As much as we enjoy teaching children how to prepare meals, what most kids really love to learn is how to bake. Children love to bake and eat cupcakes! Over the years we have taught many Easter baking classes for kids featuring at least one cupcake recipe that is easy to bake and fun to decorate.
This year, Pastry Chef Jen Swyer will be teaching our Easter Sweets & Treats class. Jen’s business, Buttercream Cakery, specializes in beautiful and delicious cakes for all occasions. If you are ever looking for a truly special cake, check out her Facebook Page:
Her class sold out pretty fast, so we figured we’d share a few recipes so everyone has a chance to make some fun cupcakes to add to their Easter table. These ideas are all very kid friendly and do not involve special piping techniques or fondant.
For the Cupcakes While all of these cupcakes can be made with any flavor box mix, Jen recommends the following recipe:
“I’ve tried milk, buttermilk, a mixture of different things and I love using sour cream. Not only does it add moisture to these cupcakes, but they’re sturdy enough to hold up to a nice pile of frosting yet light like a cupcake should be. I always use full fat sour cream when baking these cupcakes too.”
1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Add in the sour cream and mix until fully combined.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them a little over half way full. You should end up with 12-14 cupcakes.
Bake at 350˚F for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Remove all of the cupcakes from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store prepared cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to five days.
For the Frosting:
What is Perfect Vanilla Buttercream Frosting to you? For me, it means that the frosting is, Creamy, Fluffy, Soft but still holds its shape beautifully, Melts in your mouth, Packed with vanilla flavor and, IS NOT sickly sweet!
sticks (1 lb,)unsalted butter room temperature
8 cups (2 lb,) confectioners sugar sifted
large pinch of salt
extracts and flavorings as desired
1-3 tablespoons whole milk as needed
Combine the butter, sugar, and flavorings in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Start mixing on low speed until the sugar is incorporated with the butter. Increase the mixing speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Adjust the consistency with milk as needed.
Store unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container and bring it back to room temperature before using to pipe or frost.
Now For the Fun Part – Decorating!
Peep Bunny Cupcakes:
You will need:
15 bunny shaped Peeps
1 recipe buttercream frosting, tinted with green food coloring
Directions: Cut out a whole in the center of cupcake in which to place a Peep. You want the bottom 1/3 of the Peep to fit inside the cupcake so it will stay in place Next Pipe your frosting on cupcakes around the Peep candy using a star pastry tip for a “grass” effect. Top with sprinkles and enjoy!
Easter Basket Cupcakes:
You will need:
½ recipe buttercream frosting
1 teaspoon water
4 drops green food coloring
1-1/2 cups flaked coconut
Red shoestring licorice
Directions: Using a spatula spread some frosting on the top of each cupcake. Combine water and food coloring in a large resealable plastic bag; add coconut. Seal bag and shake to tint. Sprinkle over cupcakes. Using a metal or wooden skewer, poke a hole in the top on opposite sides of each cupcake. Cut licorice into 6-in. strips for handles; insert each end into a hole. Decorate with jelly beans.
Marshmallow Bunny Cupcakes:
You will need: Buttercream icingShredded coconut
Pink decorators’ sugarJelly beans for nose
Chewable Sweet Tart for eyes
Pink Decorating Gel (optional)
Directions: Frost a cupcake with white icing and sprinkle on shredded coconut for fur. Cut a large marshmallow in half widthwise. Squeeze each half slightly to give it an oval shape, then decorate the sticky side of each one with pink decorators’ sugar and set them in place for ears. Add a jelly bean nose and either jelly bean or snipped Sweet Tart eyes, and mini marshmallows for cheeks.
For a finishing touch, draw on decorators’ gel pupils or whiskers if you like.
Bird’s Nest Cupcakes:
What you need:
2 dozen chocolate cupcakes (see recipe below or use mix)
1 recipe chocolate icing (see recipe below or buy prepared icing)
chocolate sprinkles egg shaped candies
Directions: Place 1 cup chocolate icing in a small resealable plastic bag. Using an offset spatula frost the cupcakes with remaining icing. Place 3 candy-coated chocolate pieces on center of each to resemble eggs. Cut small hole in one bottom corner of plastic bag; pipe frosting around chocolate pieces to create ridge on each cupcake. Carefully spoon chocolate sprinkles onto frosting ridge and around chocolate pieces to resemble nest.
Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup strong black coffee – hot liquid
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature*
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. After all combined add coffee. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be thin.
Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway (this is imperative! only halfway!) to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting
I use buttermilk for this very reason, it not only gives the cake a great flavor but it also keeps it soft and moist. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use my easy buttermilk substitute instead (all you’ll need is “regular” milk and either lemon juice or vinegar).
Also, when checking to see that my cake is finished baking, I do the “toothpick test” but I look for the toothpick to come out with a few moist crumbs (not with wet batter, they should distinctly be crumbs) and not to come out completely clean. The cake will continue to bake in its pans while it’s cooling. So if the toothpick comes out completely clean, then you run the risk of the cake over-baking and drying-out while it’s cooling.
It is important that you use hot liquid, whether coffee or water. The reason for this is that the hot water will “bloom” your cocoa powder, fully developing the chocolate flavor in this cake. I recommend using coffee — it won’t make your cake taste like coffee but it will enhance the chocolate flavor.
Perfectly Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
Makes about 2 cups frosting
If your child enjoys cupcake making and other types of baking we will be offering lots of opportunities to bake in our kitchen this summer. Some of our most popular camps are Cupcake Chaos, Baking 101 and Cake Whiz. Availability is very limited so early registration is suggested. Click HERE to see our 2019 Summer Camp Schedule.