Baking

Bunny cake-or is it a puppy?

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Following my last post I decided not to give up on making my own cake, but baked smaller cakes as I think some of the problem might have been the baking time needed for larger diameter cakes (as well as my amateur baking skills!) I made it 3 layers deep to ensure there would be enough cake for everyone, but stuck with my original idea of a rabbit inside a cabbage. I know, it is a bit weird, but she adores my rabbit puppet from my days as an infant teacher. So much so that she commandeered it when I brought it home when I changed jobs and I don’t think I will ever get it back!

The baking went off without a hitch and all 3 were removed from the tins successfully. I was considerably more careful this time, in fact I’m pretty sure I held my breath as I turned them out. I made an industrial sized quantity of buttercream to stick them together and to make a crumb coat, which was made trickier by me burning out my electric mixer! I love that part of cake making, the satisfaction of sticking the cakes together to make a finished product and the careful spreading using a palette knife. I wonder if I’d be any good at laying bricks-it can’t be much different. (I’d be pretty offended if someone compared my cakes to breeze blocks though!)

I cheated slightly on the icing front as I bought several blocks of green ready to roll icing. Although I can colour it myself it just seemed easier. I always find it tricky to get the icing smooth over a round cake but luckily this one required lots of leaves over the main base so I just trimmed and smoothed it roughly. I then had to find a way to make the leaves and was about to embark on some freeform icing cutting (massacreing?) when I found the scone cutters and decided the crinkly edges would be just perfect. I split the remaining icing and added different amounts of black Wilton gel to change the shade of green. In order to create a kind of 3D effect I just ‘glued’ the leaves in places and created wrinkles myself (these were intentional, unlike the ones on the base layer of icing!) Because the cake was quite tall it took a couple of layers of leaves. I’d have liked to make it a bit more realistic if I’m honest but I thought it looked as good as it was going to get so I set to work on the rabbit.

I had seen a picture on Pinterest and was aiming to recreate something similar. I used fondant to make the whole thing, though I had toyed with the idea of making it from a rice crispie cake base and covering it after (I remember seeing someone do that on the Great British Bake Off and thought it looked very clever). I can’t help but compare modelling with fondant to using playdough, and I’ve had plenty of practice at that! It was a pretty simple construction so it didn’t take too long. The eyes were my biggest bugbear, so in the end I went for the easy option and smashed the Smarties Easter egg in the hope that there were two brown ones in there. I got lucky and the children got an unexpected bonus of eating the other ones!

Making the rabbit was fairly easy, getting it to stay in place was a bigger challenge. I really wanted the ears to be standing up with only a little bit turned over but after several attempts involving elaborate contraptions made of cocktail sticks I had to accept the bunny’s fate and leave the ears to set in the position they wanted to be in. This resulted in my efforts looking more like a puppy in a cabbage than a rabbit. Luckily my daughter knew what it was and everyone else was just going to be eating it so they didn’t care!

Looking at the end result I think it was successful-cake is great if it looks pretty but even better if it tastes good. There wasn’t much left! The green icing was responsible for a few crazy moments from the children, but we just let them go free range in the garden to burn it off. I will probably continue with my baking efforts for the next family birthday, and will also probably have yet another ‘learning experience’ (epic fail) but I won’t let it stop me as there’s nothing quite like creating something especially for someone else.

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