Chocolate Easter bunny cake

Serves 10 people

Ingredients
  • 300g plain flour
  • 150 self-raising flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 400g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 375g unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 600g caster sugar
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 60ml strong coffee
  • 1 Tbsp natural vanilla extract
  • 750g cream cheese
  • 240g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2kg white rolling fondant
  • food colours
  • 2 cup plain chocolate biscuits, crushed
  • ¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
Instructions

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Melt the chocolate and butter gently, then allow to cool slightly. Combine the eggs and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on high speed of 5 minutes, until very light.

2 Fold in the chocolate mixture, oil, buttermilk, coffee and 2 tsp vanilla, then spoon in the flour mixture. Spoon into three lined 20cm cake tins for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer can inserted and removed cleanly. Cool completely on a wire rack.

3 Put the cream cheese, icing sugar and remaining vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 10 minutes, until very light. Slice the cakes in half, then spread all except one with icing and stack up, finishing with the plain cake. Spread the remaining icing over the outside and chill until firm.

4 Roll 1¼kg icing to a large disc 4mm thick and drape over the cake, feathering until smooth. Trim the excess. Mix 250g fondant with a range of green tints and use to form large grass pieces for the sides of the cake and small leaf pieces for decorative carrots. Tint 80g fondant orange and form into small decorative carrots, then attach the leaf tops.

5 Tint 1 Tbsp fondant light purple and set aside. Tint the remaining fondant pale grey to form a large ball for the bunny body and two smaller elongated pieces for feet. Decorate the bottoms of the feet with three small pink circles and a pink oval. Finish with a small white ball for the tail.

6 Attach the green leaves to the sides of the cake. Scatter a mixture of the biscuits and walnuts over the top, then decorate with carrots. Place the bunny in the centre as if digging in the biscuit dirt.