A Simple Easter Cupcake

It’s fair to say I’ve done some research in the area of cupcakes. Besides baking for my own enjoyment, I’ve organized city-wide tours to search for the perfect cupcake, and created hundreds of versions for wedding showers, birthdays and other events.

I’m shocked at how many cupcakes sold from fancy boutiques come up short. It only takes a few dry mouthfuls of cake and a heavy frosting-induced belly ache to realize that you have just wasted $3.25 and …

it’s hard to beat a homemade cupcake.

That is not to say that every homemade cupcake is delicious and perfect in every way, or that all boutique creations are dry and crumbly, but great homemade cupcakes are definitely attainable, even for the novice baker. And for much less cost than a dozen from the local bakery.

Without disclosing just how many of these sweet treats I’ve consumed in one day (how many are in a baker’s dozen again?), I’ll pass along a winning cupcake recipe that has served me well!

With the baking tips I’ll share, the recipe you’ll find below, and a bag of Cadbury mini eggs, you will be well on your way to the perfect cupcake and a simple Easter dessert everyone will love.

Tips for Baking and Frosting Cupcakes

  • Begin with all ingredients at room temperature.
  • Do not over beat the batter.
  • Lightly grease the cupcake pans edges in-case of sight overflow.
  • Fill muffin cups slightly over half-way.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven.
  • Bake muffin tin on a cookie sheet to prevent cupcake bottoms from getting too brown
  • Cool cupcakes completely before frosting
  • Only frost cupcakes on the day you intend to serve them

Practice makes perfect. Once you make a recipe a few times, you’ll be able to make adjustments to improve on your cupcake, be they filling the liner less or more, or frosting techniques.

Go ahead, make a few batches. I don’t think you’ll hear anyone complaining about the leftovers!

Recipes

Everyone should have a reliable cupcake recipe in their repertoire; a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for people of all ages. Today I’m sharing mine: classic yellow cake and rich chocolate frosting.

Sure, I’ve baked many cupcakes in my time, but when it comes to the ultimate authority on the subject, I easily defer to Martha Stewart. These recipes are 100 percent hers; there is no need to adjust them.

The simple little Easter decoration, however, is mine. It’s easy enough for the amateur cake decorator and kids can help place the mini eggs into the ‘nests’.

Yellow Butter Cupcakes

From Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two thirds full.

Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool completely.

Frost with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container for up to three days.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

From Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.

Frosts 24 cupcakes, generously.

  • 24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon boiling water
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Beat in cocoa mixture. Use immediately or chill until ready to use. Bring frosting back to room temperature and beat until smooth before using.

To Decorate

1. Spoon Method. Dollop a generous amount of frosting onto the top of the cupcake. Using the back of a teaspoon, gently rub it in a circular motion into the frosting to make a indention. Frosting will squish out the sides and cover most of the cupcake. Place a few mini eggs in the ‘nest’.

2. Piping Method. Place your tip of preference on the piping bag and starting about 1/2 inch from the edge of the cupcake, pipe a ‘nest’ in the middle of the cupcake.

Alternatively, place frosting in a ziplock bag and snip off one of the corners with scissors to create a makeshift piping bag. Squeeze out frosting onto cupcakes to create ‘nests’. Decorate with mini eggs.
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Are you baking up anything special for Easter?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimรฉe's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. Yum, i’m so into easter treats this year. These look super cute – thanks!
    .-= Joe @ Eden Kitchen’s last blog: Luxury Mesquite Hot Cross Buns =-.

  2. This recipe sounds and looks delicious! Can’t wait to try! But, I have to say you’ve never tried a cupcake from Teacake Bake Shop in Corte Madera, CA or from Crave Cupcakes in Houston, TX if you’ve had dry, overly frosted cupcakes. Sprinkles in Bev. Hills doesn’t compare anymore to some other shops that have popped up (and Sprinkles made our wedding cupcakes!)
    .-= Pure Mothers’s last blog: The Story of Bottled Water =-.

  3. I love the dark chocolate frosting!
    .-= Maria’s last blog: 2peas3-0 =-.

  4. Oh my! These are a must for our Easter dessert table!!

  5. I adore these! They look so simple yet sophisticated and perfectly seasonal. And no matter what your food philosophy is, who doesn’t love mini eggs?
    .-= Jan (Family Bites)’s last blog: Name that Vegetable and Meal Planning Monday =-.

  6. Those look so sweet. But how do you actually get the kids to eat the cupcakes and not just the frosting/mini eggs?

    We did some Easter baking last week – traditional Ukrainian Babka. And now, with a surfeit of egg whites I plan to make an angel food cake.
    .-= Cheryl Arkison’s last blog: Babka is a Family Affair =-.

    • Lol, Cheryl, I know. My kids eat everything because they see precious little cake, but I have often witnessed the offending ‘lick ‘n toss’ more than I care to remember.

      I saw your Babka–it was just lovely.

  7. Those look yummy!

    For Easter? Not planning anything special (haven’t thought that far ahead yet!), but we’re gathering at my parents for the couple days prior for a work weekend and I’m taking food along for that: sweetrolls, baked oatmeal, quiches, side dishes, and chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs (http://bit.ly/dD8Wbt)—a once a year treat for us.
    .-= Jennifer Jo’s last blog: I meant it =-.

  8. Beautiful cupcakes. I’ve been disappointed every time I’ve purchased a cupcake, so I’ve stopped. Why pay $3 for a cupcake when I can make better ones at home?

    For Easter this year? I’m thinking maybe a fancy bread. :-)
    .-= Lynn’s last blog: Sweet Dreams =-.

  9. So simple and cute. Right now the thought of these cupcakes with the chocolate frosting is making me salivate. This Easter will be spent with just me, my husband and son.. so not too much more baking for me. :)
    .-= Cheri’s last blog: Pale Yellow Monday =-.

  10. It’s so cute. I like the little eggs and nest. My daughter will like this. She’ll say “oh, so cute little eggy.” Thanks! :-)
    .-= kathy’s last blog: Toddler Crafts-Newspaper Hats =-.

  11. just beautiful.

    I agree with you, even thought I love cupcakes (and these days there are gorgeous cupcakes bakeries and stores) nothing can beat a homemade one….and if it’s decorated as yours!!..

    just WOW.

    Happy Easter
    .-= h’s last blog: on how i don’t feel like cooking….and a Salada de Feijรฃo Frade (black-eyed peas salad) recipe =-.

  12. I am completely against paying $3.25 for a cupcake however my daughter is definitely convinced that it is worth it when she has a sweet tooth attack. Even though I have a really good yellow cupcake recipe in Cooking Fun, it’s ironic that I still have to work with her to just making it at home. She is beginning to see the light now that she must use her allowance to pay for the cupcake.

  13. Amanda G. says:

    I made these for Easter and they were FABULOUS!
    .-= Amanda G.’s last blog: Link Love | Easter =-.

  14. Ahh these are soo adorable!! I must try them!
    .-= Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes)’s last blog: Caramel Pudding =-.

  15. I made these last night to take to a end of semester party today (I a college student in a class that works with 2nd graders) They were a hit!! and my roomate and i could not stop eating the leftover frosting

  16. Those are so pretty, Aimee! I love how the frosting looks like a nest without being anything too complicated. Very smart.

  17. These are adorable! I’m putting these on my list of things to do for Easter!
    Julie’s last post: More Library Love

  18. These are so cute! Perfect for Easter.

    I’d love to have you share this recipe on my weekly link up, Sweet Tooth Friday. I hope to see you there. http://alli-n-son.com/2011/04/07/jelly-bean-cookies/
    Allison @ Alli ‘n Son’s last post: Sweet Tooth Friday- Jelly Bean Cookies

  19. SO cute! Your piping is awesome-I love the way the “nests” look. My nephews would go crazy over these. :)

  20. These are adorable and will look so festive on a holiday table. Really simple, too.

  21. Those are so cute. I love the idea of using frosting for the bird’s nest. I made some yesterday out of shaved chocolate pieces, and let me tell you, it was a challenge. They turned out super cute, but they took so long to make. You can see mine here: http://www.paintsandpans.com/2012/03/02/bird-nest-cupcakes/.

    Thanks for the great idea!
    Cheers,
    Natalie

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