Robin, my 2.5-year old, is head-over-heels in love with cupcakes these days. For her, the second best thing to eating a cupcake is to watch a video of herself eating a cupcake. So lately, it has been my go-to choice for a dessert if I need to make one. I just can’t resist how excited she gets over them.
That said, I needed a dessert for a family dinner party this past weekend and, with both Easter and Spring in mind, I loved the idea of impressing everyone with something a little more exciting than my usual “swirl” icing (pretty, but always my go-to), or worse, my slathered-on-with-a-knife-and-covered-with-sprinkles technique. There are TONS of awesome and impressive ideas for decorating cupcakes out there. But as cute as the bunnies, eggs and chicks are, I was short on time (and talent for that matter) so I needed something I could do fairly quickly, without having to watch any new icing technique tutorials.
So, I came up with the idea to use my “swirl” technique to create a nest, and my “grass” technique (learned last year for Robin’s birthday party) to create grass. Easy-peasy – I already had the icing tips and food colouring required, and I have a chocolate frosting recipe that I absolutely love. Turns out I’m not the first person to create a “nest” cupcake (you can also find lots of ideas for this if you do an online search), but I think my take on it worked out pretty well and it didn’t require any trips to the store.
There are so many ways you could vary this idea to suit your skills or what you have on-hand at home. If you don’t have the ingredients for chocolate icing (or it’s not your favourite), stick with buttercream icing and use food colouring to create a brown colour. If you don’t want to buy a tip for creating grass, you could either ice the cupcake in green using a knife, or you could bake vanilla cupcakes and use food colouring to make them green (and skip the green icing part altogether).
Total Time Required: at least 4-5 hours (cupcakes have to cool before icing)
Working Time Required: 2 hours
Project Costs: $10-20 (depending on what you have at home)
Materials & Tools Required
– Cupcakes (baked from scratch or prepared mix). I used a mix.
– Buttercream icing or chocolate icing (I used my favourite chocolate icing recipe from Allrecipes.com, which can be found here. I’ve included my recipe for buttercream icing at the bottom of this post.)
– Food colouring or gel
– piping bags
– Cadbury Mini-Eggs, or something similar
Step 1: Bake cupcakes
Step 2: Let cupcakes cool completely before icing, at least 2-3 hours
Step 3: Prepare icing according to recipe instructions and fill piping bags. Use #233 tip for grass and 1M tip for nest.
Step 5: Create “nest” using swirl technique. View tutorial here
Step 6: Add Cadbury Mini-Eggs to nest
And voila, you have some fun springtime cupcakes that are perfect for an Easter treat, birthday party, baby shower or just to enjoy :-)
Buttercream Frosting Recipe
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup hi ratio shortening (or any shortening)
2 lbs. powered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
Beat butter and shortening well. Add vanilla and then sugar gradually. Add milk to desired consistency. If it’s too stiff, it’s hard to pipe.
You can use all butter if you wish or 1-1/2 butter and 1/2 cup shortening. The shortening keeps the icing from melting if it’s too warm in a room.