Carrot Cake – An Easter Staple

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The holiday has come and gone but I had so much fun making the desserts for our Easter dessert table this year that I thought I’d take the time to share with you a few of my recipes.

Here is what our desserts consisted of: Oreo Balls, Bunny Butt Cookies, Carrot Cake and Shaker Style Lemon Pie.

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Since carrot cake is a traditional cake that many families include with their Easter meals I thought I’d begin there. I love carrot cake. Not only does it taste amazing but when I eat it I feel like I am eating something healthy. I mean, after all, it is filled with carrots, pineapple and pecans. That has to be healthy, right? (Please don’t answer that, just let me go along with my little fantasy.)

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To start with, you need an amazing carrot cake and cream cheese icing recipe. If you don’t already have one you love then you can click here to get a printable version of mine.

The majority of carrot cakes I have seen are covered with chopped pecans on their sides and have carrots (usually made from icing) laying on the top. I wanted to stick to a traditional style cake for our celebration but give it a unique twist. That is when I came up with the idea of a bunny sitting among carrot tops. I thought this would be cute, yummy and appealing to even the littlest kids at our family get together.

As for the pecans, I like the taste and crunch of the added pecans but I personally feel like it is too much when the whole side is covered with them so I only covered my sides about half way up. I wanted the uncovered portion to look nice so, before I added the chopped nuts, I used a decorating comb to give the sides a grooved texture. Decorating combs are easy to use; you just hold them against the iced cake and then slowly turn your cake, wiping off the icing build up from the comb when it gets too heavy.

The trick to adding the nuts on the cake is to carefully hold the cake in your hand, on its cake board, and pick up hand fulls of nuts and press them on the sides. I didn’t get any pictures of this process but I did get some of making the carrots and bunny so below is a tutorial for making those. I was working at night so please excuse the poor quality photos.

You can make the carrots and bunny out of fondant or modeling chocolate but I chose to use marzipan. Marzipan is an edible “dough” made of sugar and almond meal. The nutty taste and smell go great with carrot cake. I found a small can of it at my local grocery store, in the baking section. It can be molded and colored just like you would with fondant. I used paste colors to get it the colors I wanted.

Carrot Tops

Step 1: Roll out carrots.
Start by coloring some marzipan orange and then rolling it out into a long thin snake.

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Step 2: Cut and score carrots.
Cut into even pieces and shape with your fingers. Score lines into the carrots using a sharp paring knife.

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Step 3: Roll out leaf.
Take a piece of green marzipan, roll it into a teardrop shape then flatten it out.

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Step 4: Cut leaves.
Use a small pair of fine scissors to cut the individual leaves.

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Step 5: Shape and attach leaves.
Shape the leaves with your fingers then use a toothpick to put a hole in the top of the carrot. Place the base of the leaves in the hole. Leave them on a piece of wax paper to dry.

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And now for the bunny.

Bunny

Step 1: Make the body.
Create the body using an elongated oval of marzipan, that gets thinner at the top, and place it on a sheet of wax paper. Stick a piece of uncooked spaghetti into the center of it, leaving some of it sticking out to attach the head.

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Step 2: Shape the head and arms.
The head is made from a ball and placed on top of the piece of spaghetti. You can brush a little bit of piping gel or corn syrup on to help them adhere.

The arms are made from two long sausage-shaped pieces of marzipan that are flattened at the top. Adhere those to the shoulder area with piping gel or corn syrup.

Stick two more pieces of spaghetti where the feet will be positioned.

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Step 3: Add the feet and tail.
To make the feet, shape two balls of marzipan into an oval shape and then flatten them on both the top and bottom. Attach to the spaghetti, adding a little bit of piping gel or corn syrup to adhere. For the pads, roll out a piece of pink marzipan and use a small oval cutter, or free hand, to cut out an oval shape. Roll three more small bits of pink marzipan in your fingers and smash them down to make the small balls for the tops of the pads. Use piping gel, or corn syrup, to attach to the foot.

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Don’t forget to add a small ball of white marzipan to the back for a tail. Marzipan is naturally more of a yellowish color so I added some white icing color to it to make it a bright white.

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Step 4: Add facial features.
Add two balls of white marzipan for the cheeks and a small ball of pink for the nose. Adhere everything with piping gel, or corn syrup. Attach two small balls of marzipan for the eyes. You can use black marzipan for this or do like I did and just make them the same color as the body then paint some black food coloring on later. For the eye lashes, use a toothpick or small knife to make indentations around the eyes.

The ears are long ovals of marzipan that you flatten slightly. The upper ends are flattened even more and then folded under to attach to the head. Place two pieces of spaghetti where the ears will be positioned then use piping gel, or corn syrup, to adhere the ears onto the spaghetti and head.

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If you didn’t use black marzipan, finish him off by adding a few drops of vodka to a small amount of black paste color and then paint the black on the eyes.

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Now position everything onto your cake. To get your carrots even it is best to place them on directly across from each other. So, place one in the 12:00 position, then one in the 6:00 position. Next, place one in the 3:00 position, then one in the 9:00 position. Continue this way until you have all the carrots in place. I put all the carrots on the cake while the icing was still soft. I then placed the whole cake in the refrigerator over night and let the icing harden up before adding the bunny. Also, because I would be traveling with the cake, I cut down a dowel rod and stuck it into the middle of it, leaving about an inch of it sticking up above the cake. I then added a little bit of piping gel onto the bottom of the bunny and slid it down onto the dowel rod. He stayed very secure while we traveled.

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I was really happy with how it all turned out. Classic, yet updated and fun.

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Next week I will show you how to make the bunny butt cookies.

Until next time, God bless and Sweet Dreams.


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