Kitchen tools, gourmet foods, baking mixes, and hard-to-find baking ingredients mentioned in this article are available at The Prepared Pantry.
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
1 package Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes.
Bavarian Cream Pastry Filling
1 cup caramel ice cream topping, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoons caramel flavor
2-4 tablespoons milk or cream
Spun Sugar Nests (makes 12 nests)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon caramel flavor
36 blue chocolate Cadbury eggs (3 for each cupcake)
Cupcakes: Make the cupcakes as directed on the package and let cool.
Filling and Frosting: Fill the cooled cupcakes with the Bavarian Cream
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.
Add the powdered sugar and flavor and beat in. Add enough milk or cream
to reach the right consistency.
Spun Sugar Nests: In a large saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar and
water and heat on medium high heat until the sugar dissolves.
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.
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
Once you have enough spun sugar for one nest, shape it into a small
birds nest and set it aside.
When you have all of your bird nests made, place them on top of the
frosted cupcakes and finish with three small Cadbury eggs.
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 F. 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
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.
Dennis Weaver is the founder of
The Prepared Pantry, a full line kitchen store in Rigby, Idaho. The Prepared
Pantry sells kitchen tools, gourmet foods, and baking ingredients including hundreds of hard-to-find ingredients.