Spoiler: Easter is not about bunnies
Anyone find it hard to explain Easter to kids? I did.
Easter is an extraordinary day. It is the most important Christian event—more significant than Christmas. It’s the day Jesus Christ, the Messiah, rose from the dead. The resurrection. On the third day, Christ rose from the dead after His crucifixion on a cross…
So where did the Easter Bunny come from? Bunnies don’t lay eggs?
According to many sources, the Easter Bunny started as a German pagan holiday in the 1700s called Oschter Haws. Children would put nests out for an egg-laying bunny. The bunny would put colored eggs in the nest for the child overnight.
Before Oschter Haws, early Christians abstained from eggs during Lent. People would decorate eggs and eat them on Easter Sunday.
Additionally, the old celebration of Ostara, the goddess of fertility who brought the end of winter was popular hundreds of years-ago. Her partner was a rabbit, which is a sign of fertility.
When my kids were young, I was disappointed when I discovered the origins of the Easter Bunny. I was not overly joyous with the idea of a fertility goddess who was married to a rabbit. But, when I thought about the alternative, and trying to explain an excruciatingly painful death on a cross, a crown of thorns, 39 lashes, blood, and human sacrifice—That’s way too much for a young child to understand or think about—It’s hard for me to think about.
Bunnies emerge from their dens after a long cold winter. They are some of the first animals we see outside, beside birds and squirrels. Eggs symbolize birth. Nests are like baskets. Hiding eggs reminds us of the empty tomb and the women who went looking for Jesus after He rose from the dead.
Explaining to children the connection between Christ’s death and new life and what it means for us is a good place to start. It’s easier for kids understand things when they can see or touch something, like an egg or a bunny shaped cake. Explaining why we hide candy in eggs—that Christ died and was buried in a tomb and came out on the third day—and that he is our real treasure inside is an easy place to start.
Bunnies are cute, and they don’t lay eggs. If anything, they can help soften the true story of Easter.
Easter Bunny Mini Cakes
These are kind of like French Petit Fours, but easier and fun for kids make…
For the Cake:
1 box white cake mix
4 egg whites
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. almond flavoring
1 tsp. strawberry extract (Optional)
1/2 cup colored sprinkles, plus more for the tops of the finished cakes
For the Icing:
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup hot water
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350℉. Line a large 18 x 15 rimmed baking sheet or use one 9 x 13 pan and one 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick cooking spray on the sides and where the parchment paper doesn’t cover. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and extracts. Mix with a hand mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in sprinkles. Pour into prepared pan. Spread evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes until cake bounces bake when touched in the middle. Cool completely.
For the frosting:
In a double boiler, in the bottom, bring 2-inches of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the white chocolate chips to the top pan. Set aside and let the chips melt. Stir occasionally.
In another bowl, mix the powdered sugar, water, and corn syrup together. Stir in melted white chocolate chips. Stir until smooth and the consistency of syrup.
With a bunny, egg or shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes.
Set bunny shaped cakes on a wire grate set over another baking sheet.
Pour frosting over each cake cutout until each cake cutout is completely covered in icing letting the excess frosting drip into the bottom pan.
Sprinkle the tops with more sprinkles while the frosting is wet. Allow to dry for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.