Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Every year I get excited to make Easter Basket Cupcakes ALMOST like we did as a kid. Back then there weren't giant muffin tins and the only egg shaped candies besides a Cadbury Creme Egg were jelly beans. Times sure have changed. The Easter candy section at Target alone is out of control with WAY too many choices, which made it hard to decide just how to top this year's cupcakes. In the end, I settled for a variety.

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Start with a white cake mix and follow the recipe...well mostly. Here are a few cake mix secrets:
1. Replace the water in the recipe for milk, especially whole milk.
2. Add in at least 1 teaspoon of GOOD quality vanilla. And an extra splash (or teaspoon) will only make it better!

Bake the cupcakes according to the directions on the package. If you're using a large cupcake tin like I did, the baking time is about 20 minutes. I do large cupcakes for my 'grown up' friends and the regular sized ones for their kids and other littler folks.
After the cupcakes have cooled completely, make your frosting. (It's not THAT much work and WAY better than Betty Crocker!)

Here's the recipe:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk (again, whole milk is best!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
green food coloring

Combine butter and shortening until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and almond extract. Add powdered sugar in 1 cup increments until combined. Then add milk and food coloring, mix until smooth and spreading consistency. I like to beat frosting for at least 5 minutes so it's light and fluffy.Frost the cupcakes with a generous layer. It's one of the best parts of the treat, after all!

As a kid my mom always put the sweetened coconut in a jar for me to shake. I loved that job! After you put the coconut in a container of your choosing, add a few drops of green food coloring, place the lid on tightly and give it a good shake.
Sorry no exact measurements here about how much coconut or food coloring. But if you don't make enough or your 'grass' just isn't green enough add a little more! And, if you're grass is way too green, just add some more coconut and shake, shake, shake.
Now it's time to add the eggs. Jelly beans seemed to stick a little better when I was a kid. Maybe it's because they weren't as heavy as the chocolate ones. Anyway, I like to put just a little frosting on the bottom side of each egg to 'glue' the eggs in place. After that, add a white pipe cleaner and you're done! I've also seen these made with the thin ropes of red vines for the handle, but I'm sticking with Hall Family tradition, AND I think I prefer the white handle.
So, if you've got kids who need something to do this week, or need a cute little place card for your Easter dinner, this might just be for you. Give it a try and maybe you'll have a new Easter tradition too!

1 comment:

Kellie said...

So cute and easy, thanks for the idea, we have friends coming over to do egg coloring and I wanted to do a fun treat, you just helped me decide what to make!