This cake is one of Dad’s childhood memories.
It’s your sister, actually, who taught me about making a good cake.
See? She’s been baking cakes for awhile.
She is quite the cook, having her first job at the Gourmet Tiger, then cooking for campers at Camp Marannook, and also selling donuts at D Square. She could write this blog as easily as I, if her days weren’t so full of other wonderful things.
She taught me that sour cream is the trick to making a boxed cake mix have a little more ummph and substance. You’ll need 1 cup of it.
You’ll also need 1/2 cup vegetable oil,
and 1 tsp. vanilla.
Mix all of these together with an electric mixer. Set it on low for 1 minute. Then scrape down the sides with a spatula and mix again on medium for about two minutes.
Then put a round cake pan on top of them and trace around the bottom .
Cut through both layers of wax paper so that you have two circles of the same size.
Put one in each pan.
Pour half the batter in one pan, half in the other.
Then bake in a 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cakes feel spongy and bounce back when you touch them.
Check to see if the butter you set on the counter earlier feels soft to the touch. If not, microwave it just a bit. I think I did 6 seconds, and it was enough. You really, really don’t want to melt the butter at all. Nothing liquid. The butter needs to keep it’s shape, just be soft enough to mix.
Beat the 1 1/2 sticks butter with the wire mixer attachment until it is creamy.
Add 5 2/3 cups powdered sugar,
4 1/2 Tbsp. milk, and
2 tsp. vanilla.
Mix on the lowest setting at first, or powdered sugar will go everywhere. I may or may not have had to wipe down half the kitchen after starting the frosting on a high speed. Let’s just say you can trust me on this.
Once it gets started, bump the mixer up to high so that you get a light, fluffy frosting. You’ll need to scrape down the sides with a spatula to get everything mixed well. You can add a little more milk if it is too stiff. The way to know if it’s “too stiff” is by testing whether you can spread it easily with a spatula or knife.
You’ll need a large pan or board for the cake. I think a large, wooden cutting board would look nice, but mine isn’t big enough.
Since I used a pan, I covered it with foil.
Then you run a butter knife along the edges of the first cake to help release it for easy removal and place the cake on the pan. This will be the bunny’s face. You should position it so that you have room for ears above and a bow tie below the head.
To make these things, cut the second cake to resemble the lines on a basketball. The outside pieces are the ears. The inside is the bow tie.
I worked on the bow tie a bit to cut it into a more accurate bow tie shape.
This will be no trouble for y’all. You know all about bow ties!
Place the ears and bow tie on the pan.
Now you’ll do what is called a crumb coat. Put a few dollops of frosting here and there and spread them thinly all over the cake. Don’t worry about lots of crumbs showing through. (That’s why this is called a crumb coat!!) Just get it completely covered. And can I say right here that it is very entertaining to have a young man setting up domino tricks along one’s work space? I loved it, John!
Then let the cake set for 15 minutes or so to “dry” the crumb coat. (You could leave it at this point even longer if you needed to do something else.)
I added 1 cup coconut to the icing before doing the final frosting to give it a furry rabbit look. And also because it tastes good. You can also sprinkle more coconut on top of the cake if you like.
Y’all gave me a great idea regarding the coconut, though. Since a couple of you don’t like it, some portions of the cake could be iced with plain frosting and the rest with coconut. Then people could choose what piece of cake they want to eat and have their preference. Next year we shall do this.
The next step is to finish frosting the cake with the remaining icing.
I called in the real expert to decorate the bunny. Since Dad grew up with this cake, it seemed best to let him be the decorator.
He said Twizzlers and jelly beans are the candy of choice to make it look just right.
Thanks, Lee and John, for helping him put it all together.
I think he turned out very dapper indeed.
I love you,