Kids have their baskets—so it’s only fair that grownups get their own Easter treats. Allow us to suggest a cake topped with a towering chocolate bunny and bedecked with fancy-to-look-at-but-easy-to-make sweetness. As always, we relied on Hallmark Designer Kelly C. and Union Hill Studio Business Director Bernard S. to come up with our Easter cake ideas and show us how to make them.
EASTER CAKE IDEAS: WHAT YOU’LL NEED
TWO CAKE LAYERS (USE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE OR MIX)
BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (WE LIKE THIS RECIPE)
MERINGUE (3 LARGE EGG WHITES, 1/8 TSP. CREAM OF TARTAR, 3/4 C. SUGAR, 1/2 TSP. VANILLA EXTRACT)
FOOD COLORING IN SPRING COLORS
FOOD COLORING MARKERS (OPTIONAL)
HOLLOW CHOCOLATE BUNNY
CANDY COATING DISKS IN SPRING COLORS
FAVORITE EASTER CANDY (OPTIONAL, BUT WHY NOT?)
ROTATING CAKE STAND (OR LAZY SUSAN)
CAKE BOARD CIRCLES (IF YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO MOVE YOUR CAKE FROM STAND TO PLATTER)
BENCH SCRAPER (OR SUPER-CLEAN 6″ PUTTY KNIFE)
PIPING BAGS OR PLASTIC ZIPPER BAGS
ROUND 1A PIPING TIP (OPTIONAL)
First, frost yourself a cake…
Everything you need to know is in our post on cake decorating. Prepare like you’re going to make a watercolor cake as instructed…but stick with two to three colors of frosting. “It’s looks really nice to have white to start off with, then maybe one or two pastel colors,” Kelly tells us.
Instead of piping random “worms” (Bernard’s word, not ours) of color all over the cake, you’ll alternate colors in horizontal stripes all the way around the cake. Then place your bench scraper or putty knife vertically against one side of the cake and slowly rotate it to smooth the frosting.
“The important thing is to make sure you clean off your scraper as you’re going so you don’t muddle the colors,” Kelly warns. (Editor’s note: You will end up with a criminal amount of unused buttercream frosting, which will leave you with no choice but to eat it with a spoon while you binge-watch old episodes of The Great British Baking Show.)
Then paint some candy brushstrokes
Plunk the candy coating disks in a glass bowl and nuke them for about 15 seconds at a time—stir between rounds until they’ve just melted.
If you’ve got an old pastry brush, round the corners to get a nice teardrop shape. “Don’t do that to your nice one,” Bernard says. “It’s just a little prettier if you round the end.”
Spread parchment on a baking sheet. Use a spoon or spatula to plop about a tablespoon of the melted candy on the tray. “If you want to, you can mix more than one color,” Bernard recommends. “Then dip the pastry brush into the blob and pull it out three inches or so.”
Let your brushstrokes sit 10-15 minutes to set up—pop them in the fridge if you’re in a hurry.
Also make some meringues
“Bernard wanted to really go above and beyond with this one,” Kelly confides.
And that means fancy meringues. To make those:
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar, beating well after each addition. When stiff and glossy peaks form, beat in vanilla. (“Just beat the heck out of it,” Bernard advises. “Turn it on high for about five to seven minutes. It’s got to be really thick.”)
- Divide the mixture, tint it with a little food coloring, and spoon it into the piping or zipper bags. Use a round tip or just cut off the corner of the bag to make your designs.
- For carrots, pipe an orange squiggle and top it with a green crown. For chicks, pipe a big circle for the body and a small circle for the head, and pull up to make a point for the beak. Make swirls and rosettes if you’d like.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and leave meringues in oven for another 45 minutes.
- Cool on a metal rack for 10 minutes, and then carefully remove from sheet pan and continue cooling on wire rack.
- Give the chicks eyes with food coloring markers if you’d like.
And put it all together
Now to assemble all your Easter cake ideas into one glorious masterpiece.
“We got a store-bought chocolate bunny and made him the centerpiece,” Bernard says. “Put a wooden skewer in the middle of the cake and cover it with frosting, then lean the bunny against it to hold him in place. Decorate around him with a mix of store-bought candy and meringues—you can use green buttercream to make grass and fill in any little holes.”
To add the candy brushstrokes, Bernard “started at the base—put a little squirt of frosting at the bottom of the brushstroke and fanned them up the side of the cake. You can stick them in the top of the cake, too.”
As we pointed out in our other post, Bernard and Kelly again remind us that “the fridge is your friend.” If anything starts to go wrong—the cake splits or crumbs get out of control, or your decorations slip or slide—stick the whole thing in the refrigerator and have a glass of wine.
Love it, but not so sure you’re up for this level of detail? You might want to try our modern ombre Easter cake. Either way you decide to slice it, we’d love to see your Easter cake ideas! Share with us on Facebook or @think.make.share on Instagram.
Photography by Lindsey M. and Amy S.