Whenever Easter rolls around I get a kick out of seeing all the Easter candy at the store. I’m not a huge fan of candy — I didn’t even taste Peeps until I was well into my twenties, but I do love pastels and marshmallows, so Peeps are definitely my Easter candy of choice. I just can’t resist those neon sugar covered squishy bunnies. And yes, I know Peeps are called Peeps after the marshmallow chicks, but I think the bunnies are so much more iconic.
I actually had a little trouble finding bunny Peeps this year. Target had plenty of chicks, in various flavours and colors (they have party cake and chocolate covered mousse!), but there was a decided lack of bunnies. I freaked out a little and I think I scared the Target employee, especially since she had no idea what I was talking about. Believe it or not, she had no idea that Peeps even came in bunny shape. I was so confused that Mike had to drag me away from the Easter display while I was still muttering, “Where are the bunnies!?”
Luckily, I found some bunnies at Vons. And they didn’t just have one color, but three! I was ecstatic. Seems like an extreme emotion for Peeps I know, but I had an idea of how these mini cakes were going to look like in my head and I was determined to make it happen. But even after finding my Peeps, it seemed like the world was conspiring against my coconut cakes. See, my favorite coconut cake recipe calls for unsweetened shredded coconut, which is strangely uncommon here in San Diego. It’s kind of funny because there’s a large selection of shredded coconut in Canada and I was more than a little surprised that it wasn’t something in the regular baking aisle.
While there was a dearth of unsweetened shredded coconut in the baking aisle, there were bags and bags of the sweetened stuff. I wasn’t going to let a little sugar get in the way of me and my cake, so I decided to go with it. There’s only a quarter cup of coconut in this recipe so to be honest, it doesn’t make much of a difference, but if you’re sensitive to sugar, feel free to reduce the sugar by a tablespoon or two. From what I can recall, the sweetened vs. unsweetened coconut didn’t change much — the main difference was that this cake was a tiny bit more moist.
I’m a card carrying member of the mini cake club and I’m loving it! Cookie cutters make it so, so easy to cut a sheet cake into rounds and as a bonus you get cake scraps to snack on. The Peeps are optional of course, but they add a little bit of Easter bunny cuteness so I don’t see why you wouldn’t. Plus it’s kind of fun putting toothpicks up their little bunny bums!
Coconut Cake Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 3 tiny (2 inch) 2 layer cakes, plus cake scraps
- 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened or sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 stick of room temperature butter
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 bunny peeps, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line your pan with parchment paper. I used an enamel pan that measures 11″x9″ and was able to cut six two-inch rounds, with quite a lot space inbetween. You should be able to use a 11″x7″ pan and cut out 6 rounds comfortably.
Sift the dry ingredients and set aside. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, mix together the coconut milk and vanilla.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg white and mix well.
Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from the pan.
Make the frosting: Cream together the mascarpone and sugar until light and fluffy. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipping cream and vanilla into the mascarpone.
When completely cool, use a 2-inch round cookie cutter and cut out as many rounds as you can. Top each round with mascarpone frosting and stack them up. To top with peeps, spear a bunny on a toothpick and push into the centre of the cake.