This is the ultimate dessert for an Easter gathering, a bunny-shaped cake coated with rich chocolate ganache.
This recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma.
- For the cake: 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- For the chocolate ganache: 1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 jelly bean
- 1 Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
- 2 To make the cake, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F. Grease and flour a bunny cake pan (available at "Williams Sonoma" stores); tap out excess flour.
- 3 Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- 4 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla just until incorporated, about 1 minute.
- 5 Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- 6 Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading the batter so the sides are higher than the center. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 38 minutes.
- 7 Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving or decorating.
- 8 To make the chocolate ganache, in a metal bowl, combine the chocolate and butter.
- 9 In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until they melt and the mixture is smooth.
- 10 Transfer 2/3 cup of the ganache to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature. Keep the remaining ganache warm and fluid by placing the bowl over but not touching barely simmering water in a small saucepan.
- 11 To assemble and decorate the cake, wash and thoroughly dry the pan, then return both halves of the cooled bunny cake to the pan. Level the cake by using a serrated knife to gently saw off the part of each cake half that rose above the edge of the pan.
- 12 Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, making sure it covers the edges of the pan, and set a wire cooling rack on the sheet. Place both cake halves, cut side down, on the rack. Remove any crumbs that fall off the cake onto the baking sheet. Slowly pour warm ganache over the halves, coating them completely. Tap the baking sheet to allow the excess ganache to drip off. Place the rack on another baking sheet or a piece of parchment paper. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the excess ganache from the lined baking sheet back into the bowl. Reheat over simmering water if it is not fluid. Set the rack on the lined baking sheet again and place the egg cake halves on the rack alongside the bunny. Pour warm ganache over the eggs.
- 13 Cut a jelly bean in half and attach the halves to the bunny to create the eyes. Place the baking sheet, with the rack still on top, in the refrigerator until the ganache has set and the cake halves are firm enough to handle, at least 30 minutes.
- 14 Place 1 bunny cake half, cut side up, in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil. The ganache on this side of the bunny may smudge a little. Using a small offset spatula, spread 1/2 to 2/3 cup of the room-temperature ganache over the cut side. Slide a metal spatula under the other cake half and carefully place the cake half on top of the other one. Press down on the jelly bean eye to help secure the halves. Use the foil to help turn the bunny upright, then squeeze the bunny on the jelly bean eyes, feet and tail to secure the halves. If there are any gaps in the seam, place a little warm ganache on a small offset spatula and fill in the gaps. Dab warm ganache on the areas where you squeezed the cake and on any other exposed areas. Soften any smudged areas by heating gently with a culinary torch.
- 15 Carefully slide a large metal spatula under the base of the bunny and transfer to a platter. Using the spatula, transfer the egg halves to the platter.