Hoppy Easter Cake

Hoppy Easter Cake
Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) shredded carrots (3 cups)
  • 1 cup dark raisins
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Decorations:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tube (18 ounces) refrigerated sugar-cookie dough
  • 2 wooden skewers
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) whipped vanilla frosting
  • 5 cups sweetened coconut, divided
  • Light-pink crystal sugar
  • Large marshmallow
  • 2 Junior Mints
  • 1 pink heart-shaped candy
  • 1/4 cup chocolate frosting
  • black licorice laces, cut into 60 pieces
  • 2 white gum pieces
  • green food coloring
  • jelly beans

Make It

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Make cake: Grease and line the bottoms of 2 round cake pans (one 8-inch and one 9-inch) with wax paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, with mixer on medium-high, beat together the sugars and eggs until thick and light in color, about 2 minutes. Add oil, orange juice, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until smooth. Reduce mixer to low; add flour and beat just to combine. Fold in the carrots and raisins, and the walnuts, if using.

2. Spoon 2-1/2 cups batter into the 8-inch pan and the remaining batter into the 9-inch pan. Smooth tops, and bake until cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (35 to 40 minutes for the 8-inch cake and 50 to 55 minutes for the 9-inch cake). Place on a wire rack, and let cool 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, and let cool completely.

3. Make cookies: Knead 1/3 cup of flour into the sugar-cookie dough until smooth. Roll out to a 10 x 8 -inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out ear shapes. Transfer cookie ears to a large foil-lined baking sheet. Insert a skewer halfway into the bottom of each cookie, patting dough over skewer to secure. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Place on a wire rack, and let cool completely.

4. To decorate cake, cut the 8-inch cake in half. Place the cut sides down on a serving platter. Cut a 2-inch wedge off one side of the 9-inch cake, and place remaining piece, cut side down, between the other cake halves to help support it. Trim the front cake 3/4 inch on both sides. Ice the entire cake with the vanilla frosting, reserving 2/3 cup. Sprinkle all but 2 cups of the coconut over the frosted cake, pressing into frosting with the back of a large spoon if necessary.

5. Spread 2/3 cup of the coconut onto a piece of wax paper. Spread both sides of cookie ears with the remaining vanilla frosting. Press one side of each ear into the coconut to coat. Sprinkle some coconut around edge of other side, and sprinkle the center of each ear with pink sugar. Insert into top of cake.

6. Cut marshmallow in half. Attach Junior Mints to the cut, sticky sides of the marshmallow halves, and press onto cake for eyes. Insert the pink candy for the nose. Spoon the chocolate frosting into a resealable plastic bag. Snip a small corner from the bag and pipe the mouth. Insert licorice for the whiskers and gum pieces for teeth.

7. Place remaining coconut in a medium bowl. Add a few drops of green food coloring to tint light green. Sprinkle tinted coconut around the base of the cake and decorate with jelly beans.