Easter is one week away and I have no idea where the first quarter of the year went. I feel like just yesterday we rung in the new year. Also, someone forgot to tell the weather that it’s spring now because it didn’t leave the 40s the past couple days. And I live in the deep south. This isn’t normal and makes me refuse to believe March is almost over.
To help get out of my delusion and also to start getting in the mindset to celebrate Easter, I made Easter themed cupcakes this weekend. For the past several months I have wanted to take my baking skills to a new level by experimenting with decorating and piping techniques. My wonderful and supportive husband got me a piping set with everything I would need for Valentines day this year (Who wouldn’t want to support my hobby when it results in them getting to reap the benefits, which in this case means eating cake. Seems like a win-win to me. So if anyone else wants to help make my dreams come true and support a good cause, let me know and in return I will give you yummy baked goods).
This was my first time trying to pipe to decorate cupcakes (or anything for that matter) but I came up with a vision, bought the ingredients I needed, and then researched piping techniques. I had a clear vision of what I wanted these to look like at the end and they exceeded all of my expectations! It’s not often I can execute something as clearly as the image in my head, especially without having a visual example or following directions. If I can do it, I am sure you can do it too.
Whip these bad boys out after your Easter lunch or dinner and your whole family will be amazed. I know Robert’s coworkers certainly were when he took them into work today.
For the ingredients you can make your favorite cake mix and buttercream combination. I use a box cake mix because ain’t nobody got time to make cakes for scratch! Just kidding, (kinda). The real reason is I knew decorating would take more time than usual so I took the easy way out (plus, if you’re making these while you’re cooking your Easter lunch/dinner you may want to also save yourself a little time). I used Duncan-Hines confetti cake mix and made a marshmallow vanilla American buttercream.
The marshmallow vanilla American buttercream uses 1 cup of butter, 1.5 cups of sifted confectioners (or powdered) sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and a 7 ounce jar of marshmallow fluff. (Note: Sifting the powdered sugar is super important as it gets rid of all those unwanted lumps ultimately creating a smoother frosting. Plus, if its lumpy, not only does it not look as good, but it can clog up some of the smaller piping tips. I just use a small strainer and gently hit the side of the strainer until all the sugar is out.) This made enough to frost 24 cupcakes.
Bonus info: if you’re new to making frosting and are curious to what the different types of buttercream are (American, Swiss, French, and Italian), American is the easiest to produce and doesn’t involve egg whites. It’s butter, powdered sugar, and milk based. All other types of buttercream involve egg whites and either corn syrup or a homemade sugar syrup. American and Swiss are often the most popular options and my personal favorite is American.
First you will want to use softned butter. Let the butter get to room temperature before you try to make the frosting. As tempting as is it, don’t melt the butter to speed up time because then you will have more of a glaze.
Once your butter is softened, beat it until smooth and creamy.
Then add in the jar of marshmallow fluff and beat on medium speed for a couple minutes.
Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the sifted powdered sugar and the vanilla.
Return to medium speed once fully incorporated until you get the desired stiffness. You want it to be stuff enough so that it holds its shape after you pipe.
American buttercream is SUPER forgiving. If you get it too stiff, just add in some milk. If it’s not stuff enough, add in more powered sugar. You can’t mess it up.
I decorated my cupcakes two different ways: Easter bunnies and bird nests. For the Easter bunnies you will need peep bunnies (I used two packages but had a few extra), jelly beans, and green food coloring. For the Birds nests you will need Whoppers Robins Eggs candy, and chocolate covered sprinkles.
First, make your cupcakes according to the box instructions or from your favorite recipe, and let them cool.
Once they are cooled completely (and I mean COMPLETELY), make your buttercream. If you begin frosting your cupcakes before they’re cool the frosting will melt and slide off. No one wants a sad and melt-y Easter bunny.
If you are also making both types of cupcakes, I recommend starting with the Birds Nest since it doesn’t need to be colored. Then you can dye the remaining frosting to get the green grass color for the bunny cupcakes. To make it even more realistic, you could use chocolate icing for the Birds nest.
Using white (or chocolate) frosting, ice the top of the cupcake. For the birds nest I used tip #13 and piped in a singular strand in a circular motion.
Once the frosting is on, pour chocolate sprinkles into a small bowl and roll the edges of the cupcake around leaving a small circle in the center not coated.
Once all the cupcakes have sprinkles, add three Whoppers Robins Eggs in the center and viola!
Moving on to the Easter bunny cupcakes, dye the remaining frosting to the desired shade of green. I used 4 drops of green food coloring.
Using the wide end of any tip, carve out the center of the remaining cupcakes stopping about 1/3 to 1/2 way down. You can easily do this by pushing down and twisting it as you push. You can stick a toothpick through the small hole to poke out any cake that gets stuck in the tip.
Now just put a few jellybeans in the hole. I put 3 inside each cupcake.
Now you’re ready to pipe! I used tip #7 as I thought this looked a lot like leaves of lettuce but you could also use a grass tip instead. Just press down and pull up while still squeezing the bag to create the desired length of the leaves/grass. You want to stop squeezing the bag before you pull up to end the strand.
Repeat in various directions all over the cupcakes.
Once done, coat the bottom of a peep with remaining frosting and sit the bunny on top of the cupcake.
Add additional jellybeans for more decorations.
And there you have it! I hope you have just as much fun making (and eating) these as I (and my husbands coworkers) did!
If you also make these, leave a comment below and send pictures. Use the hastag #simplymadewithlove if you share pictures on social media.
Happy baking and creating!
Marshmallow American Buttercream 1 cup softened butter 7 oz marshmallow fluff 1.5 cups sifted powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1. Beat butter on medium speed until creamy 2. Add in marshmallow cream and mix on medium speed until creamy and thoroughly incorporated 3. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in sifted powered sugar and vanilla 4. Once thoroughly incorporated, beat on medium speed until you have the desired stiffness 5. If the frosting gets too stiff, add milk. If it's not stiff enough, add more powered sugar
Birds Nest Cupcakes Cupcakes and buttercream of your choice Chocolate sprinkles Whoppers Robins Eggs candy 1. Make cupcakes and buttercream 2. Once cupcakes are completely cooled, put icing in a piping bag and pipe icing around the top. I used tip #13 and piped in a singular strand in a circular motion 3. Pour chocolate into a small bowl and roll the edges of the cupcake around leaving a small circle in the center not coated 4. Add three Whoppers Robins Eggs in the center
Easter Bunny Cupcakes Cupcakes and buttercream of your choice Green food coloring Peep bunnies Jellybeans 1. Dye the frosting to the desired shade of green. I used 4 drops of green food coloring 2. Using the wide end of any tip, carve out the center of the cupcakes stopping about 1/3 to 1/2 way down. You can easily do this by pushing down and twisting it as you push. You can stick a toothpick through the small hole to poke out any cake that getsstuck in the tip 3. Put three jellybeans inside each cupcake 4. Use tip #7 or the grass tip (if you have one) and pipe the cupcakes. Press down and pull up while still squeezing the bag to create the desired length of leaves/grass. Repeat in various directions all over the cupcake 5. Coat the bottom of a peep with remaining frosting and sit the bunny on top of the cupcake 6. Add additional jellybeans for decoration