Springtime Bird Nest Cupcakes

>> Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My friend next door planned an egg hunt Saturday for the neighborhood kids. I offered to bring cupcakes for everyone. My initial plan was to create cupakes with bunny bums on them. I had flattened over 50 mini marshmallows with the idea to color them into bunny feet.

But I wasn't impressed with the way the cupcake turned out. Perhaps it was my husband's words I kept hearing when he saw this...

...picture on my facebook wall from my earlier decorating musings and declared he saw no bunny butt. I worried the kids would not see a bunny butt.

I tried again with frosting grass to see if it was more obvious. But I still wasn't loving it. And it was getting late. The idea of coloring so many tiny bunny feet was daunting.

I then shifted gears to my backup plan to create these adorable baby bird cupcakes I saw last week but without the coconut. However, I encountered another roadblock at 11pm when I began frosting the cupcakes I realized I didn't have the right leaf tip for the open mouth beaks.

My beaks looked like the baby birds had a fungus with all those waves. *sigh*

I practiced making the beaks with a different tip. My son agreed it look like someone stuck an ice cream cone on the bird's face. It really needed to be done with open beaks to have the right effect. *double sigh*

My son suggested just making eggs in the nests. I was concerned the blue blobs of frosting wouldn't look like eggs. I'm very hard on myself with these matters, obviously. Kinda silly considering cupcakes get consumed in less than two minutes but it's what I do. I lamented the fact I didn't have a stash of candy eggs on hand to place inside the nests.

But then again when I used the blue icing without eyes and beaks I was smitten. Or tired. Either way I set about with this decorating plan.

I had baked several dozen vanilla cupcakes dyed bright pink for Easter festive-ness and opted to frost half with chocolate and half with my vanilla buttercream to appease both the chocolate and the vanilla lovers of the neighborhood. I also did a little something special for the adults only...

...with this bag of Spring Oreos. Can you guess what I did?

Bam! An Oreo inside a cupcake! Mmmmmm!

I also frosted half in chocolate and half in vanilla along with one cut open on top to clearly identify the surprise inside just in case no one was in a reading mood...or had too much of the fabulous champagne punch.

My man and kids convinced me to take all the cupcakes even the birds with afflicted beaks and two abandoned bunny backsides. Turns out the kids loved them all. Proving again I am far too hard on myself, especially for an amateur.

Everyone had a great time and all but seven of my 50 cupcakes were consumed. And it was also unanimously decided every Saturday morning should begin with cupcakes and pomegranate-pear champagne cocktails in the driveway. Wouldn't that be dreamy?

Since I'm often asked how I frost my cakes or I wonder how others have done something I'll share the easy how tos on bird nest cupcakes.

For the nests I used Wilton Tip 233. This is the same tip I used to create the fur on my kitten cake.

It's a multi-opening tip. You need to have a medium consistency frosting if you're doing fur or grass and hold the tip at a 90° angle to your cake. However, for the nests you can have a softer frosting. My chocolate was much softer than the buttercream.

For the nest you want to hold the tip at a slight angle to the cupcake and then with even pressure move around the cupcake in a circular pattern until you've reached the height you'd like. With my buttercream versions I first frosted the bottoms smooth with pale green frosting so I only needed to swirl a circle nest. For the chocolate I started in the middle of an unfrosted cupcake and spiraled out to the edge then overlapped in circles to completely cover the cupcake.

To make the eggs I used Wilton Tip 12. Any large opening tip will work depending on the size eggs you want.

Holding the tip at a 90° angle to the surface squeeze out the diameter egg you want. Here's the important part. Stop squeezing BEFORE you lift your tip away. If you don't your egg will have a pointy top like a Hershey's kiss.

If you did stop the pressure before lifting you'll be left with this dot of frosting. You can leave it as is or take a finger dipped in cornstarch and gently smooth the top more.

Another variation is to use the same Tip 233 and pipe green grass around the nest. This takes longer than simply icing them smooth and is why I only did one of these.

That's all there is to making simple and pretty Springtime cupcakes.

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