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A bunny cake on a bed of green coconut on an oval plate.

Bunny Cake

This homemade vanilla cake recipe at the base is a breeze to stir together so you can focus on dressing it up in an Easter bunny "costume."
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 401kcal


For the cake:

For the frosting:

For decoration:

  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 jelly bean for bunny's nose


To make the cake:

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper and flour pan.
  • In a small bowl, mix milk, vanilla, and egg whites together. Set aside. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with an electric mixer by hand, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined. Add butter, one piece at a time, and mix until only pea-sized pieces remain, about 1 minute.
  • To the mixing bowl, add half of the milk mixture and increase speed to medium-high. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add remaining milk mixture and beat on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Do not over mix. Give the batter a final stir by hand.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top using a rubber spatula. Bake until top is light golden and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate pan halfway through to ensure even baking.
  • Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely before frosting, about 2 hours.

To make the buttercream frosting:

  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed or with an electric mixer by hand, cream butter until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt (if using). Continue mixing 2 to 3 minutes longer. If the frosting seems too soft, add the remaining powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Cover and refrigerate the frosting until ready for use.

To assemble the bunny cake:

  • Cut cake in half. Using prepared buttercream frosting, frost the top of one half of the layers. Place other layer on top and stand cake on serving platter to form the bunny cake's body. Cut a notch about 1/3 of the way up on one side to form the bunny cake's neck and head. Using frosting, attach removed pieces to opposite end of the notch to form the bunny's tail.
  • Frost outside of the cake with remaining buttercream frosting, rounding out the sides of the body. Sprinkle the bunny with coconut flakes, gently pressing in coconut so it sticks to the sides.
  • Using construction paper or another thick type of paper, cut 2 4-inch by 1 3/4-inch bunny ears (use watercolors to paint them if desired). Cover ends of ears with plastic food wrap and insert in the top of the notch on the cake. Insert jelly bean for bunny's nose.


  1. Egg whites: For a light texture, this cake batter recipe calls for egg whites only. Put the egg yolks to delicious use in Tiramisu, Pastry Cream, or Hollandaise Sauce.
  2. Vanilla extract: You can make your own vanilla if you want to.
  3. Cake flour: Cake flour is very finely milled, bleached flour with a lower protein content than all-purpose flour. This gives the cake a soft, tender texture and an excellent crumb. If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a cake flour substitute (see recipe tips and variations).
  4. Butter: Cold butter usually softens up in about 30 minutes when left out at room temperature (much longer if frozen). To soften butter in the microwave, cut each stick of butter in half, unwrap, and place on a microwave-safe plate. Cook the butter at 10% power for 1 minute. Afterward, gently press on the butter with your finger. If still too firm, cook for another 40 seconds at 10% power.
  5. Storage: Tightly wrap the leftover cake with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator 3 to 4 days.
  6. Leftovers: Allow cake to come to room temperature before serving.
  7. Make ahead: Feel free to bake and assemble the Bunny Cake the night before and store it in the refrigerator. Allow the dessert to come to room temperature before serving.
  8. Cake flour swap: To make 1 cup of cake flour substitute, begin with one level cup of all-purpose flour. Then remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and add 2 tablespoons of either cornstarch or arrowroot powder to the flour. Sift together until well blended. (Note: using arrowroot powder may make the cake bake quicker, so keep an eye on the oven.)
  9. Coconut Grass: To make green flakes that resemble grass to surround the base of the Bunny Cake, place one cup of coconut flakes in a zip-top bag and add several drops of green food coloring. Secure bag and shake coconut and food coloring together until combined. Add additional food coloring until the desired color is achieved.


Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 549mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 557IU | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1mg