A simple and delicious white cake with a fun Easter bunny surprise inside— sure to be a huge hit with young and old alike!
For as long as I’ve been reading food blogs on the Internet, I’ve been in awe of the incredible cakes shared on I Am Baker (like this one, or this one, and this one too). If you are a follower of Amanda’s blog then you know as well as I do of her immense talent as a baker and artist.
So when I heard about her new cookbook, Surprise-Inside Cakes, I couldn’t wait to check it out.
As I flipped through the book I was blown away by every amazing cake, but this bunny cake completely stole stole my heart. I was originally thinking of featuring an easier recipe from the book, but then I thought what the hell? I can totally do this.
And I did it! Thanks to Amanda’s very clear instructions and step-by-step photos. I must have looked over the recipe a hundred times and it paid off, the whole thing went off without a hitch.
You may think surprise cakes are too complicated, but I promise anyone can make one. All you need is attention to detail and confidence in yourself and the instructions. You’ll also need a free afternoon, they can take a while!
Not only did this little bunny cake turn out as adorable as I’d hoped, but it tasted great too! I think Amanda’s white cake recipe may be my go-to from now on. I almost felt a little guilty devouring the bunny’s cute nose and eyes, but they were too tasty not to.
A few notes about this recipe:
>> Amanda’s instructions for this cake indicate that you’ll need to use two recipes of white cake, however I had enough with just one.
>> When I make this again I’ll go ahead and make two recipes so that I’ll have enough batter for another cake layer at the bottom. I can’t stop seeing the bunny’s nose as a mouth, and I think that will help solve that problem.
>> Look for candy melts and gel food coloring at a baking or craft supply store. These items cost me about $5 total.
>> It’s a good idea to make 4 bunny ears in case 1 or more break in the process.
>> Read the instructions beginning to end before starting this cake. That will hopefully minimize any frustrations.
>> As thorough as I tried to be with the recipe and instructions below, Amanda’s book does a much better job explaining the process. Plus there are a lot of other great tips for baking and building layer cakes. So check it out!
Bunny Surprise Cake
For the cake:
- 3 cups cake flour (340 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (226 grams)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
- 1 cup whole milk (237 ml)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 5 large egg whites
- Pink gel food coloring
For the buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (226 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Dash of salt
- 6 cups powdered sugar , sifted (1360 grams)
- ½ cup heavy cream (115 ml)
To assemble the cake:
- Black gel food coloring
- White gel food coloring
- 1 cup White candy melts
- 1 cup Pink candy melts
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 6-inch round pans and line with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Combine the milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture, and mix after each addition.
- In a clean bowl with a wire risk, beat the egg whites on high speed to stiff peaks. Add the whipped whites to the cake batter in 3 additions. Divide the cake batter in half, and then divide one of the halves between the 2 pans.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Re-butter and flour the pans and line with parchment paper again. Divide the remaining batter in half, and tint one half pink. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake according to the above instructions.
- Once cakes are cooled to room temperature, cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
To make the buttercream:
- Combine the butter, vanilla, salt, 2 cups of the powdered sugar, and half of the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until moistened, then add the remaining powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, alternating with the rest of the heavy cream until smooth and creamy.
To build the cake:
- Place one of the white layers on a cake stand, center. Center a 3-inch round cutter over the cake layer and press in slightly to make an indentation. Using a small knife held at a 45 degree angle, slice into the cake, aiming for the center. Follow the indentation around the cake and remove the cake cone. Repeat with the pink cake layer. Place the pink cake cone into the hole of the white cake layer.
- Use a 4-inch round cutter to make indentations in the remaining 2 white cake layers. Use the back of a spoon to dig a ¼-inch deep channel in one of the cakes, and a 1/2-inch deep channel in the other.
- Crumble the rest of the pink cake into a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the buttercream and a little black gel food coloring and combine with a fork until uniformly black. Add additional buttercream and food coloring if needed.
- Roll the black cake mixture into logs thick enough to fill the cavity in the cake layer. Lay them into the cake layer with the deeper channel and connect them to fit evenly.
- Crumble all of the white cake scraps and combine with 1 tablespoon of the buttercream and a little white gel food coloring. Roll the white cake mixture into logs and then flatten with your hands to about ¼ inch thick. Place on top of the black logs, covering it completely.
- Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the edge of the cake layer on the cake stand, being careful to avoid the pink cake cone.
- Set the layer with the black logs on top and cover the edge with buttercream. Turn the remaining cake layer over and place on top, making sure the black log fits into the carved-out top layer.
- Cover the cake with a thin crumb coat and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip with the remaining buttercream. Pipe small bursts of frosting over the surface of the cake, making sure they are fairly uniform in size.
- To make a bunny tail, pipe out a big ball of frosting at the back of the cake. Cover with small bursts of buttercream.
- To make the bunny ears, trace an outline of bunny ears onto a sheet of paper and then place that paper under parchment paper on a baking sheet. Melt the white candy melts in a zipped plastic bag in the microwave in 30 second bursts. Massage the bag to fully melt the candy.
- Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe out the inside of the ears onto the parchment paper. Use a small spatula to smooth it out, if necessary. Repeat with the pink candy melts. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for two minutes.
- Chill the cake until ready to serve and insert the bunny ears into the cake just before serving.
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of “Surprise Cakes: to review, though I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are 100% my own, as always.