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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Easter Cupcakes

What a great time of the year to celebrate spring and having gatherings with loved ones. Here's a few interesting questions about the traditions of Easter; How did the responsibility of bringing eggs to children, fall upon the rabbit? And why eggs?

Well the rabbit seems to share many similarities with Santa Claus, in the way that it is a fictional character bringing gifts to children on the night before the respective holiday. The rabbit was first mentioned as being a hare and this in the Alsace culture tradition of the egg gift giving. This was published in George Frankenau's De ovis paschalibus (About the Easter Egg)

 And just as the traditions of  Kriist Kindle (Santa Claus) arrived to America with German settlers, so did the tradition of the Easter bunny in the early 1700's. The early tradition was that the Easter bunny would bring colored eggs to the children's home made baskets if they had been good. The first edible Easter egg wasn't made until the early 1800's in Germany and was made of pastry and sugar. 
But why eggs? Well the egg was always seen as a big fertility symbol and of rebirth. This tied in with the resurrection and rebirth of Christ, the tradition stuck. The rabbit, of hare, was always seen as a symbol of fertility because of it's very large liters in the springtime, at the Vernal Equinox. The rest, sadly, is simply commercialization just as is Santa Claus. 

Never the less, it's springtime and the nature seems to be renewing itself once again. So why not celebrate it! Here's a delicious treat to share with kids of all ages to celebrate this special Holiday; Chocolate Easter Nest Cupcakes. This is very east to put together and does not need a lot of time for assembly. This could ever be a nice activity to do with kids. 

First off, bake some chocolate cupcakes from a cupcake mix found at the store, or find a recipe online to make them yourself. Which ever is most suitable for you. Here's the recipe from Canadian Living that I use for chocolate cupcakes. 

- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 Tsp lemon juice or vinegar 
- 1/2 cup butter, softened 
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
- 1 egg
- 1 Tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda

- Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease(being precocious, i do both). In a small bowl, stir milk with lemon juice. Set aside. 
- In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda; with wooden spoon, stir into butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, making 2 additions of dry ingredients and 1 of milk (start with flour mixture and end with flour mixture). 
- Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake in centre of 375F oven until cake tester inserted  in centre comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool COMPLETELY. 

These cupcakes are a nice alternative to chocolate if you are not a fan of eating chocolate candies. They can be made in advance, covered and frozen for up to 2 weeks. Simply thaw out to decorate. Next you will need some chocolate buttercream. This recipe is great if you are making these cupcakes after Easter with leftover chocolates. 

- 1 1/2 lbs butter, softened
- 1 lb confectioners sugar (icing sugar), sifted 
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla 
- 5 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

- Add to the bowl of a mixer with paddle attachement; the butter, sugar and vanilla. Incorporate ingredients on low speed and then increase speed to high for 2 minutes, until mixture is very light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl and stir in melted (cooled) chocolate. WARNING: do not put HOT melted chocolate inside your buttercream, you will end up with chocolate soup. 

For the Easter decorated cupcakes, you will need to place 2 Cups of shredded coconut on a parchment paper in a 350F oven until it is lightly golden in color.  You will also want to have some mini eggs handy to place in the coconut nests created on top of the cupcakes. Scroll down to see how to assemble. Very easy! :)

Step 1:
- Have your buttercream in a pastry bag ready with a 10mm tip. Also have your toasted shredded coconut in a container to be able to  dip your frosted cupcakes in. 

- Simply pipe a circle of icing around the top of the cupcake. Press the ices cupcake lightly in the coconut to cover the icing completely. All you have to do after that is to place 3 mini eggs in the centre of the nest. 

These easy Easter themed cupcakes will put a smile on every children's face. Feel free to use the cupcake and icing recipe for any other cupcakes you'll need for all other occasions during the year. 

Eat well, sleep well and till tomorrow! 


1 comment:

  1. this looks fantastic and i want to make these but quick question -- you never mention when to encorporate the vinegar/lemon juice! is it in the milk to make it "buttermilk"???