Episode XXXVIII:A one upper still “in training” and the bunny cake

File this under things I never imagined myself doing: Making a cake to look like an Easter Bunny. Yup. But I did it.

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Growing up, the bunny cake was my mom, who also happens to be the Easter Goddess of Insanity (EGI) as well, deal. As she has gotten older, our holidays are not what they used to be. However, this year EGI was determined to have her last hurrah by a multiple course, sit-down dinner for 23 people. Of course, this warranted requests from the family members like, “Can you please make the Easter bunny cake?”

It has probably been 15 years since that cake has been seen on the table. I offered to help. I wanted to make something like salad or a cheese plate. But after much discussion, E-Man (my brother) determined that I should make the bunny cake. I’m assuming this is because knowing my math abilities (or lack there of) that I’d mess this up big time. Meanwhile, my mom (a one downer) remarked that I’d manage to do something to “one up” her in making that cake.

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Truthfully, I am never really trying to “one up” my mother. I’ve already learned that nothing I ever seem to produce comes out better than her.

When I realized how easy it was to make cakes from scratch and already had the ingredients, I never went to the boxed versions. I spent two weeks grappling with what type of cake to make. Finally I settled upon a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Cake Bible, for chocolate butter cake.

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Despite a general disdain for baking, I like to make cakes and baked goods from scratch. Early on, I discovered that it’s often easy to do. Sure, it’s not as easy as adding oil and an egg to a box mix. But it really is quite simple. It only took me 20 minutes to put together Beranbaum’s cake. It was the easiest part of the entire bunny process.

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About a week earlier, my mom had scanned and e-mailed a diagram with cake instructions, along with a photograph of her bunny cake. To ensure that I get it right, obviously.

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Cutting the cake into the bunny shapes, which I anticipated would be a disaster, was quite simple. Before I  knew it, I had a cake that looked a heck of a lot like it should. I was surprised at how smoothly things were going.

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Then, I hit the snag: frosting. I don’t know but my frosting looked too much like butter and wasn’t spreading easily. I felt my anxiety rising as I tried to get the frosting on the cake picking up parts of chocolate cake crumbs. I started to think of EGI. “She would never put out a cake that looks like this,” I thought. “Well, I’ll just tell everyone that my bunny took a romp in the dirt.” Yes, that’s it. Clever. I knew there was no way to unfrost and refrost the cake so what had been done couldn’t be undone. Then, I ran out of frosting. I made up another batch that was whiter and much smoother. Upon realizing it, I decided to frost the entire cake over again. Yes, you read that correctly. I frosted the cake twice.

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By the time I’d finished I knew it wasn’t as good as my mom’s cake but I was pleased.

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Then, I got to her house. It was there that I learned about “one upping” via my brother, who immediately took over. He told me the bunny looked messed up, its features were too close together, and needed a new face. So he got to work rearranging the bunny’s face adding eyebrows, a mouth, and teeth. Suddenly, the bunny I created started to feel like a different one. A part of me resented his taking liberty of my artistry but as little sister’s often do, I just let it happen. He turned my beautiful, happy bunny into a sinister one. Who knows maybe he did make it better?

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The bunny didn’t get eaten either, really. By the end of the evening only one ear had been eaten.

“I don’t know why I made this because now I have to throw it all away,” I said.

I whined on and on wondering out loud why I bothered to make the cake.

“I get what you are saying,” the Striper Analyst reassured me.

I think that whenever you cook or bake something and people don’t eat it, you tend to wonder if it really sucks.

“I know it’s not as good as my mom’s cake,” I added, pondering whether I shouldn’t have used the $15 Dutch cocoa for it.

“Well, you are still in training,” E-Man reminded.

I glared at him across the table. Training? I thought. Whatever.  But maybe that was true. Clearly, I still had a lot to learn as did my mom, who never really needed to worry about me one upping her when the real threat was the person who didn’t even make the cake.

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