After scouring the web for Spring/Easter cupcake ideas, I landed on Martha Stewart’s blue birds (http://www.marthastewart.com/319320/nesting-baby-bluebird-cupcakes) and decided to kick it up a notch with some ganache and almond cream cheese frosting. So i ended up with chocolate almond cupcakes with whipped chocolate ganache centers, almond cream cheese frosting with toasted coconut and butter cream blue birds (and candy robin eggs in some of them!).
This was a bit labor intense – I made the cupcakes, ganache, toasted coconut and two batches of cream cheese frosting (with portions for blue and yellow) and mini cake nests. Oh and I made whoopie pies too, but that was just to use my new pan so we won’t even count that here. I did all this in stages on Saturday. I baked everything and prepped the frosting, then went for a 7 mile run (13.1 this weekend! woop woop!) and then showered and got down with the decorating.
Ok, down to business…
I chopped up a cup of whole almonds with a bit of sugar and coconut and folded that in to the dry ingredients (you really need to cut the flour a bit because the almonds dry things out a bit) then continued on with the rest of the chocolate cake recipe. I also added a touch of almond extract to really bring home that nutty almond flavor. I tied in the almond again with the frosting (really it was a butter cream, but I added some cream cheese to layer in the creamy flavor and play off the sweet almond flavor).
I also put together a chocolate ganache to fill these little suckers (it was a mix of dark chocolate, semi sweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate because that’s all I had in the house). I cored the cupcakes with my handy dandy cupcake corer (http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-706044/Cuisipro-Cupcake-Corer) and set these aside for later. I hate wasted good cake!
I kept all the chocolate cake cores to use to make mini cake nests. I mixed the left over cake bits with some frosting and coconut and made them in to little “nests”, then covered them in toasted coconut and piped in a little blue bird. cute cute cute. These were a big hit since they were literally just one bite!
I piped the frosting on the cupcakes to makes “nests” so there was lots more on the sides and less in the middle, then covered them in toasted coconut (did I mention I burned on batch of toasted coconut? Watch that stuff closely – it burns quickly!). I piped the blue birds in their respective nests with just a piping coupler and not tip – I needed the circle part and didn’t have a tip big enough. The beaks were pretty simple with a tiny piping tip, but the eyes… oh the eyes. I used black piping gel and tried to get the tiniest possible dots on each bird. The smaller – the cuter they looked.
All in all, it was a very productive baking weekend. Everyone loved the cakes and the mini bites too!