Last weekend, we had my grandparents over for dinner & to play pinochle. Since we won't see them on Easter, I wanted to have it be an Easter-ish dinner. I asked the Bup what he wanted for dessert and he said, "Chocolate cake!" Surprise! That's what he always wants...
I started thinking of how to make chocolate cake more spring/Easter themed, & stumbled on the Bunny Butt Cake, courtesy of Betty Crocker. Of course, I had to healthify it, so I made my own cake & frosting.
This cake is dense & chocolatey. It's my favorite chocolate cake - one of the few cakes that I could eat without any frosting. That's really saying something, because usually I'm a frosting nut & don't much care about the cake part. While I'm not going to say this is a health food & you should have it every day, it is fairly healthy for chocolate cake.
And the frosting!!!! It's delicious! This is my new go-to peanut butter frosting. It has no butter & no refined sugars, yet it's sweet & smooth, just like it should be. Even if you don't make the cake, you could still use the frosting for other cakes/cupcakes. Believe me, it's yummy!
If you need a dessert for Easter, I hope you'll try this!
Chocolate Bunny Butt Cake
Adapted from Eating Well
1 3/4 c white whole wheat flour or spelt flour
3/4 c evaporated cane juice (or organic sugar)
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk (I used 2 T apple cider vinegar + 1 c unsweetened almond milk)
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c hot strong black coffee
1 batch Healthy Peanut Butter Frosting (see recipe below)
2-4 T shredded coconut.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 1 1/2-quart ovenproof bowl (8 inches across top) and 6 muffin cups from a regular-size muffin tin with coooking spray.
Whisk flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. Don't worry - the batter is supposed to be thin.
Pour cake batter into the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Pour remaining batter into the ovenproof bowl.
Bake cupcakes 20-22 minutes, and the bowl 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes each before removing from muffin cups and bowl. Cool completely on wire racks.
Place large dome cake, flat side down, on a large serving platter. Coat with frosting to desired thickness, reserving some frosting for the feet and tail. Place 2 cupcakes for feet on the bottom of the cake. Place 1 cupcake for the tail a few inches up, centered between the feet. Secure each cupcake with a toothpick through the center, pushing in until it does not show. Carefully coat feet and tail with frosting. Sprinkle shredded coconut onto the tail, pressing gently so that it sticks to the frosting.
Note: This chocolate cake can also be made in 2 round 9" or 8" pans, or a 9x13 pan. Baking times will vary.
Healthy Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes 2.5 cups of frosting
1 1/3 c natural peanut butter
2/3 c water
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt (if your pb has salt in it, use the lesser amount and adjust to taste)
1/3 c old-fashioned oats
3 T maple syrup
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, adding more milk if necessary. Refrigerate in an airtight container for 2 hours to allow flavors to meld and frosting to thicken. This can be done ahead of time; I made mine the night before. When the cakes are cooling, remove from fridge to allow to come to room temperature for easier spreading. Extra frosting can be frozen in an airtight container for about 3 months.