Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easter Basket Cupcakes {Lemon Coconut}

Easter will be here before we know it, so today I have a fun and yummy treat to share with y'all. I know Easter is always filled with sugary sweets, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and those famous colored Easter peeps. It's hard to avoid the sugar this time of year, and my mind is already in sugar overload just thinking about it. Tradition is tradition so it's hard to steer clear of all the sweets. 

Honestly I don't put near as much candy as my mom used to put in our Easter Baskets. Instead I try to give my kiddos an even combination of candy and a few fun items (coloring books, crazy socks, books, puzzles, stuffed bunnies, stickers, bubbles, flarp puddy, play doh) and any other fun items I can get my hands on. The Easter department at Walmart usually has a great selection to choose from at great prices.

One thing I always do for any holiday is bake some type of special treat to celebrate (a cake, cookies, or special holiday bread). A week or so back my kids and I made these cute Lemon Coconut Easter Basket Cupcakes that turned out so adorable and they were a huge hit.

I used a Lemon Supreme Cake mix for the cupcakes and Vanilla Pudding Butter Cream for the frosting. If you're a lemon lover you can use a Lemon pudding mix instead of vanilla. I know some folks frown on using cake mixes, but I love them. They come in all sorts of flavors and are perfect for so many recipes.

Also with a few simple changes ingredient wise you can make a boxed cake mix taste just like a bakery cake. I usually add a extra egg than what is called for on the box and use milk in place of water. You can also substitute melted butter in place of oil, butI used canola oil  in this recipe.  

The frosting is a new recipe I came across on Pinterest and I love it! It's made from a dry pudding mix and isn't sweet at all. It's light, fluffy and holds it's shape when decorating. With all the pudding flavors out there I can think of so many flavor combinations.  I used a vanilla pudding mix, but I think lemon would pair perfectly with these cupcakes.

All of the ingredients pictured above were purchased at my local Walmart. Start by baking the cupcakes according to the package directions. Add one extra egg and substitute milk in place of water and add the oil. Let the cupcakes cool completely on a baking rack.

Choose some fun items to fill the Easter Basket Cupcakes. I picked out some small Lindt chocolate rabbits, yellow Easter peep bunnies, Starburst jelly beans and Hershey's chocolate eggs. The Hershey's eggs were a bit large, so i think the small robin eggs might be a better option. 

Remove all the candies from their packaging and tint the coconut green (to resemble Easter grass). To color the coconut just combine a few drops of green food coloring or icing paste with 1 teaspoon water; add a couple drops to 2 cups coconut and stir until evenly tinted (I added the coconut to a zip lock bag and shook it to combine). Now your ready to decorate the cupcakes.

Start by filling a pastry bag with frosting and pipe on each cupcake (I used the star tip). Next sprinkle on the colored coconut to resemble Easter grass. 

Add one sour punch straw into each side of the cupcake to make the handle for the Easter baskets (I found the sour punch straws in the checkout isles). Place a chocolate bunny or Easter peep in the center of each cupcake (pushing down into the cupcake). Decorate with desired candies and refrigerate the cupcakes before serving.

Lemon Coconut Easter Basket Cupcakes

1 - boxed Lemon cake mix 
4 - eggs
1/4 - cup canola oil
1 - cup milk
24 - Easter cupcake liners
2 - cups sweetened coconut flakes

Pudding Butter Cream Frosting: 
1/2 - cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 - cup shortening, softened coconut oil or use all butter
1 - (3.56 oz) box Lemon or Vanilla instant pudding mix (4 serving size) 
1/2 - cup cold milk + extra for thinning
1 - cup powdered sugar
1/2 - teaspoon clear vanilla extract (omit if using lemon pudding)
Candy Decorations: 
green icing paste or green food coloring
sour punch straws
Lindt small chocolate rabbits
blue or yellow Easter Peep bunnies
Starburst jelly beans or similar
robin eggs, Hershey's chocolate eggs, or m&m's

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line 24 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. In a large bowl, prepare cake mix as directed on box (adding the eggs, oil and water). 

Fill prepared cups three-fourths full of batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

In a large bowl mix the pudding mix with 1/2 cup milk. Set aside in the refrigerator or freezer until thick (about 3 minutes). 

In a large bowl mix the butter and shortening together until creamy. Add the thickened pudding and mix to combine. Add the powdered sugar and blend again. Add additional milk 1 tablespoon as a time until the desired consistency is achieved. 

Fill pastry bag with frosting and pipe on cupcakes.  Add the coconut to a large zip lock bag. Add the water and food coloring and seal the bag. Shake until combined and the coconut is tinted.

Sprinkle colored coconut onto each cupcake over the frosting. Add a sour punch straw poking it into the cupcake to resemble the handle for the basket. 

Decorate with chocolate bunnies or Easter peeps. If using chocolate bunnies make sure to push them down into the cupcake). Decorate with desired candies to finish. Refrigerate the cupcakes before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Cook's Note: To tint the coconut green, combine a few drops green food coloring or icing paste with 1 teaspoon water; add to 2 cups coconut. Stir until evenly tinted (I added the coconut to a zip lock bag and shook it to combine).  Also if you're allergic to coconut you can  omit the coconut and use a white chocolate pudding mix and tint the frosting green to resemble the grass.

Frosting recipe adapted from: Dessert First Dinner Later
Recipe yields: 24 cupcakes 


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Colleen said... #

How cute. Your cupcakes are just darn right adorable.
Thanks for the recipe.
ColleenB. ~ Texas

Maryh.. texas said... #

Very cute and they look yummy!!!

AudreyMaston said... #

They taste as good as they look :-) I was looking forward to the recipe! I am gonna make these for my nieces and nephews this girls will enjoy helping decorate!

Leslie said... #

How adorable!!!! I love those Lindt Bunnies!