There is nothing more versatile than cupcakes when it comes to edible dcor. I love cupcakes! They can capture birthday party themes, baby genders for showers, wedding colors and of course, holidays.
Here we explore a couple different cupcakes that are perfect for Easter. If you’re the arts and crafts type, you’ve got to give these cupcakes a shot.
Spun Sugar Nest Easter Cupcakes
I was browsing the Internet for Easter cupcake ideas when I came across the cutest thing-spun sugar nests as cupcake toppers. Adorable, but harder than it looks. These delightful desserts are not for the faint of heart, but they are well worth the effort.
I’d like to say that everything we try in the kitchen works out perfectly, but the truth is we usually make quite a few mistakes before we get things right. This was our first time trying spun sugar and after one pot of blackened sugar, another of crystalized mess, a few singed fingers and several piles of knotted wisps of hardened sugar, we finally got it right.
The end result? A delicate nest of spun sugar topped with three blue Cadbury eggs sitting on a Bavarian cream-filled cupcake with caramel frosting. They were spectacular.
Because we made a few mistakes along the way, we learned some tricks that we would like to share:
1. Use an ice bath to avoid burning the caramel. After burning our first batch of sugar, we decided to try something different. Place a thermometer in your pot of sugar so you can carefully monitor the temperature. The heating process starts slow, but once it starts getting closer to the goal temperature of 302 degrees, it speeds up. We placed a large, metal bowl full of ice next to our stove top and quickly placed our hot pot of sugar on top of the ice bowl so it would stop cooking.
2. Don’t leave your pot in the ice bath for too long. If you leave your pot in the ice for too long, it will start to cool and it will be very hard to spin. We found that out the hard way. As soon as your temperature stops going up, take the pot of sugar out of the ice.
3. If your sugar cools too quickly, you can reheat it. The sugar you are spinning should be very much a liquid. If it starts to harden, heat it up slowly, until it returns to a liquid form.
4. Try using a tiny sauce bowl to help shape your nest. We flipped over a very small bowl and shaped our nest to it as we spun the sugar.
For the Cupcakes
For the cupcakes we used one package of our Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes. Make the cupcakes as directed on the package and let cool.
For the Filling
For the Caramel Frosting
1 c. caramel ice cream topping, warmed
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. caramel flavor
2-4 tbs. milk or cream
1. Fill the cooled cupcakes with the Bavarian Cream filling.
2. To make the frosting, scrape the soft caramel into the bowl with your stand-type mixer. Make sure the caramel is not too warm to melt the butter and add the cold butter to the caramel and beat.
3. Add the powdered sugar and flavor and beat in. Add enough milk or cream to reach the right consistency.
For Spun Sugar Nests (makes 12 nests)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp caramel flavor
36 blue chocolate Cadbury eggs (3 for each cupcake)
1. In a large saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar and water. Heat on medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves.
2. Increase the heat and boil until the temperature reaches 302 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Once it reaches the proper temperature, remove from the heat and stir in the caramel flavoring.
3. Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Using two forks, collect a small amount of your hot sugar mixture onto one fork and use another to pull the sugar into small strands. The strands should come out very thin, just a little thicker than a strand of hair. If your spinning becomes difficult, you may need to grab a couple clean forks or reheat your sugar.
4. Once you have enough spun sugar for one nest, shape it into a small birds nest and set it aside.
5. When you have all of your bird nests made, place them on top of the frosted cupcakes and finish with three small Cadbury eggs.
Coconut Nest Easter Cupcakes
If you are looking for a quick Easter dessert, these cupcakes are.
..well, a piece of cake.
Play with colors, candies and fillings to make traditional Easter cupcakes with unique flavors. And don’t be scared of phrases like “cupcake filling” or “colored coconut.” The simplicity of these cupcakes might surprise you.
For the Cupcakes
1 package Vanilla Baby Cakes
2 teaspoons lemon extract
For the Frosting and Topping
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk (if needed)
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup shredded coconut
For the Filling
1. Make the cupcakes as directed on the package, but add the lemon extract to the batter before baking.
2. Once the cupcakes have cooled, fill them with the lemon pastry filling by snipping a small hole in the corner of the 2 lb. bag and stick it into the center of the cupcake squeezing a little into each cupcake.
3. For the frosting, cream the butter. Add the powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice and coconut extract. Add the 1 tablespoon milk, if needed.
4. Frost the filled cupcakes and top with the colored coconut flakes and candy eggs (see below for how to color your coconut flakes).
Coloring Coconut Flakes
– Put the desired amount of coconut flakes in a gallon size plastic bag. If you want more than one color, separate the coconut into one bag for each color.
– Put a drop of food color in the bag with the coconut.
– Hold the bag tight and shake and rustle the coconut with the food color until the coconut is the desired color.
– When taking the colored coconut out of the bag and placing on the cupcakes, you may want to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands with food color.
How to Fill Cupcakes
Here at The Prepared Pantry, we have 2 lb. bags of pastry fillings that work great for filling cupcakes straight out of the bag. Once your cupcakes have baked and cooled, snip a small hole in the corner of the bag. Stick the corner straight into the center of the cupcake and squeeze a small amount into it. When holding the cupcake, you will feel it puff out a little as it is filled. Repeat with each cupcake. If you have leftover filling, fold and secure the corner and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. For a video tutorial, click here>>
Top of Dennis Weaver has burnt food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking, available free in an e-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon for $10.
He loves to help people bake and is giving away Free Digital Cookbooks and Magazines. There is no cost or obligation. To sign up for the FREE subscription of “Country Home Kitchen” and other great E-books and giveaways, click here.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children.
Casey Archibald is a journalist who has experience working in the newspaper industry. She was trained in English and journalism at Brigham Young University-Idaho. She has works in marketing and loves writing about cooking and baking at The Prepared Pantry. Cooking has been a hobby of Casey’s since she was a little girl. She also enjoys cooking for her husband and trying new recipes.
She enjoys food photography and graphic design as she works as the editor of the “Country Home Kitchen“ magazine at The Prepared Pantry.
Casey lives in Rigby, Idaho with her husband, David. Not to mention an energetic but adorable chocolate lab, Copper.
To learn more about The Prepared Pantry, visit our website at www.preparedpantry.com