Easter Basket Cupcakes

"If at first you don't succeed....." Yeah, anyone else able to finish that line in their heads too? Theme of my *entire time* trying to decorate these cupcakes. "Try, try again."

I'd seen Easter Basket cupcakes before, and they looked so cute and easy! Eggs in the middle, add a handle on top and boom! You're done. Right?
.....suffice to say my first attempt was awful. I tried piping colored frosting in a ring around the edge of the cupcake, adding the eggs, and then pulling out a piece of chewy/stretchy candy (a pastel-colored Hi-Chew) into a rough basket-handle shape....I don't have photographic proof, but....they were hideous. The candy 'basket handle' fell in the middle, the piping got uneven after I put eggs in the center of the ring.....yeah. They looked SO incredibly awful!

So I started over. This time I covered them in tinted coconut - there's no way to make shredded coconut look neat or sleek, so suddenly my lame piping job didn't matter! 
I gave up on the idea of an edible basket handle, and cut a small piece of curling ribbon and pushed both ends into the frosting with a toothpick to make it look like a basket handle. SO much better! 

Going to take a short tangent here - the entire episode reminded me of a drawback to spending tons of time on social media. Did I post any pictures of the ugly-looking cupcakes? Psshh, NOPE. I didn't even take pictures at that point. All you see on this page and my Instagram feed is the finished product, not the multiple fails that were part of its creation. Editing can make the video look effortless. It wasn't. Every time you compare your own efforts to what you see on Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook/Youtube/you-name-it, know that you're comparing your own PROCESS with someone else's finished PRODUCT. They had a process too, but you don't see it on social media.

SO many people have told me "ohh, I could never bake anything like that" or "I EPIC FAIL so many times trying to bake anything". So do I, and so does everyone! And that's the whole point of tutorials and vidieos - hopefully I can help you avoid my pain points! 

Okay, off the soapbox. Recipe time!

Like I mentioned in a previous post.....I still haven't found a white cupcake recipe that I really love. They've all been too dense for my liking - I feel like a white cupcake especially should be moist but light. If you find a scratch recipe you love, send it my way.....but in the meantime, I'm running with my doctored-box-mix standby! 

Cupcakes:
1 boxed white cake mix
1/2 c melted butter
1 c water
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs + 4 egg whites
Liquid pink, blue, green, and yellow food coloring

Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
5 ½ -6 cups powdered sugar 
2-4 T milk (to desired consistency)
1 T vanilla (to taste) 
Green, pink, yellow, and blue food coloring (if desired)

Toppings:
2 cups shredded coconut + green, pink, yellow, and blue food coloring (liquid works fine)
72-96 (about 1 bag) mini Cadbury chocolate eggs
24 short segments of white or pastel curling (gift wrap) ribbon (available very inexpensively online!

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners
Combine butter, eggs/egg whites, water, and vanilla extract in a bowl, and blend in packaged cake mix.  Beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended. Divide into 24 cupcake liners - I found (using a large cookie scoop to transfer the batter into the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process otherwise you can use two tablespoons).

Bake for time specified on box; mine took about 13 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

Frosting:
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk and vanilla until frosting reaches desired taste, color, and consistency. Divide into four bowls and tint pink, yellow, green, and blue (to match your cupcakes) if desired.

Assembly:
Pipe frosting onto your cupcakes, piping a thick layer around the outer rim. I used a small piping bag and small star tip and started out with a single swirl to cover the top of the cupcake, then went back around to make the outer edge thicker.
Tint shredded coconut by placing into about 1/2 c into a plastic bag with a drop of gel food coloring and then shaking/mashing the bags until the coconut is evenly colored. Press tinted coconut onto your cupcakes.
Add 3-4 mini Cadbury eggs in the center of each cupcake. Cut a short segment (3-4" long) from a spool of curling gift-wrap ribbon, and press both ends into opposing edges of each cupcake to create basket handles - and you're done! Stand back and admire your work! 

Make this recipe? Let me know how it went - or find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo! 

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