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Bunny Cake

Everyone has their Achilles heel, their great white whale, their nemesis, or whatever.

Mine is the bunny cake I make every year around this time.

I like to cook. And trust me, I have lots of recipes with which I’ve had wild success. I’m not much a baker, but in my limited way, I can turn out good cookies, great carrot cake, and assorted other delicacies.

But this bunny will be the death of me. It’s not the cake per se, it’s the frosting. You make it by boiling sugar on the stove until it drops from a spoon in a string, then you quickly add it to some whipped eggs whites that you have standing by, all pretty and peaky.

Except there are a million things that can go wrong, and I’ve already experienced a dozen of them. There was the time the sugar hardened into a ball with the spoon still sticking out of it! (Actually, I do that at least once every freaking year. It’s unbelievable, really. It looks like I’m trying to re-create the sword in the stone.)

Also, you have to use a metal spoon, because those hard plastic ones will melt right into the sugar. That seems obvious, right? But when you’ve gone through all the spoons in your house, and you’ve got tears of frustration/laughter in your eyes, it’s easy to make this mistake once. Luckily, I’ve never done it since that first time.

Sometimes the sugar doesn’t firm up at all. It stays liquid, and like a fool, I keep standing there, testing it and testing it, until some sympathetic soul – usually my husband – walks by and says, “I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” or after the tenth time, “Maybe you should give up.”

Except I can’t give up. Because I refuse to be defeated by a bunny.

So every year, after hours of trying, I end up with sugar that drops from my spoon in a string, and I add it to the whipped egg whites -- and presto! Then I put the whole bunny together – it’s one of those cakes where you use on 8” round for the head, then cut up a second one into three shapes that form the two ears and a bow tie. Once you frost it, you cover him with coconut, except in our house, we leave one ear without coconut for my daughter.

Then pink jelly beans for eyes, a black one if available for the nose, and licorice or whatever for the whiskers. Plus, we decorate the bow tie with pink and green polka dots (jelly beans).

Then I look him right in the pink eyes and remind him who’s in charge in my kitchen. But believe me, he looks right back at me, secure in the knowledge that he drove me nuts for a whole afternoon (not to mention the hours of frustrated anticipation I experience on the days leading up to Bunny Cake day).

I already made the cakes for this year. In a few minutes, I’ll be starting the frosting.

Wish me luck.

Kate

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