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Let 'Em Eat Cake

As Easter approaches, we’re all struck by the inspiring story of the resurrection, bringing hope to all of us. Meanwhile, Mother Bear Earth is waking up from her long hibernation, bringing us milder weather and pushing flowers through the ground.

These events pleased me, but truth be told, the season brought other benefits in the spring of 1955. As I was leafing through one of my mom’s many magazines, I spied a Betty Crocker ad, offering a pattern book for the cutest bunny cake I’d ever seen. (This was not hard, since I’d never seen a bunny cake before in my life, and thought the pictured one stunningly clever.)


The book was available for only 75 cents via the US Mails. Please remember that this was long before online orders or even credit cards, so my mother helped me tape three quarters to a piece of cardboard, which we placed in an envelope along with my mailing address. I impatiently checked the mail each day, awaiting the pattern book for this ten-year-old budding baker to make her rabbity masterpiece. At last, it came and not only had a pattern for my bunny cake, but ones for other holiday cakes as well—multiple bangs for my buck.


So, the day before Easter, I baked the Betty Crocker white cake mix in Mother’s 9” x 13” pan and carved it up after it cooled. As usual, my indulgent mom made sure we had all the decorations:  pink jellybeans for the eyes, black pipe cleaners for whiskers and plenty of coconut to be sprinkled over the seven-minute homemade frosting. That final touch provided the furry factor, needed to complete the ensemble.  Mom had thoughtfully covered a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil (what we called tin foil,) for displaying this work of art.

I was as proud of the thing as if it were an eight-layer wedding cake. Aware of her young baker’s pride, my mother took the attached picture of me, beaming, on Easter morning, still in my pajamas and standing in our driveway. I guess maybe we thought the Easter bunny would be suitably impressed by his likeness.

Fast forward to my granddaughter, another family baker. She found multiple patterns online with faces ranging from an Easter-ish clown to something akin to a vampire. All, however, were much more sophisticated than my simple product so long ago. The teen baker laughs in the picture as she shows us her version of Bugs, with curved ears and a smiling face—an amazingly cheerful visage for someone about to be consumed. (The bunny, not my granddaughter.)


So, for all you cooks out there contemplating Easter menus, I say, “Let ‘em eat cake!”


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