For a formal holiday meal like Easter dinner I plan for two
desserts: one for the adults and one for the kids. For the adults, I make a
pretty frothy pie, like lemon meringue, or something boozy like Grand Marnier-soaked sponge cake. For the children, I make these gorgeous Easter egg nest
cupcakes. They are dense and rich and decorated with the prettiest topping — a
nest full of chocolate eggs!
The cupcake recipe is one of my absolute standbys. In fact,
it is featured in my upcoming cookbook. Sometimes I make it even more intense
by adding chocolate chips. However, for Easter, I skip the chips and add
the chocolate eggs to the top instead.
The nest on top is made with two very simple ingredients:
chow mein noodles and chocolate. You'll see below that I make these ahead of
time because it is important that they harden in order to sit properly on top
of the cupcakes. I use crunchy-shelled chocolate eggs on top because they are
my personal favorite. However, you can use whatever small egg-shaped candies you
To serve these with fanfare, set a whole cake stand of them
in the center of the children's table. They'll love reaching up after the meal
and selecting one for their plates. And don't be surprised if you see an adult
try and sneak a cupcake, too!
RECIPE: Easter Egg Nest Cupcakes
For the Nests:
1 12-cup mini-muffin tin or similarly sized ramekins to
serve as molds
1 ½ cups chow mein noodles
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
36 candy eggs of your choice (I use Cadbury eggs)
For the Cupcakes:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup freshly brewed coffee
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup whole milk
½ pound confectioners' sugar
Directions for the Nests:
1. Make the nests in advance so they have time to harden: In
a large microwave-proof bowl melt the chocolate. Heat in the microwave in high
power in 30-second bursts until it can be stirred smooth.
2. Stir in the chow mein
noodles carefully so they don't break, folding them in until they are
completely coated with the chocolate.
the inside bottom and sides of the mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Divide
the mixture up evenly amongst the muffin tins.
4. Dampen the back of a spoon and
make an indent in the center of each chow mein mound to serve as a small well
for the eggs. The dampness of the spoon will prevent the spoon from sticking;
it won't harm the chocolate.
5. Place the tin in the refrigerator to chill for at
least 1 hour.
Directions for the Cupcakes:
1. Preheat the
oven to 350°F. Line a regular-size 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners and set
2. In a
small bowl, whisk together the flour and the granulated sugar, cocoa, baking
soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger separate bowl, whisk together the
coffee, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Slowly pour the dry
ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring as you go, until the flour is no
the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each one about three-quarters
full. Bake the cupcakes for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back
when lightly touched and a cake tester comes out clean.
Directions for the Frosting:
1. With an electric mixer, beat the butter at high speed in a large
bowl until light and fluffy.
2. Then beat in the melted chocolate, vanilla and
milk until completely incorporated.
3. With a mixer on medium speed, carefully add
the confectioners' sugar bit by bit until the frosting is light, fluffy and
spreadable. If it gets to thin add a little extra sugar one tablespoon at a
time until it stiffens up enough.
1. Frost the top of each cupcake generously with the
2. Then, carefully pop a chocolate nest out of a mini-muffin
cup and place it on top of the cake.
3. Fill the nest with the candy eggs of your