Like most people, many things in my life are far from perfect. Spring though, is perfect. There are blue skies, flowers blooming in abundance, bunnies scampering around near my home, and Easter is a few days away. What better time to make a dessert to celebrate the new life and hope all around us? My daughter took out her sketch pad and designed the most adorable mini bunny cakes for me. She’s a very talented artist, with an eye for the cuteness factor. To make the bunny cakes look like her sketch, I figured I would need a hemisphere baking pan to give them their cute, rounded shape.
When I was shopping around for hemisphere pans, also know as ball pans, I considered metal pans and silicone pans. In general, I prefer metal pans for baking cakes, but I decided on silicone, hoping to get more use out them. I plan on using them for frozen and refrigerated desserts as well. You can find hemisphere pans at kitchen stores, craft stores, baking supply stores and online. To find the pan I chose, click here.
My next dilemma was whether or not to coat the pans before baking. From what I’ve read, many people seem to have trouble getting their baked goods out of silicone pans, even though the majority of these pans claim to be non-stick. I decided to experiment, trying three different ways. I coated some of the wells with grease and flour, some with only grease, and some were left uncoated. I found that when I inverted the pan, the cakes released effortlessly from the coated wells. The cakes in the uncoated wells took a slight amount of prodding and a bit of residue was left behind, but the cakes were in tact. All three ways seem to work fine, but I decided that, for my own peace of mind, I will grease all of the wells in the future.
Decorating these bunny cakes is fun and easy, so this would make a great project to get the little ones helping out in the kitchen. You can use the candies of your choice to make eyes and noses. I used white candy pearls for the noses and colored them pink with edible petal dust. I made sleepy eyes out of black fondant. Black fondant is difficult to make, so I always buy it. It’s available for purchase in small quantities. To find black fondant, click here. I used edible wafer paper to make the bunny ears, but fondant would also work. A little puff of cotton candy makes a sweet tail. So many possibilities! Whether you make Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes for Easter, a child’s birthday party, a baby shower or simply to celebrate Spring, I hope you enjoy them!
Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes
Fluffy, moist mini hemisphere coconut cakes with coconut buttercream frosting, topped with shredded coconut.
Mini Coconut Cakes
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 2 silicone mini hemisphere pans. Place pans on large baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and oil together with an electric mixer at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Beat in coconut extract. Gradually beat in egg whites, until mixture is well combined, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with coconut milk, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Fill hemisphere pan wells, 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of cakes comes out clean.
Place silicone pans on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Invert pans to remove mini cakes and place on wire racks to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.
Add coconut extract and salt. Beat until combined.
Turn off mixer. Add powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until sugar is moistened, then turn up to medium speed and beat until combined.
Add coconut milk a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat at medium speed until buttercream is smooth.
Frost domed tops of mini cakes with a small offset spatula. Cover with shredded coconut, pressing lightly to adhere. Decorate as desired.
To make bunny ears, cut twenty-four 1 1/2-inch by 1-inch rectangles out of edible wafer paper. Cut each rectangle into a long football shape, flat at one end. Cut a 1/2-inch slit at the flat end. With a small paint brush, dab a bit of piping gel on one side of the slit. Overlap cut ends of the slit and press together with your fingers. Let dry. Brush pink petal dust into the center of the ears. Skip this step if you are using floral wafer paper. Cut small slits into the bunny cakes and insert the ears.
To make sleepy eyes, roll out a bit of black fondant to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut circles using the small end of a #12 piping tip. Cut thin crescent shapes from the circles using the small end of the piping tip. For easier handling, let eyes dry for a few minutes. If the coconut on your bunny cakes is still moist and tacky, the eyes will stick. If not, brush them with a small bit of water.
To make noses, use the candy of your choice, such as candy pearls or candy hearts. I used white candy pearls, brushed with edible pink petal dust.
To make tails, you can use cotton candy or mini marshmallows attached with a bit of buttercream. If using cotton candy, keep in mind that it melts when exposed to air, so it's best applied right before serving.
*Do not substitute all-purpose flour. For best results, weigh your dry ingredients.
**For best results, use natural coconut extract. Imitation coconut flavorings may give your baked goods an unpleasant flavor.
***If your coconut milk is separated when you open the can, simply place it in a blender to emulsify it before using.
To find the hemisphere pan I used, click here.
To find white edible wafer paper, click here. Floral wafer paper can be found on Etsy.