Growing up, Cadbury eggs were like gold to me. Not the big crème filled eggs, but the tiny little pastel-colored ones. My real love is for dark chocolate, and I don’t often indulge in milk chocolate because I find it a bit too sweet (crazy huh?), but Cadbury eggs have a special place in my heart. Mostly out of habit I picked up a few bags of them last week, but then had no idea how I was going to use them. Since I’ve been on a cupcake streak lately, I decided it would be fun to incorporate Cadbury eggs into some festive Easter cupcakes.
I found a really fun recipe for homemade marshmallow nests covered in coconut that I really wanted to try, but I’ve never made marshmallows and decided on a hurried weeknight it might not be the best time to take my first stab at it. So I picked up some crunchy chow mein noodles and made a bunch of dark chocolate nests! They were super simple, set up easily, and looked positively adorable even before I mounted them on the cupcakes. They tasted surprisingly good too – I’d never had dried chow mein noodles before this, but paired with the dark chocolate, they were a crunchy, salty, sweet treat. I really liked them! In each nest I placed a trio of brightly colored Cadbury eggs. They scream spring time and Easter and personally made me feel very happy.
I settled on vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, becaues I didn’t want to take away from the dark chocolately nests, and I always wanted them to seem light and springy. I rushed through making the cupcakes, so they didn’t come out quiet as moist and tender as I’d have liked (read: I didn’t cream the butter long enough, this is a lesson I NEVER learn!), but it was definitely a fault of the baker and not the recipe. The cupcakes ended up tastig really great – the vanilla flavor came through and they were nice and buttery, just a tad more crumbly and dry than I’d have liked. The buttercream, on the other hand, was spectacular. I hardly ever remember to take butter out of the fridge to warm to room temperature before I make frostings, but on this particular day, I did! And thank goodness – it makes a completely different frosting than trying to whip up cold butter. The frosting was really light and fluffy, and so easy to work with. Plus, it tasted fantastic! Buttercream = love.
The overall presentation of the cupcakes with the nests perched on top was exactly what I had envisioned, so I was quite pleased. They looked playful and fun, and tasted wonderful. I was happy, too, to leave a few for my roommate, to send a few home with Kevin, and to keep a few for my family to share – sometimes you’ve really got to spread the love around! And these cupcakes were definitely made with love.
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 20 to 24 minutes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg yolks , room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1) Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
2) Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
3) Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Yield: Enough to frost 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1) Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.
2) Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using.
I’ve got a lovely spring cake coming up, courtesy of Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook, so be looking for that soon! I haven’t sliced into it yet so I can’t be sure of it’s flavor, but judging from how it looks, it’s going to be absolutely spectacular.