Well first off, Happy Easter – I hope you’re doing something nice (or if you’re looking at this in Easters of the future, I hope you have something nice planned!)
This Easter I really wanted to make a cake that was a bit of fun and a bit unusual – I didn’t want to do the typical Chocolate Mini Eggs cake. I had a look on Pinterest for some inspiration and I found this Chocolate Bunny Tree Trunk Cake concept. There were a couple of sites I saw that had done it before, like Juniper Cakery, but I couldn’t find a complete recipe that I wanted to use, so I kind of merged a couple.
We’re yet to cut into it so I can’t tell you how it tastes, but it sure looks the part. This is how I did it…
I decided to maker 3 tiers of chocolate sponge to get a bit of height to the cake. For this I used, 450g Self Raising Flour, 600g Refined Golden Caster Sugar, 350g Butter & Margerine combo (didn’t have enough butter so I just topped it up with margerine -this seemed to work fine), 150g Cocoa Power (combined with 600ml of hot water and left to cool) , 6 Eggs, 2tsp Baking Powder, 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda and a couple of drops of Madagasgan Vanilla Extract.
First things first, I popped the oven on at 180.
I didn’t have any baking power so I generously greased my baking tins and sprinkled a bit of flour over them. This really did the trick as I later turned out the sponges cleanly with no problems.
The sugar and butter were mixed together – I just used an electric hand mixer – and then one by one I added in the eggs.
Next the cooled Cocoa was folded into the mixture and then poured equally into the 3 greased tins. A word of warning – I didn’t mix all of the cocoa in properly so when I turned the sponge out there was a bit of a marble effect where the pale mixture was showing through.
I popped these into the oven to bake for just over half an hour, and licked the bowl (life’s too short not too!)
I could smell the sponges were ready before I took them out – you can’t beat the smell of baked chocolate sponge on a sunny Saturday afternoon (or most days really!) You can’t always tell with chocolate sponge just by looking at it if it’s ready, the colour is deceiving, so I just double checked it with a skewer. All clean – good to go.
I let them cool completely before turning them out. Meanwhile, it was time to start on the sugarcraft bunny and other woodland decorations…
For this I cheated a little bit in buying ready to roll icing. I figured I’d just get white icing and a couple of colourings.
I first split out the icing for the separate components I needed. A healthy chunk for the rabbit, and a couple of smaller pieces for the plants, flowers and rabbit’s paw pads.
Colouring the icing was easy – I just worked it all through in my hands – but I needed to add an extra bit of icing sugar now and then to stop it getting too sticky.
For the bunny I just rolled out a good sized ball of white icing, and a much smaller ball for the tail. I used a knife to make a few marks in the tail for that fluffy effect. Next the feet, which were 2 elongated oval shapes. I used a cocktail stick to make a couple of little indentations for the toes.
I added a couple of smaller ovals and 3 pink dots to eat foot for the pads.
I cheated a little for the flowers as I already had a couple of flower shaped punches (I’d never used them before but these are amazing and now my new favourite baking tool – I plan to get more!) It was great because they all came out looking uniform.
The vines were easy, just a bit of green icing rolled thinly in my hand, and to top it off I made up a simple little toadstool from red and white icing.
Now the sponges had cooled I next needed to cut out the space for the bunny to ‘get stuck in’. It was important to have the bunny finised so I could measure the right size hole to cut out.
Next up – the chocolate frosting filling. I looked at lots of different methods for the filling from Chocolate buttercream to chocolate ganache, but I settled on a simple frosting recipe (mostly because it fit in with the ingredients that I had!) I took 300g icing sugar, 300g butter, a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa powder and a few drops of vanilla extract. Whizzed it around with the hand mixer and it couldn’t be simpler! Now to slather it on!
I put a relatively thin amount between the layers as I knew the weight of the sponge would ooze the filling out of the sides anyway, and covered the outside with a good helping. Being a butter base the mixture quickly started to melt in the sunshine, so off into the fridge it went for setting. Another obligatory bowl licking opportunity…
Once set, all that was left was to assemble the pieces. I used a bamboo stick for ease, but if you have steadier hands than me, your fingers will do just fine.
And there you have it – it may look complicated but it really is quite an easy recipe. Give it a try – I’d love to know how you got on and what recipe combos you found worked for you.
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