Jan Norris: Food and Florida

Food, Restaurants, Recipes and Pre-Disney Florida

Jan Norris: Food and Florida header image 1

Blast from the Past: Easter Bunny Cake – Baker’s Coconut Patterns

April 3rd, 2010 · 14 Comments

Easter Bunny Cake /photo courtesy Andreasrecipes.com

I can’t remember when these cakes became wildly popular – the ’40s and ’50s most likely, but Baker’s Coconut – once upon a time the only brand of shredded coconut available to home cooks, produced these cake patterns for Easter.

Adorable, simple – made from two 9-inch cake rounds strategically cut and decorated – they always make kids smile. You can make them any flavor you like – a deep chocolate makes them taste like a Mounds candy bar, kinda; German chocolate, lemon or good old yellow cakes work, of course.

This is a great kids’ cooking project – they are terrific at decorating – even littlest ones can sprinkle on coconut and place the mouth and jellybeans.

Tips for bunny cake making

The cake is cut from two 9-inch layers. (See patterns right, and below.) I think it looks best if the cake is made 2-layers deep, so you’ll need to bake four 9-inch layers (two boxes if you’re making from boxed mix) and double the frosting below.

  • If you’re making a chocolate cake, remember to brush off the crumbs then brush on a sugar-syrup before icing (thin out a little corn syrup with water to the consistency of thin pancake syrup and paint on with a small paintbrush), so the black crumbs don’t migrate to the pristine white frosting.
  • Good luck finding licorice whips for whiskers, but you can snip your own from Twizzlers sticks, or pipe some black or other colored icing on the cake instead.
  • Chicklet gum pieces make great rabbit teeth.
  • Color the coconut by putting the coconut in a bowl; use a few drops of paste or powder food coloring and toss well with two forks to get the desired shade. Divide coconut into small bowls for coloring small amounts and take it easy on food coloring.
  • Give the bunny “cheeks,” as the baby bunny cake at right, with a round circle of pink coconut.

    Created by Melissa at Sillybeeschickadees blog

  • Part of the fun is all the jellybeans – so make lots of “grass” with the green-tinted coconut so you can “hide” the beans or little foil-wrapped chocolate eggs along the edge under the cake. The kids love it.

Sticky frosting to make the coconut stay

Check below for the 7-minute frosting recipe you’ll need – and a warning: It’s very sticky stuff. This is one frosting where you do NOT lift the beaters to spin off the excess, unless you just want to hose down your kitchen with hot water. Don’t use buttercream – please! I’ll let you cheat and use a box mix, but Seven-minute (also called White Mountain) frosting is just The Right Thing to Do!

7-Minute Frosting

  • 1 -1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 extra-large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Put sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place top pan over boiling water, being sure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy).

Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer, making sure to beat to the bottom of pan, for 7 minutes, or until peaks are glossy and hold stiff peaks. Remove from heat.  Beat in vanilla.

Spread on cakes. (Pat or sprinkle the coconut on using fingertips full of coconut while icing is still sticky.) Cover icing with a damp paper towel if leaving it stand for a while or it will begin to set up.

Makes enough for two 9-inch cake layers or about 18 cupcakes. If you double the icing, make sure you use a large mixing bowl to hold the volume of icing that results; otherwise, make it in two separate batches.

Tips: To spread on a cake, first crumb the cake well. Use a basting brush to coat the cake layers with a little corn syrup thinned with water to the consistency of thin syrup; this sets the crumbs. Use a spoon to dollop mounds of icing around the cake and spread using smooth strokes without lifting spatula. Dip the spatula in hot water to smooth the icing and prevent sticking. The iced cakes freeze well.

Tags: Baking: Cheap therapy · Holiday cooking · Kids' Cooking · Recipes: What's Cooking!

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 G. Shearwood // Apr 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I have used the above diagram for making a bunny cake since it appeared in This Week Magazine March 31, 1968. It certainly makes a cuter cake than the patterns that you find today.

  • 2 Susan Button // Apr 20, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I am so excited that I found this pattern. I used to make this cake every year and haven’t made it for at least 20 years. I want to make it for my great niece this Easter!!! I remembered most of the directions, but not all.

    Thank you again!

  • 3 Jan Norris // Apr 21, 2011 at 8:51 am

    So glad you all like it – I remember it from my childhood, too – seeing in magazines till a friend made it for her young sons. I thought it was cute, but the kids really went for it.

  • 4 Melissa at Silly Bee's Chickadees // Apr 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    This post is so much fun! I’m about to write one to show how I made the baby bunny cake. I had no idea it was going to be such a hit! Would you mind adding a link on the picture back to my blog and put an annotation under it? I would really appreciate it. The original photo can be found on my flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/melgarza/


  • 5 Mary Lou Taylor // Sep 4, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I am so glad I found this cake pattern, a friend made this cake every Easter she was 89 yo and had made it for over 50 years. She passed away this summer and I was trying to remember the pattern she described but I did not write it down so I was missing a lot of the details.
    I will be starting this tradition with my first gran-daughter and always remember mother Vera in heaven.

  • 6 Gayle // Apr 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    When my kids were little, I used to make this cake at Easter and I’d forgotten exactly how to do it. I was delighted to find this pattern on the net. We’re invited to friends for dinner and I thought I’d do this to take as a dessert. Thanks so much for putting it here again!

  • 7 Lynn // Mar 31, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I remember a recipe for Easter Bunny cake that was in McCalls’ magazine back in the 1960’s. I begged my mother to make it but she said it was too much trouble. I had forgotten all about it until now. My first grandchild will be arriving in June and when she is old enough to eat the bunny cake, I will make it for her. (PS — My mother was a good woman and I loved her dearly but she didn’t enjoy cooking.)

  • 8 gimjan // Apr 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I am making the cake again this year even with my grandchildren some married & all past hi school.
    I make the “easy” one; one “layer” for face with cutout ears & bowtie. All are always excited to see it as my children remember it from the 70’s. I have the original “hardcopy” pic/directions from a magazine which has a coupon attached that expires march 31, 1975.

  • 9 Sharon // Dec 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    i have the original magazine page from 1968!

  • 10 Cathy // Mar 19, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    I saved this receipe for over 45 yrs. Now I have grand children and I’m going to make this again for them for Easter. I did not however have the 7 minute frosting receipe. Now I do. Can’t wait to surprise them on Easter. Thanks for the memories.

  • 11 kathy h // Mar 24, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Misplaced my book and couldn’t remember the exact directions for the cut-out.THANK YOU.

  • 12 Eli // Jul 30, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    So so glad i found this old post!! I have a client who wants me to replicate the cake from his wife’s 6th birthday photo to surprise her for her 50th birthday! Such an awesome idea! And the bunny pattern with the feet is the one in the photo. You made my job even easier! As I was having a hard time figuring out the pattern to cut the cakes. Thank you so so much!!!

  • 13 Susan Ainsworth // Mar 27, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    I have made this cake many times over the years! A family favorite but thru a recent move have lost the recipe book that I had ordered years ago! So happy to see this! I made many many cakes from the book. Do you know if one can still get a copy of the book?!!

  • 14 Jennifer Renee Weaver // Mar 20, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    My mom used to make this cake for my birthday each year when I was little due to it being close to Easter. I’m making it this year, I asked my mom to make me one but she said I was on my own. It’s only been 35 years or so.

Leave a Comment