Let me tell you early on in this relationship that I am not a baker. I love to eat desserts, but not to make them; therefore, most of my desserts are someone else's recipe, with the exception of a couple of very good ones to be posted later. Fortunately, though, I have a fabulous baker in the family, my daughter Christina, whose cookies are legendary and much sought after. Perhaps, one of these days, she can make a guest appearance on the blog. That is not to say, that I cannot pick them out. A good and experienced cook can read a recipe and tell right away what is going to work and what is not. I think I have that talent. All of this rambling around is to tell you that the following recipe is not my own. It is from Williams Sonoma's Easter desserts and they are yummy and very original. They are simple to make and I think they'll make a splash at your table. As an old boss of mine used to say..why reinvent the wheel?
Toasting the coconut that forms the nests adds a natural straw color as well as a pleasant crunch and nutty flavor to these whimsical cupcakes. Easter egg candies come in many different sizes; use as many as will comfortably fit in each nest.
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
Vanilla buttercream for frosting cupcakes (see related recipe at left)
Easter egg candies for decorating
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, oil and vanilla. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture in 2 additions, beating until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream. Top each cupcake with a ring of toasted coconut. Place an Easter egg candy (or candies) in the center of each nest and serve. (The finished cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.) Makes 12 cupcakes.
Adapted from Cupcakes, by Shelly Kaldunski (Weldon Owen, 2008).
Use this fluffy frosting to decorate cakes and cupcakes or as a filling for baked goods. The frosting can be flavored in a variety of ways, including chocolate (see related recipe at right).
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 1/2 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
Food colorings (optional)
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, the 4 1/2 Tbs. milk, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Tint with food coloring as desired. Makes about 4 cups.