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 initial attempt didn't turn out well. 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 didn't take pictures at this stage, so you'll just have to take my word for it....they were hideous. Like actually *legit* hideous. The candy 'basket handle' fell in the middle, the piping was uneven to start with and got worse after I put eggs in the center of the ring.....yeah. They looked SO incredibly awful!

So I started over. I didn't even bother trying to pipe an even circle this time; I changed tips and only piped on small amounts of frosting at a time around the cupcake edge. Then 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. Not going to lie; I was pretty happy with myself. They looked cute - and remarkably like little Easter Baskets!

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. Watch the assembly video; it looks almost 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". Guess what.......so do I! 😉 And I made this site to post videos and recipes and tutorials so you can avoid some of my mistakes 😉

Okay, tangential soapbox moment complete 😉  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

Ganache:
1 c (6 oz) chocolate chips
1 c (8 oz) heavy whipping cream

Frosting:
1 package (8oz) cream cheese
1 stick (8T) butter
6-7 c 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 coconut + gel food coloring
72-96 (about 1 1/2 bags) mini Cadbury chocolate eggs
24 short segments of white or pastel curling (gift wrap) ribbon

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line cupcake pans with paper wrappers.
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, filling them about 2/3 full. Place 1 drop food coloring in the center of each cupcake - I did six each pink, green, yellow, and blue - and swirl with a toothpick to create a marbled pattern in the cupcake.
Bake for time specified on box; mine took about 15 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. Chill until thick enough to pipe into cupcake centers, but don't let it solidify completely.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, you're ready to core them. There are a few ways you can do this....you can buy a cupcake corer, you can try using the non-business-end of a large piping tip, or....you can do what I do and cut a cone-shaped core out with a plastic knife. Up to you 😉 I haven't the foggiest idea why cupcake crumbs don't stick to plastic knives like they do regular knives, but the plastic knife's been working too well for me to feel the need to invest in any fancy corers 😉
Pipe your ganache into your cored cupcakes - it doesn't have to look pretty, so I often use a zip-lock bag for this part. 😉

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 😉

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