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Bunny Cake Tradition

“Gran, is it my turn to do the bunny cake face?” eight-year-old Micah asked. 

My first thought was that I’m happy my young Grand wants to continue the tradition of decorating an Easter cake. My oldest Grand, Samuel, now almost 18, first stood on a stool to reach the kitchen counter to decorate a bunny cake.

             The cake recipe and a picture come from my mom’s recipe collection, and a hand-written note read, “Easter – ‘78.”  My Grands’ mother was a toddler then so a bunny cake has been a long-time family tradition.

Imagine an 8” round cake layer as the bunny’s face and another cake layer cut to make the ears and a bow tie.  The picture shows jelly beans for the eyes and nose, threads of red licorice for whiskers and the mouth, gumdrops on the bow tie, and pink colored coconut on the ears.  

We gave up the coconut years ago because no child likes coconut – at least none I know. Through the years, jelly beans have replaced gum drops and no two cakes have looked the same.  One or two Grands can easily share decorating, but when three or four want to help, we determine which part of the cake each person decorates.

When I told Micah that I wasn’t sure who would decorate the bunny’s face, he said, “I did an ear last year and haven’t done the face in a long time.” Then his three older sisters chimed in.

“I think I did the other ear,” said Annabel.

“Annabel, didn’t you do the bow tie last year?  It was completely covered with jelly beans,” said Lucy.

“Was last year when Elsie made a Harry Potter face?”  Micah asked.

“Remember when someone made one eye high and the other one crying?  Who did that?”

“Do you think Samuel will help this year?”

“Did you get that red stuff for the whiskers?” I did. Finally, a question I could answer.

It was determined that no one knew for sure whose turn it is to decorate the face, the most important part of the cake, and that all four thought they might have done an ear, the least favorite, last year.  Someone ended the discussion when she said, “It’s okay, Gran, we’ll figure it out.”  (This year I’ll make a note of ears, bow tie, and face.)

Years ago, I didn’t know that Samuel and I were staring a tradition for his family.  I do know that the bunny cake has never looked exactly like the picture and each year’s cake depends on the whims of the decorators and how many jelly beans are available.

And I know this tradition is important. Traditions connect generations.  Traditions comfort.  Traditions offer stability.  Traditions make memories. Traditions create a sense of belonging.  

Decorating an Easter bunny cake is much more than fun and to have dessert for Easter Sunday dinner, it’s tradition.  I agree with a quote I recently read: Tradition is a very powerful force. 


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