Spring Chick Cupcakes are a cute Easter recipe and kid’s craft in one! These 3D chicks are simple to assemble, using ready-made ingredients, and the whole family will love putting them together.
These Spring Chick Cupcakes are something I first made for Better Homes & Gardens years ago, when they asked me to come up with cute party food and easy baking projects. At that time in my life, “cute kids baking project” was more of a theoretical concept, and less of a daily reality. But here I am now, with an almost five-year old budding baking enthusiast in the house, and I have to actively fight to keep him OUT of the kitchen when I’m working on more delicate projects!
With him in mind, I thought it was time to bring back these chick cupcakes, both because I think he would love making them with me this year, and because I’m sure lots of you out there also have little helpers who might enjoy a fun, crafty, entirely edible Easter project!
These Spring Chick Cupcakes are what you might call “semi-homemade.” The cupcakes and frosting are made from scratch (although you’re free to cheat and swap in a cake mix for the cupcakes—I’ll never tell), and then the bodies, heads, and decorations on the chicks are made from store-bought goodies like Twinkies, truffles, and candy. Don’t believe me? Here’s how it’s done in 6 easy steps:
I don’t mean to make these sound like they’re a kids-only treat, because I think they’re perfect for any spring or Easter party. Who wouldn’t welcome a platter of these little guys at a spring potluck, Easter brunch, or egg hunt? Make a few extra nest cupcakes, fill them with eggs, and you have just about the most adorable dessert platter ever!
Spring Chick Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 10 2/3 oz all-purpose flour (2 1/2 cups)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
- 14 oz granulated sugar (2 cups)
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz sour cream full fat
For the Buttercream:
- 24 oz powdered sugar (6 cups)
- 8 oz unsalted butter (1 cup), at room temperature
- 4 tbsp milk plus more if necessary
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
To Make the Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pans with 24 liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside for now.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract. With the mixer running on low, add a third of the flour mixture, then when the flour streaks have disappeared, add half of the sour cream. Add half of the remaining flour, the rest of the sour cream, then finish with the last of the flour. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to fully mix the batter.
- Fill the cupcake tins until they're two-thirds full, then bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes, until they start to brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
To Make the Buttercream:
- Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sugar is moistened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat again on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. You can add more milk or sugar, if desired, to get the consistency you want.
- Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the microwave, then let it cool until it is barely warm to the touch. Divide the frosting in half, and mix the semisweet chocolate into one half to make chocolate frosting. Color the remaining half with a few drops of yellow food coloring.
- Fit a piping bag with a coupler and a multi-opening tip. Fill the bag with the chocolate frosting. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of the cupcakes, covering the top completely, then go around the edge of the cupcakes several more times, building up the sides so that the frosting looks like a nest.
- Cut each Twinkie in half. Press half of a snack cake into the center of each frosting nest.
- Tip: Depending on the size of your cupcakes, you may need to trim the cakes a bit more to get the best fit.
- Fit a second piping bag with a coupler and a small star tip. Fill the bag with the yellow frosting. Pipe small stars all over each Twinkie until it is covered. Pipe a swoop onto each side of the cake for wings, and add a tail on top.
- Press a round truffle on top of each Twinkie for the chick’s head. Refrigerate the cupcakes briefly to set the frosting, which will give you more stability to finish decorating the head. Pipe yellow frosting stars all over the surface of each truffle.
- Cut the Starburst into four triangles each, and gently shape them until they are a beak shape. Press the candy beaks into the front of the chick's head, and finish by adding small round sprinkles for eyes.