By Casey Archibald and Dennis Weaver

These are adorable cupcakes but the spun sugar nests are tricky.  The rest of the cupcakes are straightforward.  Be sure and look at the kitchen tips after the recipe. 

For the Cupcakes

For the cupcakes we used one package of our Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes. Make the cupcakes as directed on the package and let cool. 

For the Filling and Caramel Frosting

Bavarian Cream Pastry Filling 

Caramel Frosting 

1 c. caramel ice cream topping, softened

1/2 c. butter

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. caramel flavor

2-4 tbs. milk or cream

  1. Fill the cooled cupcakes with the Bavarian Cream filling.
  2. To make the frosting, scrape the soft caramel into the bowl with your stand-type mixer. Making sure that the caramel is not too warm to melt the butter, add the cold butter to the caramel and beat.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and flavor and beat in. Add enough milk or cream to reach the right consistency.

For Spun Sugar Nests (makes 12 nests)

2 tablespoons corn syrup

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup water

1/8 tsp caramel flavor

36 blue chocolate Cadbury eggs (3 for each cupcake)

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar and water and heat on medium high heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase the heat and boil until the temperature reaches 302 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Once it reaches the proper temperature, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Using two forks, collect a small amount of your hot sugar mixture onto one fork and use another to pull the sugar into small strands. The strands should come out very thin, just a little thicker than a strand of hair. If your spinning becomes difficult, you may need to grab a couple clean forks or reheat your sugar.
  4. Once you have enough spun sugar for one nest, shape it into a small birds nest and set it aside.
  5. When you have all of your bird nests made, place them on top of the frosted cupcakes and finish with three small Cadbury eggs.

Kitchen Tips

Because we made a few mistakes along the way, we learned some tricks that we would like to share: 

  • Use an ice bath to avoid burning the caramel. After burning our first batch of sugar, we decided to try something different. Place a thermometer in your pot of sugar so you can carefully monitor the temperature. The heating process starts slow, but once it starts getting closer to the goal temperature of 302 degrees. We placed a large, metal bowl full of ice next to our stove top and quickly placed our hot pot of sugar on top of the ice bowl so it would stop cooking.
  • Don’t leave your pot in the ice bath for too long. If you leave your pot in the ice too long, it will start to cool and it will be very hard to spin. We found that out the hard way. As soon as your temperature stops going up, take the pot of sugar out of the ice.
  • If your sugar cools too quickly, you can reheat it. The sugar you are spinning should be very much a liquid. If it starts to harden, heat it up slowly, until it returns to a liquid form.
  • Try using a tiny sauce bowl to help shape your nest. We flipped over a very small bowl and shaped our nest to it as we spun the sugar.
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