As a child, my mother and siblings and I would make a bunny cake every Easter. The cake was made from a Duncan Heines box and frosting, topped with sugary coconut dyed with food coloring, and decorated with jelly beans and Nestle chocolate chips. It was a gorgeous treat, and the cake would only last two days because the sheer sugary splendor of such a dessert was too much to resist, let alone practice any self-control.
This Easter, with my own four-year-old daughter in tow, I longed to recreate this wonderful cake from my youth; however, I was hesitant to do so because the aforementioned ingredients contain endocrine-disrupting agents, sugar, preservatives, chemicals, and glucose-altering substances. In short, I needed a better solution.
So, we consulted a number of recipes online and merged them together to accommodate our vision: paleo, no sugar, no gluten, no endocrine-disrupting dyes, no preservatives, and all clean whole organic ingredients.
Below is what we formulated, and if a child eating half a cake in two day's time is not a testament to its success, then I don't know what is.
Enjoy, and let us know how it turns out. We are always looking for ways to improve!
Ingredients for Coconut Cakes (for two 8-9 inch cake pans):
- 12 eggs
- 2 cups coconut milk (I used this)
- 2 cup coconut flour, plus 1 tablespoon for flouring the pan
- 2/3 cup honey or other prefferred natural sweetener
- 2 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- coconut oil for greasing the pan
Ingredients for Coconut Honey Frosting (Paleo/Vegan):
- 1 cup cold pressed palm shortening
- 3/4 cup (approximately half a can) full fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
Ingredients for Coconut Bunny Fur:
- 5-6 bags of unsweetened shredded organic coconut
- maple syrup
- Party Colors from Nature (blue, yellow, red natural dyes) or Watkins natural food coloring kit
Candy Topping Recommendations:
- Lily's Chocolate Chips (Non-GMO, raw cacao, gluten free, sugar free)
- Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans (Non-GMO, organic, corn syrup free, vegan)
Instructions for Cakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease and flour the pan, then set aside.
- Beat the eggs, coconut milk and honey with the vanilla extract until smooth and frothy.
- Add the coconut flour, baking soda and salt, and mix until a smooth and firm batter forms.
- Spoon the batter into the pan or tin, smooth the top with the back of a spoon, or make rustic swirls.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cake is beginning to brown on top and a toothpick tester comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool completely. Once cool, take one of the cakes and slice two bunny ears on either side in a tree leaf shape, allowing the middle portion to serve as the bunny's bow tie.
- Assemble circle as the bunny's head, and arrange bunny ears and bow tie.
Instructions for Frosting:
- Note: Do not frost your cakes until cakes are completely cool. Otherwise frosting will slide off the cakes like melting glaciers!
- Note: Make the frosting to use immediately on day of serving, or else apply to cake and then store entire bunny cake in fridge to preserve icing.
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low for about 30 seconds.
- Scrape down sides of bowl and continue beating on high until the frosting is fluffy and thickened.*
- The frosting will “break” when you first start mixing it. Just keep going and it will eventually come back together and be light and fluffy like whipped cream.
- Apply frosting to bunny cake.
Instructions for Sweetening and Dyeing Coconut Bunny Fur:
- Set out three mixing bowls. In the first bowl, add 1 packet of the unsweetened shredded coconut (this is for the bunny's ears and bow tie). In the second and third bowls add 2 packets each of the shredded coconut (this is for the green grass and the bunny's body, respectively).
- Add maple syrup to taste to each bowl, mixing the syrup and coconut with clean hands or a spoon until you have reached desired sweetness.
- Add in food coloring: pink for ears and bow tie, green for grass, and no dye for bunny's body. Mix food coloring into shredded coconut until well mixed.
- Sprinkle the entire bunny cake with white shredded coconut.
- To decorate rest of bunny, see instructions for decorating below.
Instructions for Decorating
- Use chocolate chips to outline bunny's inner ears and bow tie.
- Sprinkle pink shredded coconut inside the chocolate chip border for ears and bow tie.
- Sprinkle green shredded coconut (grass) around the bunny cake.
- Use jelly beans to make eyes, nose, and smile.
- Use chocolate chips to fashion whiskers.