Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TWD: Mocha Walnut Bundt Bunny Cake



This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Mocha Walnut Bundt cake. Since my special occasion dessert selections have a strange tendency to track the TWD calendar, I decided to make this cake for Easter. And seeing as I have this bunny pan, and a 7, 5 and 2 year old in the house, I opted to skip the bundt and go with the more whimsical bunny. This was my second bunny cake, but my first marble cake. How I've managed to go twenty months in TWD without marbling anything boggles my mind.

The vanilla cake batter that forms the basis of the entire cake includes ground walnuts. They add a little something something to the cake without making it overly nutty. A little less than half of the batter is added to a melted chocolate/coffee mixture to create the "mocha" portion.

I tried to marble:


I realize that "marble" in this context is a verb that suggests considerably more movement that what is seen here. I'll have to work on my marbling next time I'm making a cake that doesn't involve floppy ears and a cottontail.

I wasn't quite sure how long to bake the cake. I swear that the Joy of Baking site has conversions for every conceivable pan size except for three dimensional bunnies. I decided to start out at 30 minutes and go from there. The center (torso) was way underdone at 30 minutes. I kept adding 5 minute intervals and finally took the cake out after about 45 minutes.

Depanning went smoothly - whew!

I made Dorie's bittersweet ganache to hold the two bunny halves together. It worked, to my great relief (and was really delicious with the cake!)

As for decorating, the materials that came with the cake suggest three options:



Ding ding ding! Why yes, I went with door #3, the confectioners' sugar bunny. Unfortunately, although dusting always sounds easy in theory, I have a really hard time with it. I just don't know when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em when it comes to powdered sugar dusting, which my sweet husband likened to an artist who just can't stop dabbing paint. Well, he had the "just can't stop" part right, anyway. So unfortunately, it looked a little bit like a snow-covered bunny:



I wasn't sure quite what to do when it came time to cut the cake. I was as intimidated as I am when facing a whole chicken. I decided that typical chocolate bunny rules (first ears, then face, etc.) did not apply to a bunny cake. I started with the tail and cut it in slices, as if it were a loaf cake. That worked fine and wasn't terribly messy. Then I got to the head, checked to make sure there were no children in the room, got on my Mr. McGregor and chopped off the bunny head. I then removed the ears for good measure.

For reasons that I still don't quite understand, I left the head (i.e., two head halves) and the ears (i.e., two separate floppy ears) on the serving plate. As I'm sure is self-evident to you bakers, the head is essentially a muffin that has been baked for 45 minutes, and the ears are mini muffins that have been baked for 45 minutes. So those suckers were inevitably going to be overbaked, and not just a little bit. Clearly I should have thrown them out, but subconsciously, I guess I figured it was the slices that looked most appealing, so people would just naturally grab the slices. So I was horrified to see one person walk by with a bunny head half on the plate, and then another, and then someone else walked by with a floppy ear, and then someone else passed by with the other ear. Four plates, four overdone bunny head parts. I wasn't sure what to do at that point -- I'm pretty sure Emily Post does not cover what to do when family members serve themselves well-done bunny head cake parts that you stupidly left on the serving platter at Easter dinner -- so I just decided to not say anything. Still, I was so angry at myself - I survived the mixing, the marbling, the baking, the getting-the-bunny-out-of-the-pan, the making-the-ganache-thick-enough-to-hold-the-bunny-halves-together; the bunny assembly, the confectioner's sugar, the installation of the edible grass; and the transportation of said cake on my lap across the neighborhood in one piece ONLY TO SERVE SECTIONS OF THE CAKE THAT WERE, AT A MINIMUM, 90% OVERDONE.


I served myself an actual slice of cake, so I feel like I have a pretty good sense about how the cake really tasted. I did not seek or receive additional feedback about the cake - possibly because it was a fun, busy day with lots of activity, and everyone quickly moved from dessert to the next fun thing, and possibly because people literally could not speak after choking down the dried out, seared bunny head pieces. But nobody is more critical about my desserts than I am, and I can say with confidence that the center of the bunny cake (i.e., the bunny torso) was delicious. Even these slices were a wee bit overdone though - I probably should have taken it out about 5 minutes sooner. So I can't even imagine how awful the head and ears must have been. (Let it go Cathy. Let it go.) But the flavor (of the torso) was wonderful, and the texture was dense, rich and moist. I will make this cake again. Not in a bunny pan, though.

Erin of When In Doubt, Leave it at 350 (great advice!) chose the Mocha Walnut Bundt cake. Thanks for the delicious pick, Erin!

33 comments:

Kayte said...

Literally cracking up over the lopped off bunny head making its way around the house with the various diners. What a great idea, however, to make a bunny cake out of this recipe. I'm on spring break looking at colleges with Matt and getting caught up on blogs in the down times, so no chocolate cake on my site today...gee, how disappointing. Your cake is very cute. I think you win this week for creativity.

Jessica said...

ohmygosh. I had to laugh at the foibles of the bunny cake pan. I don't have this pan, but I have a beehive pan that presents the same overdone shallow parts problem. You just can't win, right? No matter, your bunny cake is 100% adorable!!! I'm glad it was tasty.

Mary said...

Ah, what is easeter without some overdone cake bunny ears?! Great post. You make me want to whip out my obscure pans and get baking.

Cristine said...

Love the bunny cake!!! Great job marbling it, too!

vibi said...

Oh! You lucky, lucky woman... I'm soooo jealous of that rabbit pan! It made a beautiful rabundt! LOL

Heather said...

First, the cake is very impressive!! Second, I LOVE the new blog design!! Yay!

Jules Someone said...

What a fabulous pan! So so cute. Nice job!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I had to stop in mid-chuckle about the seared head parts to notice your pretty new blog design. Specialty pans present their own little challenges, don't they? Nonetheless your cake looks awesome; nothing wrong with a snow covered bunny on a hot day. At least you got a torso piece for all of your effort.

spike. said...

over baked bunny head! I'm glad you got to try one of the good pieces of bunny. Looks cute (so does your new blog design!)

bakingwiththeboys said...

First, love the new design! and I can totally relate to the panic over the bunny head. At this point, most of the people I spend holidays with know I bake pretty often. The bar has been set higher (in my mind) and I probably would have "innocently" sabotaged their bunny head plates.
And, sadly, yes this is probably Will's last year for the EB as well. I need to think of an appropriate bribe to keep him from spilling to colin. Too soon!

Marthe said...

Awww, that bunny cake is supercute!! Love your blogs new design!

Kimberly Johnson said...

Awesome job on the bunny cake! Very cute!

Flourchild said...

What a great idea to make your cake into a bunny! I love the molds you have. It turned out perfect and it sounds like it tasted good too! Im sure your kids loved it, what a great mom you are!

Leslie said...

I love the play on words here (bundt -> bunny) and I think your bunny looks fantastic. I would feel the same way about it if someone had bunny cake jerky and thought that was what I intended the cake to be like. It sounds like it was a hit if people were so desperate to try it that they would, eeek, eat the head halves and the ears.

cindy said...

Thank you for the good laugh! I had visions of a large cleaver and a scared little bunny! You made my day.

Maria said...

LOVE the new look. LOVE IT!

Audrey said...

My marbling always, always looks more like giraffe than carrera but yours looks nice, even as bunny belly. But speaking of nice, I feel like one of those people on HGTV who get their house redone and go around saying "This isn't our house! Is this our House? No, this isn't our HOUSE." I love your new look!

Tia said...

i love that pan!!! so adorable.

Kim said...

Love the bunny cake. Too adorable.

Di said...

Nice to know that I'm not the only one who obsessing about serving things that aren't perfect. =P The bunny is cute idea. And I bet the ganache was wonderful with the cake flavors.

Amanda said...

I love your new blog design, looks so nice! Your bunny cake is fabulous!

mike said...

That's not the bunny pan that I have (yours is much nicer). Mine's sitting there holding some ridiculous easter basket - but not that it got used this year (or has ever). I am super impressed Cathy - it (or he/she) looks bunny-riffic! That whole molding thing scares me, but you've convinced me to take the bunny by the ears. I'm glad you cut the head and not the butt ("my butt huts....") Glad he/she was used and that everyone enjoyed this Easter - wonderful post and new blog design!

Pamela said...

I've said it before, but I'll say it again; I LOVE READING YOUR POSTS!! So great, Cathy! Nice bunny cake, it turned out so neat! And the new look of your blog is wonderful!

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

You are so funny! I love your marbled bunny cake, so cute. That is one pan I don't have! I do have the NW turkey pan and have the same trouble with part of it being way overdone when the middle is finally ready. What can you do? :)

Love your new blog design, and so glad you are back, I missed you! I hadn't been blogging very steadily for a while either and really missed my little creative outlet.

natalia said...

How wonderful Cathy !! I'm sure even the ears were great !

myfamousrecipe said...

What a beautiful cake and you can't go wrong with chocolate ganache holding it all together! It's a total triumph, and I say the bunny head wasn't overcooked, it was richly caramelized.

jillbert said...

It's totally cute! I wonder if there's a recipe that would be more compatible so that the head doesn't get overdone. I agonize over my baked goods too, but really, I've found that most people are so happy to eat homemade treats and they are not half as critical of them as we are.

Katrina said...

Well, you certainly win for creativity on this one! How fun! Sorry it was dry, but really cool, Cathy. Now, get over it. ;)

Debinhawaii said...

Hilarious post! I think your calling is to write an Emily Post-style book with how to handle just these kinds of situations with bunny cakes. ;-)

BTW--The cake looks delicious too!

pastrybrush said...

I love the fact that you baked this in a bunny pan. I would have totally cut the head of first, but I am one of those people that always eats the head off the animal cracker first :) Thanks for baking with me this week.

Clivia said...

How adorable! Your bunny looks like it was caught in a spring snowstorm.
I'm excited to hear that WW is working so well for you. That gives me encouragement.

Tracey said...

This comment is long overdue so my apologies first. I can't believe I didn't get over here sooner to check out your absolutely adorable bunny cake! The kids must have gone crazy over this one! Too funny about the family taking the overdone parts - it would have bothered me too :) I'm glad you got a "good" piece though - this one was really tasty!

Love the new design on your site - it looks fabulous!

TeaLady said...

OH!! TOO funny.

But the bunny cake is ADORABLE. What a great way to use the recipe.

 
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