Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easy Easter Dessert: Mini Bird's Nest Cupcakes

In front of my cousin's house there is a little pine tree in which a red-breasted robin faithfully lays her eggs each year. The nest would always be low enough for us to peek inside and, over the course of a few weeks, we would watch the eggs hatch into nestlings and the featherless chicks grow their wings, until one day we'd find with bittersweet surprise that the nest is once again empty from their newfound flight.

The robin's beautiful blue eggs always reminded me of the candy coated chocolate eggs that are sold in stores around this time of the year. So for this Easter, I'm making these mini bird's nest cupcakes that are perfect for celebrating this holiday of new life and the promise of spring. Plus, I think they're just adorable!


These mini bird's nest cupcakes are super easy to make. If you're lazy resourceful like me, you can buy pre-made mini cupcakes from pretty much any supermarket bakery. If you want to make the cupcakes yourself, you can go the cake mix route or--if you've got both the time and the ambition--make everything from scratch. If you're making the cupcakes yourself, you do have more flavor options. I personally really like the pairing of lemon cake with vanilla frosting, it's light and refreshing--perfect for the season of spring.

Ingredients:

12 mini cupcakes, either homemade or store bought
Frosting, if making cupcakes from scratch
1/2 cup (slightly packed) coconut flakes
Candy coated chocolate eggs (approx. size of a grape)

Instructions:

1. Brown the coconut flakes in the oven or on the stovetop. If using an oven: spread the coconut flakes on a sheet pan in a single layer and bake at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes, monitoring the baking closely and tossing the coconut flakes regularly to make sure they don't burn. If using a stovetop: spread the coconut flakes in a large pan in a single layer and cook on medium heat, tossing the coconut flakes regularly to make sure they don't burn.

2. Once the coconut flakes are nicely toasted and light to medium brown, remove from heat immediately, place onto a plate and let them cool.


3. Put frosting on each cupcake, forming a bowl or nest shape where the sides are higher than the center. If using store bought cupcakes that are already frosted, use a butter knife to reshape the frosting into a nest.

4. Place a chocolate egg in the center of the frosting "nest," the frosting will act like a nice and sticky glue to hold the egg in place. Sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes all over the frosting to create the look of a nest of branches and twigs. Depending on the consistency of your frosting, you may need to lightly press the coconut flakes onto the frosting to make them adhere.

Serve these adorable and delicious treats in a creative way! You can place them on a bed of sheet moss for a truly spring-inspired look or just lay them on top of a sheet of pretty printed cardstock paper.

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