Making in the Kitchen: Coconut Nest Cupcakes
Easter is just a few days away so I’ve been digging around for some fun new Easter treats to try out. While I won’t subject you to yet another bunny shaped cake, I do find these nest cupcakes from Martha quite adorable. And they are really quite simple to make. The original recipe gives you directions to make your cupcakes from scratch, but I opted for the faster version by using a box cake mix, which yields 24 cupcakes.
To make these coconut nest cupcakes, you will need the following:
- 1 vanilla cake mix + whatever ingredients your brand calls for, usually eggs & oil
- 1 1/2 c. coconut, toasted
- Cadbury mini eggs
- 2 sticks butter
- 6-8 c. powdered sugar
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 t. vanilla
First make the cupcakes according to your package directions. It will tell you to fill each cup 2/3 full. But I only filled mine 1/2 full because I didn’t want them to mound up after they baked. There is so much icing and coconut needing to rest on top, and I found it to be easier if the cupcakes were flatter to begin with. To check if they’re done baking, I always lightly press the center of the cake with my finger. If it pops back up, it’s done!
I used my upper oven to toast the coconut while the cakes were baking. I found that 300 degrees works pretty well. I kept checking on it every 3 minutes, flipping it with my spatula so it browned rather evenly. But I also wanted different degrees of browning, so I didn’t let it brown ALL the way. I let it go long enough so that it browned maybe half of it. And when I say “browned” what I really mean is “golden”. I’d say it took under 10 minutes. Watch it closely!!
While everything is cooking, you can make your butter cream frosting. I know I skimped on my cake by using a box mix. But I would really not recommend using store-bought frosting in the tub. Homemade is SOOO much better and such a quick and easy thing to whip up. My recipe makes enough for 30 cupcakes, so if you don’t use a lot you’ll have some leftover. But leftover frosting in the fridge is not the worst thing in the world. Start by using a mixer and beating just the butter for about 2 minutes on low. You want it to become smooth and creamy. Then you can add the rest of the ingredients, starting with just 6 of the cups of powdered sugar. After you get it all mixed up and it’s light and fluffy, you can judge by the consistency if you’d like to make it thicker by adding more powdered sugar.
After your cakes are cooled, give them a nice dollop of icing and spread it around. Then I did my “nests” in sort of a color pattern. First I sprinkled non-toasted coconut as the first layer, then the golden toasted color, and lastly just a tiny bit of the darker toasted bits on top. It gives it more of a dimensional look. Lastly arrange your Cadberry eggs however you choose. I liked the look of doing just two and keeping the same colors on each, but whatever floats your boat!
A lot of times theme-based foods can look cute but not be all that great to eat. But I can say that while these are classically adorable, they really do taste quite yummy. And a little chocolate on top doesn’t hurt either.