robins-nest-cupcakes-spring-aster-dessert
Spring has finally sprung and I decided to celebrate with these adorable robin’s nest cupcakes! The tree outside my kitchen window inspired the robin’s nest. 

The cake recipe is one of my favorites that I got from a magazine years ago and decided to turn into cupcakes. Then I modified the icing and added the toppings. Below I share the recipe for these cupcakes, but you can use any cupcake recipe and just follow the decorating directions to create the robin’s nest.

Ingredients

Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Icing:
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Toppings:
Rainbow sprinkles
Mini Robin Eggs
1 cup of sweetened coconut flakes
 
Directions for Cake and Icing

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake liners.
3. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.
4. Place granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and nonfat buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon rind and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
5. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
6. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely before icing.
7. To make the icing, place the butter in a large mixing bowl. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add 1 cup of the sugar and a little of the lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Add 2 cups of the sugar, the remaining lemon juice and the lemon rind. Continue to beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar (if needed), beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
8. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.

Yield: Makes about 24 cupcakes.

spring cupcakes 2

To Decorate

9. While your cupcakes are cooling, spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 350°. Stir occasionally, until just beginning to brown (about 8-10 min). Remove from oven and let cool.
10. To apply icing, I like to use the Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus.  It comes with a few different decorating tips and is very easy to use. Just screw on the tip you want, fill the tube with icing, and press the lever down to release the icing.  If you don’t want to spring for one of these, you can create your own piping bag to get a similar effect.  Just put your icing in a gallon sized plastic storage bag, cut off one of the bottom corners and gently squeeze to release icing.
11. Once you have iced your cupcakes, sprinkle coconut flakes on top of cupcakes.  Gently press each Mini Robin Egg into the center of the cupcake.
12. To decorate with sprinkles, add desired amount of sprinkles to each cupcake.

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