Carrot Zucchini Bunny Cake With Strawberry Yogurt Icing | A healthy version of a classic Spring and Easter treat. Made with whole wheat, fruits, and veggies!
Every family has its little traditions, and growing up, mine was no exception. Every year my sisters and I looked forward to the little details that made each holiday or family celebration uniquely ours. These were the kinds of things that made me believe for fleeting moments, time to time, that I had the very best family in the whole wide world.
When I became a mama, I couldn't wait to start passing on my favorite traditions to CC. Of course, certain traditions are being modified as we go along. My mother's famous Bunny Cake, for example, is something that my sisters and I all loved, but I'm not in a hurry to feed my two-year old a cake decorated with sugary frosting and candy. His obsession with sweets is bad enough as it is.
The following recipe offers a somewhat healthier reinterpretation of the bunny cake. This classic spring dessert is fortified with nutritious ingredients like minced carrot and zucchini, sweetened with a blend of sugar and natural fruits, and dressed up in a simple icing made from Greek yogurt. The cake still contains enough sugar to make it tempting, but I hope that the presence of fruits, veggies, and whole wheat helps make up for that little indulgence. Personally, I consider any way I find to sneak vegetables into my child as a big win.
I tried topping my bunny two ways. First, I topped the cake the way my Mom always did. I gave Mr. Bunny a sort-of cute, but also kind of creepy smiling face made from berries instead of candy. This was a cute idea, but I thought it might be more fun to try something a little more sophisticated. Inspired by the fruit-covered tarts that I always drool over at my local grocery store, I topped my second cake with a mosaic of kiwi, berries, and sliced strawberry. Of the two, I really love how the second turned out.
Little kids, on the other hand, would probably prefer Mr. Bunny Face!
A note on the icing: I added powdered sugar, per the yogurt frosting recipes I've seen, but it never really thickened up. Since strawberry yogurt is already sweet enough, I think I'd leave the powdered sugar out next time. I'm going to leave it in as an optional ingredient, and you can try it either way.
Carrot Zucchini Bunny Cake With Strawberry Yogurt Icing
Makes one cake that will serve 12-16
For the cake
- 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 eggs
- 2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cups minced zucchini
- 1 cup minced carrots
- 1 cup blueberries
For the topping
- 1 cup strawberry flavored Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (optional)
- assorted fresh fruit and berries
- Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease two round 8" cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flax seed and water and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, banana, applesauce, maple syrup, olive oil, lemon juice, vanilla, and sugar to the bowl and mix well.
- In a second bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just combined. Add carrot and zucchini, then fold in blueberries.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 60 – 65 minutes. To check if cake is done, insert toothpick in center. If it comes out clean and dry, the cake has finished baking.
- Let cakes cool in pans for about 15 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack.
- While cakes are cooling, whisk together yogurt and powdered sugar, then chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. This is a good time to prepare the fruits for your topping. Rinse and dry fruits, peel and slice kiwi, remove tops and slice strawberries.
- When cakes have cooled completey, transfer one cake to a cutting board. Cut two matching ovals from each side of the cake, making the cake into the shape of one bowtie and two ears. Arrange the cake pieces and whole cake on a tray or platter. Cover and chill cake until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, coat the cake with a liberal layer of icing and top with fruit and berries.