Other times, I have to think a little bit outside the box. Like this time. Vosges Chocolate is my favorite brand of upscale gourmet chocolate. They recently sent me some of their delicious gourmet chocolate Easter bunnies to sample and share with with you in a recipe. But how would I showcase a chocolate Easter bunny in a recipe? When the bunnies arrived, they were so cute that I knew immediately that I wanted to feature at least one as decor for an Easter-themed cake. I knew this was a bit outside-the-box for me, but I decided to go for it.
Honestly? I bake cakes so rarely that I only own ONE 9-inch cake pan! To make this cake, I had to go buy a second cake pan + a plastic cake keeper to transport it...how's that for dedication? I visited The Cake Doctor's website to find inspiration for a yummy recipe that used a boxed cake mix as a starting point. I figured the time saved by using a mix would allow me to focus my time and attention on decorating the cake. Michael's favorite cake combo is strawberries and cream cheese, so I knew that was the flavor I wanted to use.
This cake features melted white chocolate in both the cake batter and the cream cheese icing. A fresh strawberry filling is placed between the two cake layers before it's frosted with the white chocolate cream-cheese icing. I tinted the icing a light shade of green and topped the cake with green coconut "grass," Cadbury mini eggs, and a Vosges Barcelona Bunny (deep milk chocolate flavored with grey sea salt and hickory smoked almonds). It was a very simple idea, but it turned out really cute. If I can do this? I PROMISE that you can too!!! If you've got kids at home, this could be a fun project to do with them one afternoon this week.
White Chocolate-Strawberry Easter Cake
adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Prepare the cake batter by adding the following ingredients to a mixing bowl: 1 package white cake mix, 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, and 6 ounces melted white chocolate. Beat on low for 1 minute, scrape down sides of bowl, and beat on medium speed for another 2-3 minutes.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool for another 45 minutes.
Step 2: While the cake layers are baking and cooling, make the icing and filling. Combine 1 stick butter, 8 ounces softened cream cheese, and 6 ounces melted white chocolate in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until fluffy. Add 3 cups powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combined. Remove 3/4 cup of the icing to a smaller bowl. Add 1 cup chopped strawberries and a few drops red food coloring and stir to combine; this is your cake filling. Add a few drops of green fool coloring to the remaining icing.
Step 3: To assemble and decorate the cake, place the bottom layer on a serving platter. Top with the strawberry filling. Make sure to leave a bit of a border so the filling doesn't come out the sides. Top with the second cake layer and frost the top and sides with the green icing. Place 1 cup sweetened coconut colored with green food color to look like grass on top.
Step 4: Decorate the top of the cake with a chocolate Easter bunny and candy eggs to resemble an Easter yard decorated with eggs ready to be found on Easter morning.
Step 5: When you're ready to serve the cake, cut into slices with a serrated knife. I thought the pink strawberry filling was a nice visual contrast to the green exterior of the cake.
This cake is really good...the white chocolate gives the cake a rich flavor. The coconut compliments the strawberries in the filling nicely, and the little chocolate eggs are a nice little extra treat at the end. In case you're wondering, the white border along the bottom of the cake is miniature meringue cookies that I found while wandering around Central Market yesterday. They're totally optional, but I thought they made a pretty addition to the decor. In their place, you could use white chocolate candy kisses or even pipe an icing border if you have a bag.
This cake would make a really cute centerpiece for an Easter dessert table next weekend! You can click here to order the Vosges chocolate bunny to place on top of the cake. They come in four different gourmet flavors, and they all taste fantastic. My personal favorite is the Orchid Vanilla Bunny: 62% dark chocolate with pieces of Tahitian vanilla bean pod.