My newest creation was of the edible variety. Of course the Bunny Cake is not new to me, it's an annual tradition in my family. My mom made it every year when I was growing up, and I always got to help. My involvement began as making the bunny ears, and I slowly graduated to sprinkling on the coconut and giving him eyes and whiskers, then eventually to getting to ice him. I knew I was grown up when I got to carve it.
This is not the traditional two dimensional bunny cake that many are familiar with, with the round face and a second round cake cut in half for two ears. This is a magnificent 3-D cake sculpture. The best part is that it looks really hard but it's really quite simple to make, it's only as hard as you want to make it.
The cake recipe can be anything you want from vanilla to carrot cake, and from a box or from scratch. I always make a carrot cake and use cream cheese frosting, because thats how my mom always made it and it wouldn't be right to me any other way.
You can add two tablespoons of meringue powder to the cake batter to reduce the rising in the center during the baking process if you want. I prefer my bunny to have a little roundedness to his body, however.
Make the cake according to your favorite recipe, and pour into one or two 8" or 9" round cake pans, depending on the amount of cake your recipe is for. I split it into two 9" rounds in case something goes wrong in the carving process. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan and carving. If you are of the "Type A" impatient variety, like myself, make it in the morning or the night before so it has plenty of time to cool. Still-warm cake is difficult to carve and manipulate, and it tends lace your icing with crumbs.
If you want a skinny bunny you can use a cake leveler to remove "the hump", or if you like you bunny rounded or are feeling lazy, just leave it be. Place the cake upside down on a flat surface such as a cutting board. Cut a straight line right down the diameter of the cake, trying to get it in the center as best as possible. If your oven is not level, no need to get out the tools or yell at your handy man, just line up your center line as symmetrical as possible. Congrats, the hardest part is over.
So you have your cake cut in half, with the bottom side facing up. Frost both halves on the bottom-side-up side only. Take the two frosted halves and make a semicircular frosting sandwich with them. Place it so that its standing up on the plate/cake board that you plan on serving it on. Choose a cake board or plate that will accommodate for the length of the semicircle, as well as a couple extra inches for the bunny tail.
Cut a triangular wedge for the neck. To do this, figure out where you want its head to end and back to begin. Cut this triangular wedge so that the side of the wedge closest to the head is maybe 1-1.5" long and the side by the back goes straight down maybe 1.5-2". Move this wedge to the opposite side for a tail. Now ice the entire body. If you use white frosting, you can sprinkle shaved coconut on top for fur. For chocolate icing, I guess you could dye to coconut brown or drop it all together.
Decorate his face with candy. I use jelly beans, but you could use M&Ms, Skittles, whatever. My mom always used three pieces of raw spaghetti noodles for whiskers, but I like my candy and use red licorice.
Cut a paper plate or large index card in the shape of bunny ears. These materials are thick and sturdy enough to stand up on their own and slide easily right into the cake where they stay in place. I put them into the neck groove.
You can garish the plate with green dyed coconut for grass and jelly beans for easter eggs.
- Let the cake cool before manipulating it
- Make two rounds, it will be a skinnier bunny but you get a second chance if something goes wrong. You can always bulk it up with frosting.
- Frost the neck area last, thats where you'll pick up a lot of crumbs.
- Sprinkle coconut on right away before the frosting begins to harden
- Make sure you have the coconut before beginning so you don't have to send your husband to the store. By the time you get the coconut, the frosting will be hardened and your bunny will shed coconut. Not that I would know from experience; I just assume that is what would happen ;-)