Birds' nest cupcakes

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Spring is in the air, and these birds' nest cupcakes show it. They are a delightful dessert to give or to indulge in yourself. The triple flavor combination of vanilla, chocolate and coconut is divine.

Birds nest cupcakes

Cupcakes are the perfect treat for any occasion. They're quicker and simpler to prepare than a layered cake, and their individual serving size makes for easy cleanup. Another great thing about cupcakes is that almost everyone likes them. They're made to please a crowd, especially when properly decorated. The following recipe is for moist vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting and decorated with melt-in-your-mouth chocolate Cadbury egg candies and toasted coconut. You'll have cupcakes that you and those lucky enough to enjoy them are going to remember.

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe vanilla cupcakes (below)
  • 1 recipe chocolate buttercream (below)
  • 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 36 blue chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs (see note below)
  • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1

Prepare the cupcakes according to the directions below. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Toast the coconut by preheating an oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut onto a cookie sheet and bake it in the preheated oven for 8 to 9 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through baking and watching closely to prevent overtoasting. Allow the coconut to cool.

Toast coconut

2

Prepare the chocolate buttercream frosting, as well as the orange-tinted frosting for beaks, according to the directions below. Frost the cooled cupcakes with the chocolate buttercream frosting.

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3

Gently press three blue Cadbury Mini Eggs into the center of each cupcake with the pointed end facing down (the larger rounded side should be facing up). Sprinkle toasted coconut around the Cadbury Mini Eggs on each cupcake (try to work quickly doing this — before the frosting sets up — so the coconut sticks better).

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4

Fill a zip-close bag with orange-tinted frosting. Using a scissors, cut a very small tip off the edge of the bag and pipe beaks onto the Cadbury Mini Eggs. (You can practice on a plate — there's enough in the recipe. Also, you can use a toothpick to clean up mistakes.)

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5

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring after each interval until they're melted and smooth. Using a toothpick, paint eyes onto the chicks with the melted chocolate. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container. Enjoy!

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Note

It's likely you'll need to purchase two 10-ounce bags of the Mini Cadbury Eggs if you want to have only blue chicks. Otherwise, if you want to purchase only one bag, you could make half blue and half pink (or yellow or white). There are usually enough blue eggs from one 10-ounce bag to make seven to nine cupcakes with blue chicks.

Vanilla cupcakes

Recipe source: Cook's Illustrated, from joyofbaking.com

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened and diced into pieces
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. Add in the butter, egg, egg yolks, vanilla and sour cream, and then beat the ingredients together with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth. Don't overmix. (If necessary, after the allotted 30 seconds, stir the batter with a rubber spatula until the flour is fully incorporated.)
  3. Divide the mixture evenly among 12 paper-lined muffin cups (they should each be about 2/3 full).
  4. Bake cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate buttercream

Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Yellow and red food-coloring gel

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the butter until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Blend in the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla, and mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Put 2-1/2 tablespoons of the frosting (without cocoa powder) into a small bowl and tint it with the yellow and red gel food coloring to reach the desired color. (Note that a little goes a long way, so use the coloring sparingly. Also, use more yellow than red.)
  4. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining nontinted frosting mixture and, using an electric mixer, whip until well combined.

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