This is one of my favorite cakes ever. I want to hold it close and never let it go, but I might look silly with big pink and white melted chocolate ears stuck on my shirt. So, if you decide to make this cake, know it’s an extension of my heart. (It would also be super-cute for Easter!)
TO BAKE THE CAKE:
Bake 1 recipe white cake in two 6-inch pans.
Heat oven to 350° F.
Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into medium bowl and mix with fork until blended. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter, cut into cubes and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes.
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.
Pour batter evenly between two prepared cake pans.
Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes. (You may need to extend the recommended baking time when using 6-inch pans.)
Cool to room temperature. Level the cakes and freeze for about 1 hour.
Prepare batter for a second white cake. Divide the batter between 2 bowls. Tint the batter in one bowl pink. Bake the cake in two 6-inch pans and cool to room temperature. Level the cakes to match the others and freeze for about 1 hour.
TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM:
Beat butter in bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and almond extract.
With the mixer on low, slowly add in confectioners sugar, milk, and salt; frequently scrape sides and bottom of the bowl.
Once incorporated, whip frosting for at least 3 minutes on medium high to high. If frosting is too thick to spread, gradually beat in additional milk.
Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
TO BUILD AND DECORATE THE BUNNY:
Place one white layer on a cake stand, off center. Place the pink layer next to it on a sheet of parchment paper. Then center a 3-inch round cookie cutter in on the white layer and press in slightly to make a guideline. Repeat on the pink layer.
Insert a sharp paring knife at about a 45-degree angle on the guideline on the white cake. Aim for the center, then slowly pull the knife around the cake, following the guideline.
Remove the white cake cone and set it in a scrap bowl—you'll be using it for the bunny's eyes.
Cut out a cone the same size in the pink layer and place the pink cone into the white layer.
Place the other 2 white layers on a sheet of parchment paper. Center a 4-inch round cookie cutter on each layer and press in slightly to make a guideline.
On one layer, dig out a channel about 1/4 inch deep on the guideline. On the other layer, dig out a channel about 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep. Add the crumbs to the cake scrap bowl.
Crumble the rest of the pink cake into a bowl, removing any dark or hard spots. Add about 1 tablespoon buttercream and 1/4 teaspoon black gel food coloring. Mix until you have a cake mixture of your desired color. You can add more frosting or food coloring as needed.
Add about 1 teaspoon of buttercream to the white cake scrap bowl. (I also added a bit of white gel food coloring to make the color bright.) Mix until fully combined.
Roll the black cake mixture into snakes thick enough to fill the deeper cavity in the white layer.
Lay them in and connect them to fit evenly.
Roll out a smaller white snake from the white cake mixture and flatten it a little with your finger, but make sure it's still at least 1/4 inch thick.
Place the white cake mixture on top of the black snake, covering it completely.
Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of buttercream around the white edge of the layer on the cake stand. Be careful to avoid the section of pink cake.
Set the layer with the black snake on top. Cover the top of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream.
Turn over the remaining cake layer and lay it on top of the cake. Make sure the snake fits snugly into the carved-out top layer.
Cover the cake in a crumb coat and chill for at least 1 hour before decorating.
Insert a #74 decorating tip into a disposable pastry bag and fill it with buttercream.
Applying light pressure, make small, short bursts with the pastry bag. They can be irregular in shape and size—just try to keep them about the same thickness. Do this over the whole cake.
To make the bunny's tail, just pipe out a big ball of frosting. Tint 1/2 cup of the buttercream pink and place it in a pastry bag with a #74 tip. Pipe out the same pattern as that on the cake to cover the tail.
Now it's time to make the bunny ears! Place 1 cup white candy melts in a clear plastic pastry bag and microwave in 30-second increments until the chocolate is mostly melted. Massage the bag with your hands until it's fully melted.
Place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper on a baking sheet. If you like, you can draw out your design on a piece of paper and slip it behind the parchment paper.
Cut a very small tip off the bag. Pipe out a white inner ear, making sure to extend the bottom of the ear so that you'll be able to insert it into the cake. Repeat to make the second ear. (I made 4 ears just in case there were any breaks.)
Melt 1 to 2 cups pink candy melts and repeat the process to create the outside of the ears.
Refrigerate the ears on the baking sheet for 30 minutes or freeze them for 2 minutes.
Chill the cake. Just before serving, peel the parchment away from the ears and insert them into the cake, one at left center and one at right center, facing away from the tail. The ears should stay in place while serving, but they usually don't last that long. I know my kids are always excited to see who will get them! The extra ears are handy, too, in case of sibling rivalry.