Oil, for the cake pans
2 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 1/2 c. light brown sugar
7 large eggs
1 3/4 c. (3 1/2 sticks), unsalted butter, melted
16 oz. carrots (about 8 medium), grated
1 1/2 c. dried apricots (or golden raisins), chopped
1 c. toasted pecans, chopped
Zest of 1 orange
White gum paste
Pink gum paste
Gold food coloring spray
1 strand spaghetti
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temp
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil three 8-inch cake pans, then line with parchment paper; oil parchment.
- In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Using an electric mixer, beat together sugar, eggs, and butter on medium-high speed until mixture is pale and has almost doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in flour mixture until not quite combined, then fold in carrots, apricots, pecans, and orange zest.
- Divide batter between prepared cake pans and bake, rotating pans halfway, until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 55 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto rack to cool completely.
- On a work surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, roll white gum paste 1/8 inches thick and cut out bunny ears. Repeat with pink gum paste, making smaller ear shapes. Using a little water as glue, stick pink ear shapes inside white ears. Wrap the top of one ear over a rolling pin to create a curve, then let dry at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
- Make bunny cheeks and nose using white and pink gum paste. For eyes, roll gum paste into logs, shape, and spray with edible gold spray. Let dry at least 1 hour.
- Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, then increase speed to medium and beat to combine. Mix in vanilla.
- To assemble, using a large serrated knife, cut tops off cakes to make even. Cut each cake in half through equator so there are 6 layers. Using a little frosting as glue, place 1 layer on an 8-inch cardboard cake round, top with 1/2 cup frosting, and top with another cake layer. Repeat until all 6 layers are used. Cover cake in thin layer of frosting, then refrigerate at least 20 minutes. Spread with remaining frosting, using a large offset spatula to make icing smooth, then refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
- Once gum paste is dry, press ears into top of bunny cake and gently push cheeks, nose, and eyes onto front of cake. For whiskers, stick 2-in. pieces spaghetti into cheeks. Wrap bottom of cake with ribbon and top cake with flowers if desired.