My mom, ever the optimist, gave me her great grandmother’s antique bunny cake mold after Cole was born. I should have asked her why she never made the cake for me while I was growing up…..
Since I’m the mother who does not bake, when Cole was about four I took the bunny mold to the local bakery and asked them to make the bunny cake. It was adorable. Cole loved it and I decided to use it as the centerpiece of my Easter table. I can’t remember why, but we never got around to eating it and eventually it just went the way all holiday left-overs seem to go.
Having such success the first year with the bunny cake – I jumped at the opportunity to send the same cake to school for Cole’s kindergarten class to enjoy. The teacher was delighted by my holiday snack offering. I took the mold to the same bakery as the year before.
Cole and I went to pick the cake up the day before it was to go to school, but a funny thing happened on the way home from the bakery….our bunny cake melted. Icing, jelly beans, and chunks of pound cake were all in a heap at the bottom of the box. Joe took one look at it and wondered what I had done to it, pronounced it dead on arrival and then, of course, dipped his finger in the icing and ate a jelly bean. Naturally, Cole then did dipped his finger in the icing and ate a jelly bean. I was left standing next to an idiot, sticky kid and a dead bunny cake. I called the bakery and told them I wanted a new bunny, and then I called Cole’s teacher and explained that the bunny cake would arrive a day late.
The next day I returned the mold to the bakery in the morning and picked up the bunny cake in the afternoon. It was perfect and made it all the way home. Cole was delighted, but then he said it he did not want to take it to school and started to cry.
“Why, honey, why don’t you want to take the bunny cake to school?” “Because, mommy, they will cut my bunny cake and then eat it” my 5 year old sobbed. Who would have expected this from a kid who was not fazed when his grandfather gutted trout in front of him? “But honey,” I explained, “the bunny is cake not real.” “I know mommy but it is beautiful.” Of course ugly trout can’t live but beautiful bunny cakes deserve to be admired forever after. I knew better than to argue with my son about aesthetics. Joe did not help when he added – “it really is a great looking bunny cake. We should keep it.” I smiled and said, “Precious, Cole’s class is expecting this cake for the second day in a row.” For those of you without an ear for the South – using the word precious when addressing a loved one means “I am going to smother you with your pillow tonight while you are sleeping if you don’t shut up, bless your heart.” Joe got it. Now what?
“Cole, sweetie,” I asked, “Would you just like to show the kids in the class your cake?” I figured once I got that bunny cake to the classroom, it was Mrs. Laura’s problem. Cole was more than happy to show off the cake – he just did not want it to be cut or eaten. The next day, I fulfilled my part of the bargain. I arrived at Cole’s Waldorf Kindergarten class with a beautiful bunny cake and a beaming five year old. On my way out of the door I muttered something to Mrs. Laura about Cole’s attachment to the cake.
By way of a little background…..Cole attended a Waldorf school kindergarten where the environment is gentle, beautiful and play-based. You will never find Disney characters, abc’s on the wall, chalkboards or books in a Waldorf early childhood class -which includes kindergarten. The children play with gnomes, knitted balls, silks, and homemade dolls and puppets. There is no paste smell, only the smell of lavender or beeswax. The teachers wear aprons and are quiet, gentle, firm, souls who guide children through the day by using routine and song. So, driving home, it occurred to me that butchering the rabbit cake might be a problem for more children than just Cole and stabbing a cake that looked like a real bunny was not the Waldorf way. I drove home grinning. The bunny cake was in the right hands.
When I arrived to pick up Cole, Mrs. Laura and Cole were beaming. The cake had been a huge hit. The bunny cake was still beautiful and intact but all the jelly beans were gone. Mrs. Laura told me how pleased all the children were that Cole brought Mr. Easter Bunny to school to share all those special jelly Easter eggs.
It’s been 10 years since I last pulled that bunny mold out, but this Easter I decided Cole and I will give making our own bunny cake the old Easter try…after all, we did manage a gingerbread house and I am not a quitter. Stay tuned for our results. . .