Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

I have something really cute to show you!  I made cupcakes to take to a family gathering yesterday.  Sorry I didn't post it before Easter, but I'm just not that organized.  But save this recipe for next year because they are so cute and lots of fun to make!  I found some edible Easter grass and egg shaped M&M's at Target, and was trying to think of a creative way to use them in a cupcake.  So, I made nests and grass and put the M&M's in the grass.  And I made itty bitty cookies to put on top too.

Don't you just love them!?

Okay, I'll tell you how to make them.  Here are the ingredients you will need for the cupcakes:

Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium speed for three minutes.

Then fold in 1/3 C. of pastel sprinkles if you are feeling festive.

Spoon the batter into 24 paper-lined cupcake pans.  Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  Let cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, get started on the cookies.  Here are the cookie ingredients:

First, zest half of a lemon.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.  Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated.  The dough will be kind of crumbly.

Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Line some baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness for the mini cookies and about 1/4 inch thickness for larger cookies.  Cut with cookie cutters and transfer to baking sheet.  Bake at 375F for 4-4.5 minutes for the mini cookies and 8-10 minutes for the big cookies, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.  You do not want the cookies to be brown at all around the edges, so watch them!

My mom let me borrow these cute little bunny and chick cookie cutters.  They were perfect for the cupcakes.

After the cookies and cupcakes are completely cool, go ahead and frost them.  You can use any kind of frosting you like, but I used royal icing for the cookies and a simple vanilla frosting for the cupcakes.  See below for the royal icing and vanilla frosting recipe that I used.  If you are using a very thin icing or glaze, a ketchup bottle is perfect for outlining and decorating.

If you are using royal icing, outline the cookies. After they are completely dry, you can flood them.  Then I used a toothpick to make noses and eyes on these little beauties.

Here are the cookies that I made.  The ketchup bottle made it very easy to do.

Here's what each of my cupcakes looked like, but you certainly be creative and decorate them however you like.

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1/2 Cup water
8 oz sour cream
small box instant vanilla pudding mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer, beat the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, sour cream and pudding on medium until well combined.  Batter will be nice and thick.  Spoon batter into paper-lined cupcake pans until all are filled.  Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove and let cool completely.  Frost with frosting of choice.
24 cupcakes
Source: Picky Palate

Lemon and Vanilla Bean White Sugar Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I didn't use this, and it still tasted great)
Zest of half a lemon (or the zest of a whole lemon, if you love lemon)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and lemon zest until blended.  Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated.  Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1-2 hours.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough out on a well floured work surface to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut with cookie cutters as desired and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until fully cooked but not at all browned.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.
Source: Annie's Eats

Vanilla Frosting
3 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. butter, softened
2 t. vanilla extract
2 T. milk
Gradually add the sugar to the softened butter and cream together with an electric mixer.
Stir in the vanilla and milk.  Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency.  Add a little more milk or sugar as needed.
(I doubled the recipe for 24 cupcakes)
Source: Crazy about Cupcakes by Krystina Castella

Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water
Directions:Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container.  This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating.  Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated.  Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping.  (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick.  Add a little more liquid and try again.)  Using a pastry bag (or a ketchup bottle), pipe around the edges of each cookie.  Let stand so the icing will set.  Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.
Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container.  Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl.  If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again.  Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie.  If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along.  Allow to set.
Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired.  Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid.  Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.
Source: Annie's Eats, originally adapted from Katie of Good Things Catered


  1. Look to good to daughter Amanda loves to decorate need to be very patient......great job!

  2. Yes, it takes patience, but it is so fun!