING TIPS

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.

Nutrition

Calories: 764kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 332mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 85g | Vitamin A: 909IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 5mg
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Photo of an Easter Nest Cake with text overlay for Pinterest.
Elizabeth LaBau

About Elizabeth LaBau

I’m Elizabeth, but you can call me SugarHero! I’m a former pastry chef turned blogger, cookbook author, and baking instructor, and I consider myself sugar’s #1 fan. Learn more from my About page, or connect with me on social media:

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This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  For more information, see my Disclaimer and Disclosure Policy.

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