Most years my birthday is well after Easter. So usually by the time I’m thinking birthday cake, I’m so over bunnies and eggs and pastels and spring. But not this year! So I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and make a birthday cake that was also Easter-y! I had dozens of my favorite bunny cookies and thought I’d make a pastel cake adorned with pink and white bunny cookies, pastel watercolor buttercream and a white chocolate sail. And then I accidentally made this. My creative process is what some might call chaotic, but I prefer the term “experimentally unhinged”.
Part of the problem is my obsession with Earl Grey flavors. I pretty much want them in everything, and it’s my birthday for crying out loud. There has to be Earl Grey. Well, getting nice light, bright pastel hues when you’ve steeped everything in tea is no small feat. I actually think it’s impossible because every time I try everything looks like it sat in front of a window at your grandma’s house for 40 years. Is there a color called “old doily”? That’s what everything looks like if you steep it in tea.
The other problem is that I don’t really like pastels. And it’s my birthday for crying out loud. But I do like chocolate. And chocolate cake plays nicely with tea. And so does chocolate ganache. Six layers of chocolate cake with Earl Grey ganache? Yes please! So I started to form a new plan that involved a more natural scene for my bunnies. I’d use the white bunny cookies! And also add some meringue mushrooms.
And maybe some cocoa dirt! First I made the mushrooms. After some trial and error, which was mostly error, I got some very cute button mushrooms and some sassy red amanitas. I used a bit of pearl sugar for the spots on the amanitas and a bit of cocoa to accent the tops of the button mushrooms. Yay!
But cocoa dirt on chocolate frosting was no not making me feel feelings of delight. I’m pretty sure it would have looked dull and blah and yuck. Which is not what you want on your special day. You want everything to be squee-level delightful. So I decided to make some coconut moss (recipe below). It’s super easy to tint coconut and I had a bag of finely shredded unsweetened that worked out perfectly. I dyed it two colors to make it look more “mossy”, then combined them.
Unfortunately when I put the white bunny next to the mushrooms and moss, I was just not feeling it. So I made some mossy bunnies and eggs. They are adorable and elegant and delicious. But they just didn’t look right with the other elements. So my bunny cake has no bunnies, pobrecita. But it does have charming dark chocolate logs and bark.
I made that by spreading melted chocolate on my faux bois (woodgrain) texture mat, letting it cool a bit, then rolling it into a tube lengthwise and securing it with rubber bands. After a few minutes in the freezer I had some lovely woodgrain logs to add some height and texture and fancy-ness to my cake. I also made some irregular mossy pieces by sprinkling melted chocolate with my edible moss.
Putting it all together was easy. The only tricky part was cutting a few of the mushroom tops into conks and fitting them to the curve of the log. There’s a fungus among us! I did manage to stick my arm into the front edge of the cake while I was moving some of the moss around. I also decided, halfway through taking pictures, that the tall log on the top needed some company. I think it looks better that way, but you tell me! This cake was so cute it felt sort of mean to eat it. But we got over it real quick when I remembered that I’d brushed all six layers with Earl Grey simple syrup. Because #earlgreyeverything. This was so rich and flavorful that we managed to get 12 servings out of it, even though it was a tiny 6 inch cake.