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Since I was a small child, my mom had always made a bunny cake for our family each Easter. It’s simple, but it was something we looked forward to each year.
When my son was born, I continued the tradition, and added another type of bunny cake as well so I could change things up each year. Both are easy to decorate and can be done with a cake mix if you have one, or use this simple from scratch recipe that is my go-to vanilla cake, made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. It’s passed down from my husband’s grandmother, so you know it’s yummy.
Homemade vanilla cake
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 1/3 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla, almond or lemon flavouring
1 tsp salt
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat for five minutes after each addition. Add your choice of flavouring. Mix milk and lemon juice and let sit for five minutes. Mix dry ingredients, and then alternate adding milk and dry ingredients to batter.
Basic buttercream icing
1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp milk
Beat butter well, until it’s fully creamed. Add vanilla and gradually add in icing sugar, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl so it’s mixed in well. Add one tablespoon of milk and, if mixture seems too dry, you can add a second.
To make a bunny cake:
Preheat oven. Grease two nine-inch cake pans, dividing batter evenly, so they are about one-half to two-thirds full. Use any excess batter for cupcakes. Bake in 350F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool, then tip onto a cooling rack and allow them to fully cool.
Slice each cake evenly in half. Ice the bottom (flat) part of the cake and press each half together. This forms the body of your bunny.
About midway up the front of your bunny, slice a small triangle. Remove the cake – this will be used to form your bunny’s tail, while the ears will be placed in the gap.
Cover the bunny’s body with a thin layer of icing, and then cover the tail with icing. Place on a serving tray and attach the tail to the back of the bunny.
To make your bunny’s face, you can colour your buttercream to create frosting eyes, or use jellybeans, M&Ms, or other Easter candies to create eyes and a nose. For the ears, get your kids involved and have them cut out bunny ears with paper. If you want to jazz the ears up further, colour the centres pink.
Repeat with your second cake to create two bunnies.
Additions: To decorate your tray, put coconut in a baggie and add a few drops of green food colouring, then spread around the tray or plate your bunny is sitting on to create grass. Add little Easter treats or jellybeans among the “grass” for the treats your bunny has hidden.
To make a bunny butt cake:
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an oven proof glass bowl (Pyrex bowls are a good bet – they will say on the bottom if they are safe for the oven). Pour your batter into the bowl until it is half-full. Use excess batter to make cupcakes – you will need at least three cupcakes to decorate your cake.
Bake cake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cupcakes will need to bake approximately 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly, then tip the cake out of the bowl and allow to fully cool.
Place your upside-down bowl onto your tray of serving plate, then cover with buttercream.
Take three cupcakes and cover two entirely with buttercream (including the bottom of the cupcakes) and attach side by side to the cake. These will create your bunny’s feet.
Cut off the bottom of the third cupcake and cover with buttercream. Attach to the top of your cake to form the tail.
Tip: If you’re concerned your tail or feet will not stay in place, use a toothpick to hold them.
With some remaining icing, add a drop of red food colouring and mix well to create a pink icing. Create pawprints on the bottom of the feet.
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