Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bunny Cakes

Over the last few years, the girls have really enjoyed making Rice Krispie bird nests for Easter and begged for us to do them again this year.  However, a good friend posted the most adorable bunny-shaped cakes on Facebook, and I knew we should try something brand new this year.  They turned out pretty cute, and a couple of people asked me to make a tutorial on how to make them.

They are cute... they are bunnies... what's not to LOVE?!

So the best part about these little guys is that you do not need a special pan, just a regular round pan.  We ended up using store bought cake mix, store bought frosting, and strawberry jelly from the fridge for a filling.  First cook two round cakes.  It is easiest if you remove them from the pan while they are still warm.

The best thing to do now is let them cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap, then put in the freezer for a few hours, or even over night.  The next day pull them out of the freezer and place the first cake "round" side down, flat side up.  Spread a glob of jelly and spread around to almost the edges

Spread a glob of jelly and spread around to almost the edges.

Take the other cake and place it flat side down on top of this cake.  The two flat sides will be together for this.  Normally a regular double round cake you would not do this, because it would make the top and bottom of the cake curve.  However, we are standing each half of this up on it's end, so rounded bunny haunches will be just fine.  At this point, the cake is still pretty frozen.  You can take a large knife and cut right through both layers of cake

Each half of this cake can make one bunny cake

Now we want to turn this cake up on it's end.  I put a strip of wax paper under our first attempt, which turned out pretty tricky to pull out later on.  I would recommend putting this half circle right on whatever you are going to serve it on and frost it from there.  Now that the cake is up on it's side, we need to "carve" the bunny shape out.  Starting a little past center, and with a sharp knife, carve down into the cake right where bunny ears might go.  Leaving a section at the bottom to become the "face" of the bunny.

Don't throw away the piece you cut away, flip it upside-down and place it at the back end of the bunny to create the "tail" area.  Now comes the frosting.  We were in a rush and just decided to use the store bought frosting from the can.  This can be a bit messy as there really isn't a way to do an efficient "crumb coat".  Because the cake is semi/frozen, frosting is a tiny bit easier.  It's still akward though, just because the shape of the cake is so odd.

After you have a good layer of frosting on, take a knife and smooth it over.  Another option is to immediately press sweetened coconut over the whole thing to mimic bunny fur.  The girls are not big fans of coconut, so frosting it is.  We repeated the steps because we wanted both a brown bunny and a white bunny

Here's a good shot of the round parts of the cake on the outside, with the flat parts of both cakes on the inside.  Reminds me of big giant hamburger.

We got smart on the second one, and place the cut half right where we were going to serve it.  I put small strips of wax paper underneath so we could frost without making a mess on the serving tray, and the small strips are easier to pull out after you are done frosting.

Cut the same shape out and frost the same way.  While those are sitting, you can make bunny ears.  We just used construction paper and cut an ear shape the same colors as our bunnies, then glued a slightly smaller ear shape in pink for the center of the ears

Next we took the ears and taped them to the ends of toothpicks.  We did this so paper would not be resting on frosting and soaking up moisture.  This way the ears would last over night and survive travel time the next day to grandmas without getting mushy near the frosting.

My daughter was the one that wanted to make a bunny face.  She thought toothpicks would make great whiskers.

The brown and white bunny were for Easter, the blue bunny the girls made for our dessert that night
We placed the ears above the head line, and they worked perfectly.  We used two regular sized chocolate chips (with the tips pointing in) to make round bunny eyes, and we used a large candy corn flavored MnM (left over from Halloween) but any round candy will work for a nose.  You could also use a pink jelly bean.  After that we pulled out the wax paper from the bottom so our little blue bunny was sitting proudly on our cake plate.

We then gave the brown bunny her face

And the white bunny her face

You can't see it, but we put rainbow sprinkles on the white bunny's tail, and we put chocolate jimmy sprinkles on the brown bunnies tail.  All in all these were a big hit at the family Easter dinner the next day!

These are so cute for Easter, but would be equally adorable at a bunny themed birthday party or ladies spring tea function.  I also realized with just a few tweaks here and there, these could easily be converted into car or VW bug shaped cakes.  Have fun cake carving, remember, if the cake is frozen, it will be a lot easier to cut and frost!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Color Coordinated Egg Hunt

Well I don't know what your Easter Bunny was up to last year, but ours had a absolutely BRILLIANT idea about a color coordinated Easter Egg Hunt.

A color coordinated Easter Egg hunt is the way to go!
Not only did it solve a number of problems due to the age differences between cousins... but the kids had a BLAST!!

A color coordinated Easter egg hunt.  Each kid was able to find their favorite colored eggs.
In the past, on a regular Easter egg hunt, we have had some issues with the older kids getting a lot more eggs than the smaller ones.  Either that or the older ones would pick up the really easy ones because they were quick to grab, rather than leaving them for the 5-year old to find.  Well this year, the Easter bunny left a note for all the kids:

Each of them was assigned a specific egg color.  This was fun because the Easter bunny happened to know what each kid's favorite color was.  Jacob, for example, loves all things orange (if you can't tell), and the Easter Bunny had assigned him all the orange eggs.

Avelyn's favorite color in the whole wide world is purple... so she got all the purple eggs assigned to her

Here is Avelyn in action now.. she was hard to photograph in her "natural" setting of a full sprint.

Eva finding pink ones (they match her bunny AND her dress):

While Viv finds the blue ones (cause they match her eyes - the Easter Bunny KNOWS!!)

This also made it so the Easter Bunny could put the older kid's colored eggs in the more camouflaged or hard to reach/taller places.  Gabe really had to work to find some of his more challenging green eggs.

We could not believe how well this type of hunt turned out!  We even had kids helping each other find their colored eggs.  It was amazing.

A good time was had by all at our color coordinated Easter egg hunt
We loved how the Easter egg hunt turned into an absolute success!  We had kids helping kids, big kids helping little kids.  Little kids spotting eggs and pointing them out to the older kids... AND everyone got about the same number of eggs in their favorite colors!

It was a win win for everybody.   So if you have a big group of family or cousins that get together for a big Easter dinner and an egg hunt, have your Easter Bunny try out a color coordinated one this year and watch the fun and camaraderie commence!  We will definitely be doing a color coordinated event this year and every year to follow.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Snickerdoodle Breakfast Puffs

If we have a little extra time on Saturday mornings, one of the favorite things my girls and I like to do is watch the Pioneer Woman.  They love watching all about her horses, farm animals, kids, and the recipes she whips up on the ranch.  We were actually watching an older episode where Ree was making something called "French Breakfast Puffs", and I could tell just by the look in my oldest daughter's eyes she was dying to test out that recipe.  Like, right that very second.  So into the kitchen we went to surprise daddy with a home-baked tasty treat!

Snickerdoodle Breakfast Puffs - or French Breakfast Puffs from the Pioneer Woman
I happen to have all of Ree's cookbooks, and we found the French Puffs recipe in the first one.  Did I mention that all my books are now personally signed by the Pioneer Woman herself?  That's right!  Last December I was able to meet Ree in person when she came to our town.  I shall blog about that soon, but you must know, she is as sweet and kind in person as she comes across in her show!  All of that, and she makes some pretty delicious food!  We got so excited about making this recipe I even forgot to take pictures until the dough was already in the muffin tin.  No need to fret though, Ree has the play by play picture recipe posted on her blog in case you want to make these bad boys yourself.  Once you get the dough ready, you scoop in generously into a 12-muffin tin.

This dough is nice and thick - easy to use an ice cream scoop to get it into the pan
Bake at 350ยบ for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  These baked up huge! Enormous actually.  Come to think of it, the next time we make this recipe, I am totally going to make these in a few mini muffin pans.  That way you can pop them in your mouth like a little sugary donut hole.

Next, while they are cooling a bit on the stove top, mix in a bowl 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon.

Mix sugar and cinnamon until blended, and at the same time, melt two sticks of butter in another glass bowl in the microwave.

Making an assembly line, roll the muffin completely in the melted butter and quickly roll around in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  This was a bit messy and I must appologize there was no real way to snap a pic with my camera of the dipping process, mostly because my hand was coated in cinnamon and sugar the second I started.

Mmmm delicious Snickerdoodle puffs
Most of my muffins were so big that I ended up cutting them in half to make smaller portions.  The butter made a nice way for the sugar and cinnamon to stick and coat the whole thing.  Seriously.  These were so good!  We could not get over how much they tasted like a snickerdoodle cookie.

We stored these is a plastic container with a lid and they lasted for a few mornings of breakfasts, and come to think of it, bed time snacks to boot!  Ree also said you can freeze these up and defrost them as needed.  We can not wait to make these again in mini muffin size. Here's a link to her recipe one more time.   Enjoy

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