For the cake:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (112 g) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (280 g) gluten-free flour ( I personally like to use a mix of regular flour and almond flour- to give it more of a nutty taste)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/3 cup (27 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-processed preferred (if using natural, add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1/3 cup of warm water (Can also be substituted for hot coffee if you prefer a coffee flavor to your cake)
3 cups (330 g) shredded zucchini (from about 2 large or 3 medium zucchini)
8oz of chopped almonds (Optional- but it gives the recipe a nuttier flavor which I personally prefer. If you do add the almonds then consider adding 1/2 a cup of warm water rather than 1/3)
For the Ganache Topping:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream
For the Ears:
Two sheets of cardstock paper in different colors (We have always done one color to match the icing and a pink color for the inside of the ear)
For the ‘Fur’:
Your choice of white or dark chocolate (or both!)
Putting the Recipe Together:
Looking at the ingredient list I know this may look like a long list, but just think about all the cute little bunnies running around, grab your family, friends, and close ones, and get set for a fun day of cooking.
Making the Cake:
Start by pre-heating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. I always forget to preheat my oven so do not be like me and don’t forget this crucial step! Once this is don’t you’ll need to prepare the chocolate for the cake itself. Place the 3 ounces chopped chocolate in a small, heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water (making sure the bowl does not touch the water, and the water does not boil). You can also use a double broiler for this if you have one. Stir until almost all of the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until all of the chocolate is melted and smooth. Be careful about overheating the chocolate because you don’t want the chocolate to burn. Add the oil and vanilla, stir to combine and set aside to cool briefly.
Next it is time for the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the melted chocolate and oil mixture, and stir. Add the eggs and water (or coffee), and stir. The batter will be thick. Add the shredded zucchini and chopped almonds if you are adding them, and stir.
Now that our batter is ready. It is time to bust out our secret weapon in making our bunny cakes- and that is our heart shaped baking pan. This bunny- cake is essentially an upside down heart with ears and whiskers on it. So this cake pan in crucial. If you don’t have one already, we recommend this one from amazon.
Prep the cake pan by adding a thin layer of grease and flour (or using Pam cooking spray), and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth into an even layer with a wet spatula or knife, and slide the cake into the center of the pre-heated oven. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack or heat-resistant surface for at least 20 minutes. Making the Ganache: Make the ganache while the cake is in the oven or while the cake is cooling. In order to get the ganache to set properly it is essential that the cake be cooled first. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized, heat-safe bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for a couple minutes so that the chocolate begins to melt. Mix until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Immediately pour evenly over the top of the cake. Make sure to leave plenty of chocolate left over to make the fur for the bunny. Finishing the Bunny Cake: Set aside plenty of shaved chocolate to use as your bunnies ‘fur’. This bunny cake can be white, brown, or black depending on the type of chocolate you use. You don’t have to limit yourself to only one type of chocolate either. You can use multiple types of chocolate ‘fur’ for each bunny. If your chocolate did not come shredded, that’s okay, take a block of baking chocolate and use a sharp knife or cheese grader to grate the top of the bar, giving you flaky bunny fur. Shaved chocolate cam melt pretty easily, so be careful not to handle it too much, as even the temperature from your hands can cause it to melt. You may want to put the freshly shaved chocolate in the fridge to keep it cool until you need it. Once you have the chocolate, simply spread an even layer of the chocolate shavings over the ganache. You will want the ganache to be cool enough to not melt the chocolate, yet not completely set enough to cause the chocolate to not stick. A good rule of thumb is as close to room temperature you can get the ganache the better. You can also use shaved coconut for the bunnies fur as well. Once you have given your bunny cake its ‘fur’, cut the ears out for your bunny using scissors. Insert the ears into the middle of the cake, on the part of the cake that makes up the bottom of the ‘heart’. This will be the top of your bunnies head. Use toothpicks underneath the ears to help support the weight of the ears. Or if you are like me and happen to be a pharmacist with extra syringes laying around, 1ml or 3ml syringes happen to be the easiest way to hold up a bunny cakes ears!