By: Julie R
It’s that time of year again! You can’t go anywhere without seeing all those cute little pastel-colored farm animals, but you won’t see me complaining… this means lots of delicious Easter chocolates! Whether you like Cadbury mini eggs, cream eggs, peeps, or any other egg-, bunny-, or chick-shaped delight, this holiday has something for everyone. This year, I decided to create my own version of the iconic Easter bunny and set him/her atop a fun little rainbow cupcake! The bunnies really do add the finishing touches to these adorable Easter creations – and they can’t help but bring a smile to your face!
This recipe is great because if you love to bake, you can make the cupcakes from scratch; however, if you are intimidated by baking or you are short on time, you can easily achieve the same result by using a white or yellow box cake mix with a few adjusted ingredients!
The process of creating the rainbow layers and making the bunnies is a little more time consuming than usual, but I think it is worth the result. The key to getting the distinct layers of color in this recipe is having a batter that isn’t too thin and can somewhat hold its form. I have tried it with different recipes and gotten varying results – when the batter is thinner, you get more of a tie-dye effect than the distinct layers of color. Either way, they come out looking pretty cool! I prefer to use gel food coloring since I find it gives a more saturated color than liquid food coloring – however, you can use either!
To make the bunnies, I used white chocolate Lindt truffles, melted white chocolate, melted semi-sweet chocolate, and pink candy buttons. You might be able to find the candy buttons at your local supermarket – if not, try checking out a candy store! They usually come as multi-colored dots stuck on a piece of paper. To make the ears and feet for the bunnies, you get to exercise your piping skills. Don’t worry if this isn’t one of your strengths, I make lots of little ears and feet and then pick the ones I like the best to use on the bunnies (you can use the leftovers as chocolate snacks). Once assembled, you will have some super cute cupcake toppers to finish off your Easter creations!
For the cupcakes:*
1 3/4 C cake flour**
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 3/4 C sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C butter, room temperature
1 C milk
2 tsp vanilla
food coloring (gel or liquid)
*Note: If you choose to use a box cake mix, substitute 1 cup of buttermilk for the water that is called for on the box, use the amount of vegetable oil called for on the box, and use 4 eggs instead of what is called for on the box. This will produce a batter that is slightly thicker than usual, but will achieve a better result for the rainbow layers.
**To make your own cake flour from all-purpose flour and cornstarch: for each cup of cake flour required, take 1 cup all-purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons of it and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch back in. Sift this mixture well. Now you have your cake flour!
For the bunnies:
Lindt white chocolate truffles (1 per bunny)
White chocolate baking bar** (1/2 oz is more than enough for 1 bunny)
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pink candy buttons (1 per bunny)
** White chocolate chips can be difficult to work with when melting and piping since they can contain very little cocoa butter, so I prefer to use white chocolate baking bar/squares.
Preparing the Batter:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake tins with liners.
2. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.
3. Combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in mixing bowl; stir together.
4. With mixer on low-speed, add butter (a few cubes at a time) into the dry mixture, until all butter has been added and the mixture resembles coarse sand.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, to mixture. Keep mixer at low-speed.
6. Add milk and vanilla. Beat mixture for 2 minutes at medium-speed, until batter is smooth. Scrape sides of bowl, as needed. The batter is ready for coloring!
Note: Vanilla Cupcake Recipe from Cookies & Cups
1. Divide batter evenly into smaller individual bowls – 1 bowl per color you plan to use (I used 6 colors).
2. Add food coloring to each bowl and mix thoroughly. The amount of food coloring will vary depending on whether you use gel (requires less) or liquid (requires more) food coloring and how saturated you want the color to be. This can be an iterative process – add food coloring, mix, check color, add more if you want, etc.
3. Starting with the color you want at the bottom (purple for me), spoon about 2 tsp into each cupcake liner. Once the liners are filled with the first color, I like to bang the cupcake tin lightly on the counter a few times to get rid of any bubbles and to help even out the layer.
4. Repeat this process with the next color (blue for me), spooning about 2 tsp of the batter on top of the previous layer. I like to try to keep it concentric (in a circle, centered on the previous layer). This helps give you clean, evenly distributed layers of color. Again, bang tin lightly to remove bubbles and flatten batter.
5. Continue this process until you have achieved all of your color layers. The cupcake liners should be about 2/3 full.Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).
6. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
7. Frost your cupcakes with your favorite frosting and decorate as desired! I used a vanilla frosting for these, but they would also be great with chocolate or cream cheese frosting – or really anything!
Easter Bunny Recipe
1. Unwrap the Lindt truffles and set them aside. You can make little nests out of the wrappers to help keep them from rolling away.
2. Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds; stir. Microwave in 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring between, until chocolate is melted and of a nice, smooth consistency.
3. Spoon melted white chocolate into piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can easily make one by taking a plastic ziploc/sandwich bag, filling it with the melted chocolate, and cutting off a tiny piece of one of the bottom corners (keep in mind that you will be piping relatively small objects, so you don’t want the hole to be too big). The ears, feet, and button nose will get attached to the truffle body using white chocolate.
4. Place wax paper on your work surface.
5. Pipe bunny ear and bunny feet shapes onto the wax paper. If the chocolate starts to harden, just run the piping bag under hot water (do your best not to get any water in the chocolate) and this will bring it back to piping consistency.
6. Pipe a little bunny tail onto each of the truffles. I decided to place the tail where there is a little hole on the surface of the truffle.
Once all the ears and feet have set, you are ready to start assembling the bunnies! Using your piping bag of melted chocolate, put some melted chocolate on the bottom of an ear and then place the ear on the bunny. Hold it in place until it can stand on its own. I like to put them in the fridge or freezer for a bit to help the chocolate cool and set faster.
8. Repeat this process for all the bunny ears and feet.
9. Put some melted chocolate on the back of the candy buttons and place the button nose on the bunny.
10. Melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Dip a toothpick in the melted chocolate and draw little eyes onto your bunnies.
Place your bunnies on top of your cupcakes and enjoy!!