On the Friday before the Jubilee bank holiday weekend, my boss asked me where he could get a custom made cake for his wife’s birthday – the following Monday.
Unsurprisingly, the local bakery said it was too short notice, so I offered to make one, even though it was the same weekend I had to make my competition cakes AND a secret birthday cake for the pony – I do like a challenge!
He said he wanted a rabbit cake as his wife, Debs, loves bunnies. When I searched on Google I couldn’t find anything that looked like what I wanted so I kind of just made it up, but I think it turned out well so in case anyone else should ever need to make one, here’s how I did it!
You will need:
- 1 x 9″ round chocolate cake
- 1 x 7″ round chocolate cake
- chocolate fudge icing
- white chocolate buttercream
- 25g white chocolate for decoration
- 14″ cake board
- baking paper, a pen/pencil, a knife and spatula
Start by making sure both cakes are level and roughly the same height as each other. Turn them over, so the already flat and even bottom is on top.
I found it helped me to make templates of the shapes I was going to cut out so I made a 9″ round out of baking paper, then cut it straight across the bottom, about an inch and a half from the edge of the circle. Lay it on top of the 9″ cake, then cut along the line. Don’t throw away the bit you’ve cut off, you’ll need it later!
Place the 9″ cake on the cake board with the flat side near the bottom of the board – this will be the body of the rabbit. Lay strips of baking paper along all sides to make it neater when it comes to icing.
Take the piece of cake you cut from the body, then cut it an an angle as in the picture below – the smaller bit will make the rabbit’s from feet.
Place the feet on the board by the body.
Take the 7″ cake and trim it to about 5.5″ diameter – I drew around a cereal bowl for the template.
Once you’ve got a smaller circle of cake, it’s going to be cut into three pieces, as shown on the template below.
Use the 9″ cake tin to draw around to create the oval on the right, then just draw the line on the right freehand. Cut the cake according to the template.
Take the middle of the cake and place it next to the body of the rabbit to make the head.
Then take the oval you cut off and lie it above the head, pointing backwards to make the ears.
Take your leftover scraps of cake and crumble them up in a bowl. Add in a tablespoon of the chocolate icing, and squeeze it into a ball – this can be used as the rabbit’s tail.
Apply a thin layer of chocolate icing all over the rabbit, and a thin layer or white buttercream on the tail. Transfer the cake to the fridge for 10 minutes for it to firm up.
Spread the rest of the icing all over the cake using a spatula, getting it as smooth as you can, then add an oval shaped eye with the white icing and pupil with a little dot of the chocolate icing. Remove the paper from underneath.
To finish the cake, melt the white chocolate and pipe on a nose, whiskers, and any birthday message. Rabbit cake done!
The sponge cake and chocolate icing recipe I used for this is my go-to chocolate fudge cake recipe from Joanna Farrow’s ‘Chocolate’. The white chocolate buttercream I made up with what I had on hand!.
For the cake:
- 250ml buttermilk
- 125g plain chocolate
- 125g butter or margarine
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 300g self raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Cream together the butter and sugar then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve the dry ingredients into the cake and fold until well combined. Beat in half of the buttermilk, then the melted chocolate and remaining buttermilk.
Divide between a greased and lined 9″ tin and 7″ tin. Bake at 160 degrees for 25-30 minutes – the smaller cake will cook a bit quicker than the large one, but they should be risen, springy to the touch and a skewer should come out with just a few fudgy crumbs.
Chocolate fudge icing:
- 250g dark chocolate
- 125g butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 5 tbsp milk
Heat the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Leave until completely melted, then remove from the heat, stir once and beat in the sugar and milk until well mixed. Leave to cool until a spreadable consistency.
White chocolate buttercream
- 50g butter
- 25g white chocolate
- 100g icing sugar
Beat the butter to soften, then add the melted chocolate and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add a little more sugar or milk if you want it thicker/thinner in consistency.