The Making of Martha's Magnificent Bedford Easter Cake
As a young child, I was enchanted with Beatrix Potter's stories of Peter Rabbit. I loved following the mischievous bunny's adventures with his family and friends, and especially enjoyed imagining the colorful landscape they scampered around.
Twenty years ago, I developed an oversize Spring Garden Cake that was inspired by Mr. McGregor's vegetable patch. It had two layers, zucchini and carrot, and was embellished with dozens of meticulously formed marzipan flowers, fruits, and vegetables. It was beautiful, but I admit that crafting all those elements was complicated.
When I began thinking about Easter this year, I wanted to create a new twist on that cake, and worked with Living food editors Shira Bocar and Lauryn Tyrell to plot a design based on my Bedford farm in spring. We would re-create the old spruce fencing that edges the paddocks, the drifts of daffodils, the gravel path that runs between my clipped boxwood hedging, and, to play up the holiday, add colored eggs to represent my annual Easter-egg hunt.
The cake is deliciously tender, flavored with orange zest and almonds and frosted with a light buttercream. The decorations —"boxwood" cake balls covered in nonpareils, marzipan "daffodils," and piped buttercream "grass"—look challenging but don’t require special skills. Once it was decorated, I nestled in a couple of small bunny figurines—my nod to Peter and his siblings. I can't wait to share the cake with my grandchildren.
Pipe the Lawn
Swiss meringue buttercream that's been tinted green is piped at a 90-degree angle with a grass decorating-tip attachment ($8.75, amazon.com).
Shape the Boxwood
Cake balls (crumbled cake mixed with buttercream) are rolled in green nonpareils ($4 for 4 oz., confectioneryhouse.com). The "shrubs" are formed in two sizes, to mimic Martha’s undulating allée.
Construct the Fence
Mold the Daffodils
Martha's Makeup by Daisy Toye; Martha's Hair by Jovi Offitto.