It’s been almost week since Easter. Between after-holiday sales and my son’s Easter candy stash, I realized we were being overrun by Peeps. All things considered, it’s not a hard situation to be in. Over the last few years, there has been a huge increase in the types and varieties of the deliciously sweet-and-crunchy-on-the-outside-gooey-and-soft-on-the-inside wonderment that is the popular marshmallow bunny. As a matter of fact, I already lost count of all the flavors and colors I’ve seen, although we somehow always end up with the original yellow bunnies. Still, not a bad thing. You either love ’em or hate ’em. Personally, I love them.
The only “issue” I have is that the shelf life of a sugar-coated bunny is pretty short. I find that even an unopened package will yield a hard, stale, icky-ness within a week or two. Maybe it’s the humidity of Texas spring weather. Who knows. I just don’t like for these precious, little mallow cuties to die in vain.
Well, I guess there is one other “issue”. What should I do with this abundance of Peeps? Then I remembered seeing an Easter cake on the Betty Crocker website. And even though Easter has come and gone, I thought I could still make this cake and call it a “Spring Garden” cake (like we need an excuse to have cake…). Also, I just happened to have *most* of the ingredients on hand.
So, I got to work following the directions (which can be found by clicking the link above or here).
According to the Betty Crocker website, I needed:
1 box of Betty Crocker Devil’s Food cake mix
Water, oil, and eggs called for on the box
1 container of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
1 can of Betty Crocker green cake decorating icing
1 can of Betty Crocker orange cake decorating icing
8 – 12 Peeps
Ok, so I had the cake mix (and all necessary add-ins), frosting, cookies to make crumbs with and, of course, the Peeps. I thought I had the decorating icing, but what I really had was cookie icing. I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the difference?”. Well, the icing for a cake is thick and spreadable whereas the cookie icing is thin and fluid so that it can easily “flood” the surface of a cookie and will later harden.
After much rooting around in my pantry, cupboards, and Easter candy, I came up with a reasonable substitution: flaked coconut and gummy carrots. Stick with me!
I baked the cake according to package directions and…
As soon as it had cooled (after about 30-45 minutes), I frosted the cake. Side note, for those who think you couldn’t possibly frost a cake, the best way I have found is to plop down a nice bit of frosting in the middle of the cake and use an offset spatula to push the frosting outward towards the edges.
Then, gradually add more frosting until it is completely covered.
Also, with this cake (or any cake for that matter), the frosting doesn’t have to be perfect. Remember, we’re about to cover up this cake and make it into a “garden”. It’s a good thing to keep in mind, even if you mess up a cake while frosting, I’m sure there’s a way you can fix it. Don’t be afraid to use something you have on hand like nuts, candy, sprinkles, crushed up cookies, gummy bears, fruit…etc. (you’re limited to your pantry and imagination).
Anyway, back to the task at hand.
Now that the cake is all frosted, we need to grow some grass. That brings us to the flaked coconut. Since the cookie icing I had was too thin to make grass with, I thought I would use approximately 1 cup of coconut and gradually stir in some green icing until the coconut was covered.
It did take quite a bit of icing. After a few squirts, it still wasn’t completely green.
Once I was satisfied, I began to sprinkle the “grass” on the cake along the borders and made rows similar to the picture on the Betty Crocker website.
Super easy! Next, we needed to get down and dirty. To make the chocolate cookie crumbs, I scraped out the filling of about 10 chocolate sandwich cookies and placed the now 20 naked cookies in a sandwich bag. Next, I used a heavy rolling pin (though a heavy pan would work. In a pinch, you could even use the bottom of a drinking glass) to crush the cookies into crumbs.
Then came filling in the rows with dirt so that we can plant our carrots.
Once this was done, I proceeded to cut the tops off of some gummy carrots and press them gently into the top of the cake. Again, use your imagination. I’m sure you could cut the ears off of some orange Peeps and top with some green icing to get a similar effect. You could also pipe some green icing onto some Reese’s Pieces or orange M&M’s.
Next, I placed some toothpicks into the bottoms of some Peeps. This was to help the bunnies stick better to the cake without falling over.
Then, randomly place the bunnies throughout your garden, annnnnnd you’re done!
I must say, it was fun to eat the cake. My son loved getting to choose which bunny he would harvest from this cake garden to eat along with his piece of “land”. And look at that little guy. So happy to not have to suffer the fate of being dried out in a cardboard package.