A fun Easter treat kids can decorate with sweet dried fruit – free of artificial dyes – or they can pile on the jelly beans. Either way, this Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake will make everyone smile.
When I was growing up, Easter dinner was not a fancy affair with a ham at the center of the table. In fact, we rarely ate at a table.
Instead, Mom packed an Easter picnic – with an Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake crowning the center of the picnic blanket.
I grew up in Montana, so Easter was always our first chance to get outside after the snow and go for a hike and usually pick wildflowers. When Easter was early, it was one cold picnic. So Dad often made a campfire. And now, writing this, I think I may have discovered how our tradition of Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake came into being: campfires >> s’mores >> marshmallows >> marshmallow popcorn cake!
Our tradition continued no matter the weather. One year, we drove to Arizona for Easter to visit my grandparents who lived there during Montana winters. I have never forgotten eating Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake in the shade of a giant saguaro cactus.
These days, I make round and rectangle-shaped Popcorn Cakes often when I need to take a treat to kids’ parties, play dates or other “please bring a dessert” occasions. While they are covered in ooey-gooey marshmallows, they still contain kid-friendly good nutrition:
- Whole grain popcorn
- Peanuts, pistachios or other nuts
- Raisins, dried cranberries, prunes, dried apricots and other dried fruits
The Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake I make for my kids usually includes colorful jelly beans – because, we’ve just come through the long 40-day desert of candy-free Lent, but the dried cranberry, raisin and dried fig decorated bunny pictured above is free of artificial dyes and colors. (Many marshmallows contain artificial dye Blue 1. Brands that do not contain artificial dyes include Walmart’s Great Value Marshmallows and my Chicago favorite Dandies.) Pile high with jelly beans - or dye-free dried fruit - Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake via @TspCurry Click To Tweet
Whatever your weather on Easter, I hope you get a chance to get outside and take a hike, and eat Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake, and maybe even eat it while sitting on a picnic blanket.Print
Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake
A fun Easter treat kids can decorate with sweet dried fruit – free of artificial dyes – or jelly beans. This Easter Bunny Popcorn Cake will make them smile.
- Yield: About 12
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 2 quarts air-popped or microwave popcorn (about 1/3 cup unpopped popcorn kernals)
- 1 cup pistachios
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 10 ounce package marshmallows
- (Optional)1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- (Optional) Additional dried fruit for decorations or jelly beans
- To make a serving platter, flip a large baking tray upside down. Cover with 2 large sheets of aluminum foil.
- Coat a large mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray (to make sticky marshmallow clean-up easier.) In the bowl, mix together popcorn, pistachios and cranberries. Set aside.
- Coat a saucepan with cooking spray; heat butter over medium heat just until melted and stir in marshmallows. Turn down to low and stir until marshmallows are melted. (I find the stove method produces molten marshmallows that are easier to work with and don’t harden as quickly as the microwaved marshmallows. But if you need them, here are instructions for the microwave: Cook marshmallows with butter on 70-80% power in microwave until butter is melted, about 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through.)
- Immediately pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn mixture. Sprinkle with optional sea salt and stir quickly. Working quickly, spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray and scoop up popcorn mixture and place on overturned baking sheet and shape into a bunny head. (See photo below) Decorate with dried fruit or jelly beans.
What are your Easter traditions now? What were your Easter traditions growing up?