there are two food traditions in my life: grandma's stuffing at thanksgiving and a bunny cake at easter.
i'll be honest, my earliest memories of this cake are more related to stealing jelly beans from the bunny decorations than the actual cake.
and then lying my pants off about it. i'm pretty sure my mom didn't buy it.
but i'm also pretty sure she's forgiven her sweet-toothed baby girl, because she still sends me an easter basket every year full of goodies . . . and always a dark chocolate bunny.
you're never too old for a dark chocolate bunny.
you're never too old to fall for the homespun charm of the bunny cake. coated in coconut "fur", nestled on a bed of that insanely irritating easter basket grass, sprinkled with easter egg jelly beans.
the relatively tart flavor of the lemon pound cake and cream cheese frosting helped cut the sweetened coconut a little, but let's be real. this is a seriously sugary proposition.
in previous years, i've gone with a carrot cake for the bunny. it felt so meta . . . bunnies eat carrots, but we're eating the bunny, the bunny made out of carrots . . . why is this so entertaining to me?
one year, i tried to go a little more healthy by buying an actual coconut, smashing it open with a hammer, and then decorating the bunny with toasted brown freshly peeled coconut curls. it was amazing and wrong all at the same time.
and this is the other thing about my easter bunny cake tradition . . . it's supremely adaptable. easter, for the non-christian christians, is a holiday without a lot of baggage or rules. it isn't the holiday you'll fly across the country to visit the family for. it's the holiday you celebrate with the family you've created wherever you are – or the family you borrow for a weekend or egg-toss-filled brunch.
Lemon Easter Bunny Cake
You can find the recipe for the lemon loaf cake at Tuesdays with Dorie. I took the whole loaf recipe, but baked it in a 9 inch round cake pan instead. I also baked this Thursday night for serving on Sunday, and has happy to find the cake stayed moist and yummy wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.
To assemble, take a 9 inch round cake. slice in half so you have two half circles. Stand one up, and coat the flat side with thick frosting. (I used Joy's recipe.) Stand up the other half circle and press the flat side into the frosting so you essentially have half a layer cake standing upright on your cake stand or platter. If you have time, give the outside a thin frosting crumb coat and then refrigerate for 20 minutes or so to let the frosting set before adding your final coat. This helps make the bunny truly white white, but since you're adding coconut, it isn't completely necessary. Then lightly press coconut all over the bunny to create the fur. I like to add a ball of coconut as a tail. Eyes and nose are jelly beans, and I cut ears and whiskers out of paper. You'll need to cut little slits in the cake to insert the paper.