Sunday, April 29, 2012

Easter Egg "Nests"

Jelly Bean Easter Egg "Nests"

Before I started dinner on Easter Sunday, I wanted to make those cupcakes I'd been wishing so desperately to make for two weeks.  

The goal this time was to use a white cake mix to determine if it would be an acceptable "wedding cake".  When I took the cake decorating class, I was shocked to learn that they actually use the same old cake mix from the grocery with the addition of a little bit of almond flavoring.

I used Duncan Hines Classic White cake mix and added 1 Tbls of almond flavoring.  Apparently, I've never used that particular mix because I've always make white cake with the entire egg, not just the whites.  I never know what to do with the yolks left over.  The directions didn't give me the option of using the whole egg so I used just the whites.  I'll figure out what to do about those yolks, eventually!  Note to self:  make a list of things to do with just egg whites and just egg yolks.

The consistency of the batter as I scooped it into the cupcake wrappers reminded me of marshmallow cream.  It makes sense because marshmallows are mostly egg whites and sugar.

Another thing I noticed is the difference between the cupcake wrappers I'd gotten at Country Kitchen and the ones I'd been getting at the grocery.  The "specialty" papers  are quite a lot heavier! 

The virgin run of the convection oven!  I have 4  cupcake pans -- 1 will accommodate 12 cupcakes and is a lightweight aluminum.  The other 3 hold 6 cupcakes each and are heavier aluminum and 2 of them have gotten quite dark over time.

White Wedding Cake Cupcakes from the Oven
I loaded the pans into the lower oven - the convection oven - on two shelves, one each side of the oven.  The pan holding the 12 cupcakes started to get a bit golden on the top so I checked them and they appeared to be done but the two pans of 6 cupcakes weren't.  I took out the first 12 and started letting them cool and kept a close eye on the remaining cupcakes, which took about 5 minutes longer.  I'm not sure why, but I suspect it may have something to do with the heavier weight pans and that they were darker.  The main thing is, all three pans had really nice looking cupcakes with NO burnt bottoms!

While the cupcakes finished cooling, I mixed up my buttercream frosting and colored it with leaf green paste color.  Then, using a #233 decorating tip - it has lots of tiny holes - I covered the cupcakes with "grass".  I learned this in the class I took and they were a bit more nest-like.  I found it difficult to do in class and couldn't quite recreate it this time, either.  I like the look of grass, so that's what I went with.  Then added three jelly beans for color and voila!  Easter eggs "hidden" in the grass!  

This is really quick and easy.  I'm going to try to think of more ways to use this tip.  One thing I did learn is that, my frosting was a bit dry at first.  It took a lot of effort to squeeze it through those tiny holes.  After I thinned it with a tiny bit of milk, it was much easier and went a lot faster.

As for the cupcakes, they were wonderful!  Very moist and soft - almost like angel food but not so dense.  The addition of a tablespoon of almond flavoring seems to give it the "wedding cake" flavor, too!

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