What better way to welcome spring than with these bird nest cupcakes. They're not only adorable, they're delicious, too!
Prep the meringue birds according to the directions in the Mint Meringue Kisses recipe, but replace the mint extract with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add 2 to 3 drops of blue food coloring to achieve a light shade of blue. Use a 1/2-inch round decorating tip to pipe the meringue in teardrop shapes onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
Bake the meringue according to the recipe directions.
Spread 12 ounces of slivered almonds out onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet; toast the almonds at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until the almonds are golden brown.
Make the Simple White Cupcakes and Creamy Frosting according to the recipe directions. Pipe a ring of Creamy Frosting around the top of the cupcake with a 1/2-inch round decorating tip.
Roll the frosted cupcakes in the slivered almonds to form the nest. Pipe a small mound of icing in the center of the cupcake and place a meringue bird on top.
Use a dab of icing to attach a small piece of slivered almond for the beak. Place a square of chocolate onto a piece of waxed paper and microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds or until melted. Use a toothpick to add dots of melted chocolate for the eyes.
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While studying marketing at Ithaca College, Amber realized that her true passion was decorating cakes and cookies -- a profession where she could combine her artistic skills with her love for baking. She went on to obtain a degree in baking and pastry arts from The Culinary Institute of America, and subsequently became a cake and cookie decorator at Wilton Industries. Amber now teaches others how to decorate beautiful cookies on their own through video tutorials, as well as through cookie-decorating classes around the world and at her shop in Beacon, New York.
Photo credit: Tom Moore