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Preheat oven to 340F. Butter and flour three 6-inch cake pans. Soak baking strips in water. Strain the strawberry preserves.
Sift dry ingredients (including sugar). Whisk to combine.
In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
Combine wet and dry mixtures. Whisk until combined. Add a few drops of pink food coloring until a desired consistency is reached. If the batter is lumpy, it’s okay!
Add baking strips to the cake pans.
Evenly distribute batter into pans. I like to use a kitchen scale for precision.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until the centers are set and springy to the touch.
Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar, slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
In a medium saucepan add the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup water then place on medium-low heat.
Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear. Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.
Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately.
Run the mixer until meringue is cool/tepid or for about 15 minutes. You can speed up the process by adding bags of frozen peas to the base of the bowl.
Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.
Add the salt and vanilla.
Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.
Distribute into small bowls.
Use food coloring to create a gradient of colors.
Transfer to piping bags. Snip off the tips of each bag.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter until fluffy.
Sift in half of the confectioners sugar. Mix, then add the rest.
Squeeze lemon juice and pour in 1 tbsp of strained strawberry preserves.
Transfer 2 cups of the buttercream to bowl. Dye some a darker pink. Add the dark pink and the light pink to a piping bag fitted with a 127 tip for the roses. Transfer the rest to another piping bag. Snip off the tip.
Cut a square of parchment paper. Use a tiny bit of buttercream to glue the paper to the piping nail for more stability.
Pipe a small cone of very thick buttercream in the middle of the square.
Use a 127 tip with the pointy side up to make the petals.
Start with a spiral for the center.
Pipe small arches for each petal, pointing the tip outward as you get towards the outer petals.
Pipe the strawberry buttercream between each layer.
Crumb coat the cake with the strawberry buttercream. Smooth with a scraper.
Starting with the darkest pink, pipe the Italian Meringue gradient.
Smooth with a scraper.
Chill the cake for about 10-15 minutes.
Place the chocolate bunny in the middle.
Scatter the roses and eggs throughout the top of the cake.