When I was eleven I developed a somewhat unhealthy fascination with cupcakes. I had become wide-eyed for the sweet dessert after reading an Easter themed decorating pamphlet. Never before had I seen little cakes transformed into such grandiose works of art—the Monas of the glossy pages being the baskets and bunnies created with the help of fondant, flawlessly piped icing and a pâtissier’s steady hand.
I figured I could make some that looked identical—my mother knew better.
Instead of setting me up for a piping and fondant rolling meltdown, she simplified the instructions and bought easy-to-find ingredients a kid could handle. Thankfully the results were equally pretty, tastefully simple and only cemented my adoration of cupcakes.
Here are two adorable cupcake designs we made throughout the Easter season followed by a few favorite cupcake recipes:
Peter Cotton Tail: Ice a cupcake with a white butter cream frosting. Cut a large marshmallow into quarters (this will provide four ears.) In the places where the mallows are sticky, press in pink sugar sprinkles to create the ears’ interiors. If you have a hard time getting the sugar to stick, use a dab of frosting to help it adhere. Arrange two ears on a cupcake. Place a pink jellybean and two miniature marshmallows in a triangle shape in the center of the cake to create the nose and cheeks. To finish, add two chocolate chips for eyes and licorice pieces for whiskers if desired.
Bountiful Easter Basket: Ice a cupcake with a base of green butter cream frosting. Mix shredded coconut with a little green food coloring and sprinkle over cake to resemble plastic grass. Nest jellybeans or robin egg candy in the center and arch a thin piece of licorice overtop to resemble a basket handle.
—By Emily Arno