The cupcake craze does not seem to be slowing down – every season brings a new opportunity to create something sweet and adorable, especially if you have kids around. Case in point: these bird’s nest cupcakes are perfect for spring, if you’re looking to go all-out on a baking project. They come from the new Big Book of Cupcakes ($19.95), written by Jan Moon, the belle of southern baking, and presented by Southern Living.
Making bakery-style cupcakes is easier than it looks. If you’re a cupcake fan, this runs the gamut of recipes from simple to complex, classic to new-wave. It offers decorating tips and ideas along with easy to follow recipes, and will keep you in cupcakes for a long time. It makes a great gift, if you have a young baker in your life – perhaps paired with a batch of cupcakes from the book, baked with love yourself.
Spring Bird’s Nest Cupcakes
from the Big Book of Cupcakes presented by Southern Living
1 cup butter, softened
21⁄3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
Paper baking cups
Vegetable cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
3. Combine fl our, baking soda, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and poppy seeds.
4. Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.
5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely. Makes 24 cupcakes.
you’ll need to make two batches to fill and frost the cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 to 4 tbsp. whipping cream
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
Teal food coloring gel (or any color you like, really)
1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy.
3. Tint frosting using food coloring. Makes 3 cups.
Chocolate Birds’ Nests
(adapted slightly – original recipe called for almond melting wafers rather than chocolate)
4 (1-oz.) squares semisweet or milk chocolate, melted
1 (5-oz.) can crispy rice noodles
Jelly beans (about 1 cup)
1. In a medium bowl, combine melted chocolate and rice noodles until noodles are completely coated.
2. Spoon 2 to 3 Tbsp. chocolate mixture into each cup of a lightly greased miniature muffin pan. Make an indentation in center of each to form a bird’s nest. Chill 10 minutes or until chocolate is set. Pop nests from muffin pan, and place 2 to 3 jelly beans in each nest.
Makes 24 nests.
1. Fill each cupcake with tinted frosting. How-To Fill: To fill cupcakes, insert the end of a wooden spoon or dowel into the center of the cupcake to make a hole. Fill a zip-top plastic freezer bag with filling or frosting. Use scissors or kitchen shears to snip about 1/4 inch from one corner of bag; insert bag into the hole in the cupcake. Squeeze gently until filling comes to the top of each cupcake. Note: If you want to fill and frost 1 recipe of cupcakes with the same frosting, you will need about 6 cups of frosting total.
4. Frost each cupcake with tinted frosting. How-To Frost: Place a heaping spoonful of frosting in center of cupcake. With an offset spatula, push frosting to edges while turning cupcake. Rotate cupcake, and lift the frosting with the spatula to create peaks.
5. Top each cupcake with 1 bird’s nest and, if desired, 1 candy pansy.
About the Author: With over 10 years of experience in the Test Kitchens of Southern Living magazine, author Jan Moon has embarked on a venture of her own and opened a bakery in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to wedding cakes and custom-made treats, Dreamcakes Bakery specializes in delectable cupcakes, and Jan”s unique creations keep her loyal customers coming back for more. Southern Living, launched in 1966, is the heart of southern life. Nearly 16 million people turn to the magazine each month for definitive southern recipes, travel tips, gardening guides, and home decorating inspiration. Readers in every part of the country recognize it as the authority for all things southern. They use it, keep it, and live by it.