Easter is a holiday with solid sugar ties. Each spring we are presented with baskets of sweetness (actual baskets!) in the form of fluffy yellow marshmallow chicks, great handfuls of shiny jelly beans, and enormous chocolate eggs with oozing semi-liquid sugary centers. My teeth hurt just thinking about it.
Cavities aside, the annual Easter Basket sugar overload is a beloved tradition, and like all good things, it deserves to be reinterpreted in cupcake form!
The bright pastel hues of the Easter season are a welcome sight for our tired winter eyes. I started by making a batch of vanilla mini-cupcakes and simple butter-cream icing. You can bake the cupcakes with or without a paper wrapper, but to assemble the baskets you’re going to want to remove the original wrapper (if you used them), then put the cupcake in a new wrapper. The “loose fit” of the wrapper will catch the coconut grass you’re putting on top!
To dress them up I dyed some sweetened shredded coconut green, then chose egg-shaped candy and pastel-hued “licorice” handles from the dizzying aisle of Easter-themed candy at my local drugstore.
If you want to cut back a little on the crafty steps, you can make full-sized cupcakes and still cover them in the coconut, but with just one egg nestled in the center. I found peanut butter filled eggs to be particularly delightful.
How to make Easter Basket Cupcakes
Once your cupcakes have cooled, place them into paper cupcake liners.
Prepare the icing and transfer it to a zip-top bag. An easy way to do this is to line a drinking glass with the bag (like you would a trash can), then use a rubber spatula to transfer the icing from the bowl into the bag, dragging the spatula against the bag-covered side of the cup as you go. Zip the bag shut and press the icing down into one corner.
Place 1 cup of shredded coconut into a bowl, then add a few drops of green food coloring. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then shake to mix the food coloring into the coconut. Keep your hands firmly on the sides of the bowl. Add more food coloring if needed until your coconut is grassy green.
Snip the corner off the bag of icing, and pipe a thin but substantial amount of icing on the top of the cupcake. Press a mound of coconut onto the icing, then add a bit more icing, and top with egg-shaped candies.
Using a large wooden skewer, poke two holes into the top of each cupcake, on opposite sides of each other. Insert the ends of a licorice whip into each of the holes. Trim first as necessary. The licorice will “stand” better if it has been exposed to the air for awhile.