|S.Kenney - 2011|
I just love Martha Stewart's magazines. For about 7 years now, I have been keeping her Easter editions. I put them all in a basket in my guest bedroom. When I am looking for cute placecards, or holiday ideas, I often end up with something out one of her magazines. This link can take you to the online page of where I found these fun Easter treats.
My son's "Odyssey of the Mind" group lucked out again. They were the recipients of these cupcakes!
The little nest on top of these coconuts is made from toasted coconut flakes. I have never toasted coconut before. Honestly, though, anyone who likes coconut should just toast some in the oven even if they don't want to make cupcakes. The smell is wonderfully potent...nutty, sweet, tropical. I'm afraid I burned the first batch of coconut flakes and that was not so terrific a smell but the second batch improved.
While I am confessing my mistakes on the World Wide Web, I'll also spill the news that I've never made cupcakes from scratch. Yep, its always been from a box. Now, there is no going back. I followed the recipe very carefully and the result was delicious. These cupcakes had a richer, deeper flavor and texture than any out of the box mix.
Cupcakes... They are so pretty; they are like an empty canvas waiting for creativity. The buttercream frosting was especially tasty. It was very light but with a very deep rich flavor.
The original recipe for these sweet nest cupcakes made the little baby bluebirds out of piped, colored frosting. I decided to use Hershey's milk chocolate Easter eggs instead. I thought that was much easier and tastier than a mouthful of frosting.
Cute cupcake-making interruption!!
While writing this article, my daughter begged me to see the movie "Burlesque" with her. This is the movie featuring Cher and Christina Aguilera.
From describing my sweet little baby blue bird cupcakes to this steamy, sultry, va-va-voom Burlesque story was QUITE a distraction and required a mental shift. I'm not sure I agree with the PG-13 rating on this movie. And, I hope every wanna-be dancer out there doesn't run off to L.A. thinking that a burlesque lifestyle is that innocent.
However, I must give a strong thumbs up for those who can appreciate the music, choreography, and cinematography of this movie. It was visually stunning, musically captivating, and choreographically superb. The acting was weak, the plot was predictable and cheesy moments were the basis of the movie but being a former dancer myself (of the classical ballet variety however!!) the dancers were incredible.
I have to return to these cupcakes, a little frazzled, but admitting I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. (Still can't figure out the why Jack wore that black eyeliner...)
Interruption over...back to the innocent little baby bird cupcakes. Whew! If I can divert myself back, that is.
The beaks were the most difficult details in making these cupcakes. I didn't pipe frosting like the recipe entailed. I used little chewy candies that were colored yellow. That didn't quite work so well. They were sticky and hard to handle. Perhaps something drier would work better that could be secured with frosting to the tops. Perhaps crushed lemon drops...
Baby Blue Birds' Nest Cupcakes:
Makes 2 1/2 cups
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3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Place over a pot of simmering water; whisk until hot and sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer stand, and beat on high speed until cooled, 7 to 10 minutes.
Replace whisk with paddle attachment, and set mixer on medium-high speed; add butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Beat in chocolate. If not using immediately, refrigerate buttercream in an airtight container for up to a week. Bring to room temperature, and rebeat or stir vigorously before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pan once. Set aside to cool.
Lightly frost cupcakes with 1 cup chocolate buttercream; set aside. Tint 2 tablespoons reserved buttercream pale yellow; place in a pastry bag fitted with a #349 Ateco leaf tip; set aside. Tint remaining buttercream light blue; place in a pastry bag fitted with a #11 Ateco plain round tip, and pipe three bluebird heads, 3/4 inch in diameter, onto each cupcake. Using leaf tip, pipe yellow beaks. With a toothpick, add melted-chocolate eyes. Form each nest with 2 tablespoons toasted coconut.