Chocolate bunnies are a quintessential Easter treat. Perhaps it’s a sign of narcissism on the Easter Bunny’s part; he finds himself so good-looking that he slips a candy replica of himself into all Easter baskets. Regardless of how chocolate bunnies came to be, they have turned into a beloved (and delicious) tradition. Let’s be honest, there isn’t much to dislike about a good ol’ chocolate bunny. I mean, it’s a giant hunk of creamy chocolate in the shape of an adorable rabbit.
Because the chocolate bunny is such a central part of Easter, I thought: why not take it one step further, elevating it from a cute gift in your Easter basket to a dessert centerpiece? That iconic chocolate bunny shape was just begging to be carved into a cake and decorated accordingly. So, I took my love for chocolate bunnies and my love for cake and forged the cutest treat this side of the rabbit hole: A Chocolate Bunny Cake.
Here comes Peter Chocolate Tail…Hoppin’ down the bunny trail…Hippity, hoppity dessert is on its way!
This festive dessert looks exactly like a chocolate bunny from its recognizable shape to its classic blue and yellow eye. It even has a glossy coating of milk chocolate so that you can’t tell if it’s cake or candy until you slice through. It’s mind-blowing!
The Chocolate Cake cradled inside of the smooth chocolate is some of the best you’ll ever have. I’ve tried others, but this is the one I come back to again and again. It’s so incredibly moist and decadent that you will never, ever want another cake. It is that good, my little cookies.
Couple that rich, chocolatey cake with some creamy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and the smooth Milk Chocolate Coating, and you’ve got one tasty bunny. It is a chocolate lover’s paradise, better than a plain ol’ chocolate bunny any day.
Plain chocolate < chocolate, chocolate cake, and chocolate frosting
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- I did my best to describe the process of creating this cake, but you’ll get a much clearer understanding by watching the video. Everything is put into a visual form, which is much more helpful than any written directions are going to be.
- Work with your fondant quickly. As it sits, the air will dry it out and make it crack as you try to shape it.
- Similarly, work with the chocolate coating quickly. You only have a few minutes to spread it out and make it look smooth before it sets.
- You can break this process into 2-days if you wish. Make the cake and frosting the day before (store the frosting in the fridge in an air-tight container, and store the cake in a cool room in an air-tight container). The next day, carve and decorate the cake.
Chocolate Bunny Cake
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 1 9×13-inch pan of Chocolate Cake, recipe follows (or you may use your own recipe)
- 1 batch Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
- 1 batch Chocolate Candy Coating, recipe follows
- Pink fondant
- Yellow Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing (the kind that comes with piping tips)
- Blue Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing
- Pink Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing
- Optional: pink luster dust, for dusting the bow
For the Chocolate Cake
Cake recipe from The Pastry Queen
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup regular cocoa powder
- 4 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Buttercream
Buttercream recipe from Savory Sweet Life
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened (but not melted!)
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
For the Chocolate Candy Coating
- 24 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
Special Equipment: parchment paper, cake knife, rolling pin
- Make the Chocolate Cake (Note: You will have extra batter, enough for 1 round 8-inch pan. You can either cut the recipe in half or bake the extra cake and freeze for later use): Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter, water, and oil until butter is melted. Remove from heat and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the sugar, cocoa powders, and flour. Whisk in the butter mixture until completely smooth. Then whisk in the eggs one at a time, followed by the buttermilk. Finally, whisk in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Pour into the rectangular pan until 3/4 full and pour excess batter into a round 8-inch cake pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the rectangular cake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You may bake the extra round cake as well, if you’re using it.
- Let cake cool on wire racks for an hour. Then carefully invert the cake onto a cutting board lined with wax or parchment paper. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, you can make a pattern/template for your cake. Cut parchment paper to be equal in size to your cake. Use the parchment paper and a pencil to draw the shape you want. The bunny should be ear-less and tail-less. This will allow you to maximize the size of your bunny because once you’ve cut out the body, you can use the scraps to cut ears and a tail. Reference a picture or an actual chocolate bunny to make it easier. Carefully cut out the shape and set aside.
- Once the cake is completely cool, place your pattern on the cake and carefully carve out the shape. You may do this freehand without a template if you desire, but there’s less chance for error this way. Once the shape has been completely carved out, remove the pattern and gently pull away the scrap edges. Do not break apart or get rid of the extras. You will use these to make the ears and tail.
- Freehand carve out the ears (or you may cut another pattern to follow, if you wish). The “ears” are really one ear; you will only cut one piece for them (not two separate pieces). It should be in the shape of a long oval with a flat bottom. However, cut the bottom to be slightly curved so that it will better fit the bunny’s head. Once you have the ears cut, cut out a round tail. It should be in the shape of a circle with one straight edge. Pop the bunny into the freezer for a few moments while you make the frosting.
- Make the Chocolate Buttercream: Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time. (I used about 2 additional tablespoons).
- Remove the bunny from the freezer. At this point, make sure you have the cake on whatever surface you plan to serve it on. You will not want to move it after decorating. Use about a tablespoon of frosting to “glue” the ear piece and the tail into place. Then scrape the rest of the frosting out of the bowl and onto the bunny cake. Use a spatula, cake knife, or bowl scraper to spread it out evenly atop the cake. Do not frost the sides. Place the cake back in the freezer.
- Make the Chocolate Candy Coating: in a medium saucepan over low heat, melt together the butter and chocolate. Continue to stir constantly until completely melted or the chocolate will burn. Remove from heat.
- Take the cake out of the freezer. Pour the melted chocolate over the bunny and use a spatula to spread it out smoothly and evenly. Let the chocolate fall over the sides. Smooth the top first, then the edges. Work quickly because the chocolate will solidify and no longer be workable after a few minutes. Once the cake is evenly covered in chocolate, use a toothpick to lightly draw on the traditional chocolate bunny markings: a hind foot, where the the butt meets the tail, an a separation of the ear piece into two ears. Put the bunny back into the freezer until the chocolate is completely set up.
- Make the bow (the video is extremely helpful for this process): roll the fondant out as thin as you can make it without tearing. Cut out four 1/2-inch wide, 4-inch long strips. Form one strip into a loop (like a bracelet) and connect the ends. Put the ends on the bottom (so the “ugly” part is hidden). Take another strip and wrap it around the center of the loop tightly, like you’re cutting off its circulation. Attach the two ends of the strip at the bottom and cut off any excess. Attach the final two strips to one another to form a triangle. Finally, stick the loop-bow on top of the triangle. Brush on a layer of pink luster dust (if you’re using it). Cut down the last two strips if they’re too long.
- Take the cake out of the freezer and stick the bow to the bunny’s neck. You may use frosting to attach it, but mine stuck well enough on its own.
- Use the yellow cupcake frosting fitted with the regular circle tip to make a small yellow dot to represent the bunny’s eye. Use the blue frosting to dot a smaller pupil atop the yellow eye. Use the yellow, pink, and blue frosting fitted with the star tip and/or the leaf tip to make small flowers by the bunny’s tail.
- Voila! Store bunny covered in fridge and remove 10 minutes before serving so that it may come to room temperature.