Happy Easter everybody!
Today we have a guest blog post by the very talented Ashley Verhagen. She shows us how to make her precious Easter Bunny cake:
What’s more fun than sweet little bunnies lounging near Easter eggs? Perhaps they’re all dreaming of the lovely Easter candy to be had soon? Let’s learn how to reproduce this cake, shall we?
Cake: 9” round iced in yellow, 6” round iced in white
½ ” Foam-core board, cut in a circle with a 14” diameter, covered with wrapping paper of your color choice and food safe cellophane
Tip 5, 104, 233
Various round tips
Fondant tinted in your desired colors
Gel colors (pink, lime green, purple, yellow)
Small Daisy gumpaste cutter
Small rolling pin
One larger and two smaller styrofoam egg shapes
FMM ribbon cutter
Decorative ribbon to match your cake
Hot glue gun
After you’ve assembled all of your tools and supplies, it’s time to decorate your cake board. Take your ½ ” foam core board and rest it on your counter top. Roll out a small fist sized ball of pink fondant thinly (I like to do this ON the board). Using your exacto knife, trim the fondant in an undulating pattern around the edge of the cake board. Then, using the fondant extruder and a small round disk, extrude a band of hot pink fondant and attach it to the undulating edge with gum glue. Tip: to make the fondant easier to extrude, knead some shortening into it.
Now that we’ve got the housekeeping out of the way, it’s on to the fun part… the cake! Take your 9” yellow round and transfer it carefully to your board. Dowel, then stack the 6” white on top of this centered evenly. Take your piping bag fitted with the 104 tip and fill it with yellow icing. Beginning at the back of the cake, begin to pipe the border. The technique to make the border is basically the same as that of piping rose petals… just repeated across the bottom edge of the cake. Do this for the base of both cakes. Now, fill a piping bag with white icing and fit it with a 5 tip. At the top of the petal border, add small dots of icing. Tip: For a polished look, go back with a finger dipped in powdered sugar and touch the top of each dot lightly to knock down any icing tips that may have formed.
Let’s make flowers, y’all! Rub a small amount of shortening on your work surface to ensure the fondant doesn’t stick. Roll a small ball of white fondant thinly. Using your flower cutter, cut several blossoms and set them aside to air dry for a few moments. Take a good bit of your plastic wrap and bunch it up tightly, then open it back up a bit. Shape is not important, we’re just using it as a flower former. Using your Dresden tool (or a toothpick), draw a line down each daisy petal. Roll a small ball of yellow fondant and attach it with gum glue into the center of the flower. Lay it carefully to dry somewhere in a crevice of the plastic wrap.
It’s on to the eggs now! Take your egg and rub it with a bit of shortening so that the fondant adheres well. Roll out each base color of fondant to less than ¼” thickness. Lay the fondant over each egg, working it down the sides. Don’t pull the fondant, just guide it down the sides. If you end up with too much excess fondant along the bottom, trim it away with your exacto knife. Since covering round 3D shapes with fondant is tricky, you might have to use scissors to trim away some of the side excess as well. When trimming with scissors, try to get close to the edge of the egg. Continue smoothing your fondant over the egg until it is all covered and trimmed.
To make the bows for each egg, roll out and cut 4 strips of fondant in your desired width and several inches long. Using two of the strips, cut your bow tails into the desired length. Notch the ends of one side of the bow tails with your exacto knife, then pinch the opposite side. With the remaining two lengths, cut each one to 1 ¼” long. Pinch each side of each strip, then fold the strip lengthwise, bringing the pinched ends together. You’ve got your bow loops. Set them aside to dry for a few minutes while you decorate your eggs. If you find they’re getting too ‘set’, put them under plastic wrap as they still need to be somewhat elastic.
Using your FMM ribbon cutter and your various round tips, decorate each egg with stripes and/or dots. To attach them, use a small it of gum glue and your paintbrush. Vary up your design and be creative! Use different sizes of round tips to get smaller or larger circles. Use the straight ribbons or the wavy… or even the ones with stitching. Carefully attach each bow tail and bow loop to your egg using small dabs of icing. For the center, slightly flatten a small ball of fondant and attach it to the center using icing or gum glue. There’s no right or wrong way to decorates these cuties!
Now, let’s move on to the bunnies, shall we? They’re actually really easy to do, as long as you can master some basic figure modeling techniques. Most of the techniques used involve forming fondant into ball shapes, then tapering one end of the ball shape into a carrot shape. I do most of my modeling on a styrofoam dummy since I can stick my skewer into the dummy and hold the figure still as I model it.
Let’s start with the yellow bunny for the cake topper. The instructions will be mostly the same for each bunny, with possibly a few exceptions in the way we pose them. Take a small bit of yellow fondant and form it into a 2” round ball by rolling it around in your hands. After you’ve formed the ball, taper one end of the ball by rubbing your hands back and forth along one end of the ball. This will be the body of the rabbit. You’ll want to flatten it a bit so it doesn’t look like a fat little bunny. At this point, stick a toothpick through the body of the rabbit, leaving approximately 1” protruding through the tapered end. This is where we’ll attach the head in a few moments.
For the rabbit’s appendages, you need to shape small balls of fondant into carrot shapes. At the rounded ends of the carrot, you can pinch around the edges to flatten it a bit. Make four of these roughly the same sizes. For each arm, roll a small ball of white fondant, then flatten it out into a small circle. Use gum glue to attach the white circle to the rounded end to make the ‘hands’. For each foot, form three teeny pieces of fondant into round balls, flatten them slightly, then attach them with gum glue to the rounded end to make the ‘feet’. Attach the arms and legs to the main body using gum glue. For the arms, it’s sometimes helpful to flatten the tapered end a bit so you don’t have a lot of bulk at the shoulder Don’t forget to give them some personality when you position them!
For the rabbit’s head, roll a small ball about ½” in diameter into a ball. Taper one end very slightly to almost get a rounded triangle shape. Stick it on the toothpick protruding from body and attach it with gum glue. For the ears, take two ¼” balls of fondant and form them into a carrot shape. Slightly flatten each carrot shape along then entire length of the piece. Take a 1” piece of floral wire, brush it with gum glue, and insert it about halfway into each ear. Stick each wire onto either side of your tapered head and attach it with gum glue. You can position the tips of your ears so one is sticking up and one is curling over. For the cheeks, take two small balls of white fondant and flatten them slightly. Attach them to the face using gum glue near the middle of the face. Use a toothpick to poke small holes in them to simulate puffy cheeks. For the nose, take a very small ball of pink fondant and attach it using gum glue above the cheeks. Use your toothpick to poke small holes for the eyes. You can also use your exacto knife to make eyebrows and eyelashes.
For the pink and purple bunnies, form them roughly the same as you did the yellow one with a few exceptions. Instead of using a toothpick for the body support on the pink bunny, use a skewer cut to approx. 7” long. An easy way to do this is to poke a hole in your dummy and insert your skewer all the way through. Make sure it’s loose enough so you can pull it out easily as you will remove it later. When you insert the body into the skewer, leave approx. 1” of it poking out of the tapered end. If you end up making a larger body and there’s not enough room for the 1” of clearance, you can always insert a toothpick into the body, as well, to hold the head on. Continue making your pink bunny in the same method as the you used with the yellow bunny. For the purple bunny, form it in the same manner as you did the yellow bunny using a toothpick. Since it’s resting on the cake board, it doesn’t need the long skewer. You may simply use a toothpick to hold the body and head together.
For the cute little chicks, take a small amount of yellow fondant and form it into a ball. Taper one end very slightly into a rounded triangle as you did for the rabbit’s head. Take two very small pieces of yellow fondant and form them into a carrot shape. At the tapered end, flatten it slightly. Attach the wings with gum glue to the body with the tapered end towards the top and the rounded end pointing down. Take a teeny bit of orange (or pink) fondant and form a small, small carrot for the beak. Attach it with gum glue. Use your toothpick to punch holes for the eyes. Voila! Cute baby chicks.
Now that everything has been made, let’s assemble our decorations on the cake. Fit a piping bag with a tip 233 and fill it with lime green icing. Oh the top tier of your cake, pipe a small circle of grass a bit wider than the largest egg. Take the large egg and place it on the top tier. You might want to anchor it with a skewer for support. Take the yellow bunny and attach him to the cake using a bit of icing, as well. You can choose to stick a small toothpick into the cake and into the underbelly of the bunny if you’d like to further anchor the bunny to the cake. Use a small dab of icing to attach one of the small daises and one chick next to the bunny.
Use the green icing bag to also pipe grass on top of the bottom tier where you’d like to place one of the smaller eggs and the pink bunny. Place the egg in the grass, then take the pink bunny skewer off the dummy carefully and stick it into the cake, as well. Use a small bit of white icing to attach several flowers and a chick around the pink bunny and small egg.
Pipe green grass in a circle shape on the cake board, then place the egg in the grass. Place the purple bunny near the last egg, anchoring it with a small bit of icing. Attach the last chick to the bunny’s tummy with icing. Scatter the remaining daisies around the cake, using icing to attach them.
If you’d like, you can hot glue coordinating ribbon around the ½” cake board lip to complete your cake. Sprinkle the cake with edible glitter for a little sparkle.
You’re done! So simple!
Ashley has enjoyed being in the kitchen from an early age, especially baking with her mother and grandmother. She’d always been intrigued by beautiful cakes, and took her first leap into the world of cake decorating 13 years ago. Currently, she lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband and four lovely daughters. Pictures of her work can be found on her Flickr photo stream.