Bunny Cake

One of the things I love about becoming “a grown up” is that I am now starting to form my own holiday traditions, many of which are based on the traditions that were passed down to me by my parents.  Some of them, like dying Easter eggs, I think I’ll hold off on until I have kids (what would Mark and I do with a dozen colored eggs?).  But there are other traditions that I’m already eager to share.  This year I was spending Easter with Mark’s family, so I decided to bring a little piece of my family to the celebration by making a Bunny Cake.

Mom and me on my first Easter.

The Bunny Cake is not a secret family recipe.  I simple Google search will provide the instructions.  But I learned it from my mom.  I have no idea how old I was the first time I saw her make one, but it feels as if I’ve always known how to turn two round cakes into a very cute bunny.

The beauty of the bunny cake is that it can be done with any basic double layer cake recipe (or cake mix).  I chose to make a yellow cake with vanilla butter cream frosting  from my now favorite cookbook, The New Best Recipe.  I figured that any frosting that called for four sticks of butter was promising.  Rebecca was kind enough to come over Saturday night to help me bake, even though she wouldn’t be joining us for Easter.  It takes a true friend to help bake a cake that she won’t be able to partake of later.

The recipe was just as easy as I expected.  Rebecca and I finished so early that we decided to treat ourselves to hot fudge sundaes at the Brooklyn Farmacy while the cake cooled.

Then, the true art began…

The secret to the bunny cake is in two simple cuts:

With these three pieces, my two round cakes can be reconfigured into a head, two ears and a bow-tie, like so:

To make transporting the dessert to Staten Island a bit easier, I chose to finish the decorations at Mark’s parent’s house.  This meant wrapping the bunny in a combination of foil, wax paper and cling wrap to ensure a safe journey (inter-borough transit is not for the faint of heart):

Once at the house, I allowed the frosting to reach almost room temperature and set off creating the bunny.  A few Christmases ago, Mark gave me a gift certificate to take classes at the very cool Brooklyn Kitchen Labs in Williamsburg.  One of the courses I took was on cake decorating.  At the time, I doubted whether I would ever use those skills again.  (Let’s just say my flower making left something to be desired.)  But on Sunday, the techniques from that class really came in handy while working with homemade butter cream:

 Another tip I had learned in the class was that gel food coloring is “better” than the standard liquid.  I tried gel for the first time on the bunny cake, and I have to admit, the blue bow tie did kind of “pop”:

As did the pink ears:

The finer details for the face can be done a number of ways.  I went with jelly beans for eyes and nose, sprinkles on the bow tie and a black gel frosting (store bought) for the whiskers and mouth:

All told, it took me about twenty minutes to frost and decorate.  And that was with a pretty tricky butter cream.  The one element I didn’t borrow from my mother was the sprinkling of coconut to make fur.  To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of coconut (and I’m a little lazy).  Guess that’s where my own interpretation of the tradition comes into play.  But beyond that, my bunny pretty much looks like the cakes I remember from my childhood:

It tasted pretty amazing too – if I do say so myself.  But how could anything this cute be anything but delicious?

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