There is a tradition in my house around this time of year. Come Easter Sunday, a cake must be made, and it must be made in the shape of a bunny or a lamb, using a special bunny- or lamb-shaped cake pan (preferably the one passed along to me by my mother, from her mother). Once the cake is baked, it's frosted with white icing and lavished with pastel-dyed coconut (to represent bunny fur or lambswool, if bunnies had a thing for Manic Panic hair color). Jelly beans stand in for eyes, mouth, and general bejeweling. The type of cake--white, yellow, lemon--is less important than the fabulousness of the decoration.
Now, if you're the sort of person who notices bylines, you might be a little curious by now. Why is someone named Rosenbaum waxing rhapsodic about bunny cake? Shouldn't a Rosenbaum be making matzoh kugel this time of year, chopping charoseth and grating horseradish, whipping up a batch of Marcy Goldman-via-David Lebovitz chocolate-covered toffee matzoh crunch?
Well, as a matter of fact, I'm doing that too. On a line for religious affiliation, I'd have to write "Baking Jew." My Hebrew skills are nonexistent and my grasp of Torah imprecise, but I can whip up a mean Rosh Hashanah honey cake, an excellent Purim hamentaschen, a swell matzoh ball and a pretty great Seder spongecake, even in a studio apartment with a kitchen counter smaller than a newspaper.
So, where does the bunny cake come in? The short answer: my mother converted when she got married. So my sisters and I were raised Jewish, with no bacon, Hebrew school three times a week, challah French toast on Saturdays and lox and bagels on Sundays. But we still got to have fun on Easter, in a purely secular, egg-dyeing way, up at my grandmother's house. We would spend a gleeful afternoon on an Easter-egg hunt around her house, filling our plastic-grass lined baskets with Peeps, Cadbury creme eggs, and hollow-eared chocolate bunnies.