Easter Nest Cupcakes

Unsurprisingly, the theme for April’s “Tea Time Treats” challenge (co-hosted by ‘Lavender and Lovage’ and ‘What Kate Baked’) is Easter. When I first heard this, I was determined to find a recipe that would be different to the myriad of Easter cupcakes, hot-cross buns, simnel cakes etc. that will no doubt be submitted. However, one glance at this recipe for Easter Nest Cupcakes and I was smitten. The recipe comes from “Gifts from the Kitchen” by Annie Rigg, a pretty little book which I must admit I haven’t used much but is worth buying for the gorgeous pictures alone. OK, it’s just a cupcake, predictably topped with Cadbury Mini Eggs but the clever part is that it fuses the cupcake with those chocolatey Easter nests of Shredded Wheat that most of us probably made at some stage as kids. A simple idea but genius all the same.

Excited by my recipe find, I popped to the shops only to find that I had overlooked two fairly fundamental details. Firstly, can you believe it but Cadbury Mini Eggs do not seem to have made it to South African shores. Quelle horreur! Sort, it out Cadbury’s. You are depriving a nation of one of THE best things about Easter. In a timely twist of fate, however, that same day I went to pick up a parcel my sister had sent me from England only to find it contained…you guessed it…some Cadbury Mini Eggs. So a big thanks to my sister Shelly for saving my Tea Time Treats entry.

The second point I had omitted to consider is that (and I don’t think this is such a big loss for South Africa) Shredded Wheat hasn’t made it to these shores either. In fact, there isn’t a fat lot of breakfast cereal to choose from. So this is why I give to you the All-Bran Easter Nest Cupcake. That’s right – a cupcake that is not only tasty but helps to keep you regular too! I am pretty confident that no one else will have cooked with All-Bran this Easter so if my cupcake challenge entry is a little predictable, at least it has a USP.

Annie uses a meringue buttercream in her recipe but I just used a standard vanilla buttercream which I actually prefer as well as meaning you don’t have to faff around with sugar thermometers and bain maries. As for the cakey bit of Annie’s recipe, it is completely divine. A really light, moist cupcake with a good flavour from the Ovaltine and chocolate. The Ovaltine does make for quite a pale chocolate cake but you could substitute cocoa powder if you prefer. As for the All-Bran, it actually tastes good when coated in chocolate and makes for very realistic twiggy nests but if you are not man enough for an All-Bran cupcake, then substitute Shredded Wheat or other suitable breakfast cereal instead.

Easter Nest Cupcakes (adapted from “Gifts from the Kitchen” by Annie Rigg)

(Makes 8 cupcakes)

For the cake:

  • 40g dark chocolate, melted
  • 65g unsalted butter, softened
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 90g plain flour
  • 2 tsp Ovaltine or cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 65g sour cream
  • 40ml boiling water

For the icing:

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

For the decoration:

  • 100g All-Bran
  • 150g dark chocolate, melted
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4 and line a muffin tin with 8 paper cases.

2.  To make the cakes, cream together the butter and sugar until light, fluffy and very pale. Gradually add the beaten egg, mixing well, then add the melted chocolate and stir until incorporated. Sift the remaining dry cake ingredients together and add to the cake mixture along with the sour cream and boiling water. Mix well.

3.  Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 20 minutes until risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool.

4.  Whilst the cakes are cooking, mix the All-Bran and melted chocolate together. Spoon heaped teaspoons of the mixture on to a baking tray lined with silicon or baking paper. Flatten into nest type shapes and top with Mini Eggs. Transfer to the fridge to set.

5.  Beat all the ingredients for the icing together to make a smooth buttercream. Pipe large swirls of icing on to the top of each cake* and top with a chocolate nest.

*The buttercream needs to be quite stiff to support the weight of the nest. I refrigerated my cakes immediately after icing (for about 45 minutes) as my kitchen was quite warm and I wanted to firm the icing before topping with the nests. I know refrigerating cakes is frowned upon but it didn’t appear to affect the finished cupcake in this instance.

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