Quite a few Easters ago, I drove past a local pet shop with my mom. We stopped, naturally, when we saw a big sign advertising baby bunnies.
Have you ever seen a baby bunny? They’re the sweetest. I particularly liked a little brown-and-white one, who stood out quite a lot from his (or her) all-white brothers and sisters. After a little pleading, the little bunny came home.
And he got big. Not quite the giant floppy-eared variety that pop up in the Guinness World Record books, but certainly not the dwarf breed we’d been promised. He went from inside to outside, with a two-cage coop and a run in between.
He loved corn (especially off the cob), and apples, and the bunny-safe yogurt drops found in pet shops. I say he – we never actually did find out if the little bunny was a boy or girl, and didn’t chance getting a friend for him (or her). But anyway, he was a happy bunny. And sadly he passed away this past winter, but not before he’d had one last corn cob.
I think about him a lot at Easter time. And it seemed like a good idea to have a bunny cake – yes, for the Easter bunny, but also for my Easter bunny. And the chocolate-covered strawberry carrots? He’d have probably liked those too, if he’d been allowed.
Easter Bunny Marble Cake
YOU’RE GONNA NEED: 1 x 8 inch round cake tin, parchment paper, a cake board or stand, Easter grass (optional), parchment paper and a piping bag
For the ‘carrots’:
2-3 bars of good quality white chocolate
Orange gel food colouring*
Strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
For the cake:
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
For the buttercream:
Follow the directions here, omitting the green food colouring
1. Prepare your ‘carrots’: in a microwave-safe bowl, break the chocolate bars into equal squares. Microwave 15-20 seconds at a time, stirring each time until melted. Add 2-3 drops of orange food colouring and stir, continuing to add dye until it reaches the desired orange colour. Dip the strawberries into the chocolate, making sure all sides are coated. Set on parchment paper and leave to dry. Spoon the leftover chocolate into a piping bag and pipe lines over the strawberries to create ridges.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Spray the cake tin with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In an electric mixer, beat the butter for about 30 seconds. Gradually beat in the sugar until fluffy and well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each. Beat in the vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk until all added and well combined.
4. Divide the batter between two bowls. To one bowl, add the cocoa powder and stir until well combined. Using a large spoon, drop the two batters alternately into the prepared cake tin. Swirl together with a toothpick or knife. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife can be removed cleanly. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Place strips of parchment paper on the cake board or stand where the bunny will sit (this prevents frosting from getting on the board). Prepare the frosting. Cut the cake into two equal halves and sandwich together with buttercream. Stand the half-moon shape on the board, flat side down. Using a sharp knife, cut a 2-3 inch long notch out of the top of the half-moon, at one of the sides to create the head. Use part of the cut notch to create a tail. Frost the entire cake with a thin coat of buttercream to catch any crumbs. Allow to cool in the fridge for about an hour. Frost again with a thicker layer of frosting. Remove the parchment paper strips.
6. Cut ears out of heavy white cardstock and stick into the cake at the top of the notch. Arrange Easter grass around the bunny and decorate with ‘carrots’.
It’s really important to use GEL food colouring for this, not just the food dye you get in the grocery store. This is basically because most food dyes are water-based, and water and chocolate are NOT friends. If you use that type of dye in your white chocolate, prepare for some unsightly separation.