Crushed pineapple in the batter gives this cake a dense pound cake-like texture, which is helpful when anchoring the cupcakes and decorating. The cakes and cupcakes can be made a day ahead and wrapped in plastic wrap. Don't worry if you're frosting job doesn't look perfect -- covering the cake with coconut hides every flaw.
an 8-inch (1 1/2 quart) ovenproof metal bowl; a muffin tin with paper liners
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch (1 1/2 quart) ovenproof metal bowl. Line 4 muffin cups with paper liners.
For the cake: Whisk the eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk in the cream of coconut, pineapple, coconut extract and vanilla extract until combined. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in another large bowl. Beat in the butter, one piece at a time, with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add half the egg mixture and beat on high until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the remaining egg mixture until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fill the muffin cups each 2/3 full, then pour the remaining batter into the prepared bowl. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes for the cupcakes and 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes for the bowl. Remove the cakes to a wire rack and let cool in their pans for 15 minutes, then turn them out and let cool completely.
For the buttercream: Beat the confectioners' sugar and butter together with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, then beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in 1 tablespoon of the milk and the vanilla and coconut extracts until light and spreadable, 2 to 3 minutes more, adding up to 1 tablespoon more milk if the frosting is too stiff.
With a serrated knife, trim the flat bottom of the bowl-shaped cake so it lies flat on a plate, rounded-side up, and frost with a layer of buttercream. Remove the wrappers from the cupcakes and anchor 2 of them with a pretzel stick each at the base of the cake to make the bunny's feet (leave about 1 1/2 inches between the feet). Cut the third cupcake in half from top to bottom. With pretzel sticks, attach the cupcake halves to the top of the feet, with the cut-side facing down and the rounded ends positioned to be the heels of the feet. Attach the last cupcake with a pretzel stick to the lower half of the top of the cake to make a tail. Frost the cupcakes with the remaining frosting. Wipe away any frosting that has smeared on the cake plate.
Pat about 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut all over the cake. Put the remaining coconut in a large zip-top plastic bag. Mix the green food coloring with 2 teaspoons water and add to the bag. Toss and massage the coconut until it is uniformly green in color. Press the chocolate candies into the bottoms of the bunny feet with the larger candy at the top and the smaller ones underneath so they resemble the pads of the toes. Spread the green coconut all around the cake plate to make grass and decorate with candy eggs. Flatten the apricots with a rolling pin and roll into carrot shapes. Cut the leaves in half crosswise and use scissors to snip them to resemble carrot tops. Insert the carrot tops into the wider end of the apricot carrots and arrange them in the grass around the bunny.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
Copyright 2016 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.