The second I saw these cupcakes last spring, I knew I wanted to make them, but I had already planned to make the Spring Chick and Carrot Cupcakes for Easter, so I decided to wait until this spring. This is a very versatile recipe - you can use any cupcake and frosting you like. One of my coworkers birthdays was coming up, and last year she raved and raved about the Tres Leches Coconut Cupcakes, so I decided to use those as the base. I thought they'd work particularly well because I remembered that they bake up with very flat tops, and this recipe specifies to use a paring knife to flatten the cupcake top if necessary.
These were a HUGE hit. Everyone loved the cute little bluebirds and said the cupcakes were amazing. I heard words like "food of the gods," "divine," "transcending," "incredible" - it was pretty funny. Unfortunately I didn't try one because I gave up desserts for Lent, but I know how good the Tres Leches Coconut Cupcakes are on their own, so what's not to like? Ina Garten's voice pops in my mind saying "Coconut, chocolate, how bad can that be?" :)
Baby Bluebird Cupcakes
1 batch of your favorite cupcakes (I used Tres Leches Coconut Cupcakes)
2 cups of chocolate frosting (I used canned)
1/2 cup white frosting (I used canned)
Shredded coconut, roughly 1/2 bag
Chocolate, approximately 1/2 ounce
Pastry bags fitted with large round, medium round, and small "V" or leaf tips
Blue and yellow food coloring gel/liquid
1. Toast the shredded coconut in a medium skillet over medium/high heat, transfer to a shallow dish, and let cool completely.
2. Level the cupcakes if necessary with a small paring knife.
3. Lightly frost each cupcake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting, if desired. Some of my cupcakes had some of the 'tres leches' still on top so I just covered that in toasted coconut and advanced to step 4.
4. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, pipe a ring or two of chocolate frosting around the top edge of each cupcake to form the border of the nest.
5. Sprinkle a large amount of toasted coconut over each cupcake, gently pressing it into the chocolate frosting. Shake off the excess.
6. Color some of the white frosting light blue. Using a pastry bag fitted with a wide round tip, pipe three mounds of frosting into the center of each nest to make the birds' bodies. If there is a little peak on the top of the mounds, wait a few minutes until the icing begins to set and then gently smooth it down with a toothpick or finger.
7. Color the remaining white frosting yellow, and fill a pastry bag fitted with a small "V" tip. Pipe a beak onto each bird.
8. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, in 20 - 30 second intervals until completely melted. Dip a toothpick into the chocolate and then dot eyes onto each bird.