Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter Eggs in Spun Sugar Nest

Easter is literally 2 days away and I'm still scrambling to get these cupcakes done. I've been meaning to do them last Wednesday but then end-of-the-year projects came and I couldn't find any time. I've seen these cupcakes done over and over but I haven't found one with a nest made out of spun sugar. I saw these sugar crowns in Martha Stewart's "Cupcakes" and thought they would make perfect nests. Great Idea but a terrible method.

The book says to heat the sugar until it reaches 300 degrees then plunge it in a ice water bath until it cools down to 250. Set a wooden spoon over the kitchen counter with the handle part suspended. Then drizzle the sugar over the spoon so that the handle catches the caramel strands. The method doesn't work because the spoon doesn't catch any of the threads and dollops of caramel just fall onto the newspaper I laid below. Putting the hot caramel in a ice bath doesn't work either because the outside hardens immediately and the center is still piping hot.

I attempted this 3 times before it actually worked out. The first failed because of the ice bath and the second because I kept stirring it to cool it down and eventually the whole pan just became a chunk of sugar crystals. I thought about giving up after my second batch failed. I could have resorted to the phyllo shreds option...but I didn't.

On my third batch, when the temperature reached 300, I took it off the heat and swirled it to cool. Then I made a little decapitated whisk by cutting all the ends off a regular whisk. I used that to drizzle the caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper then scraped it off to form a ball. Thank god it worked because I don't know if I had enough patience to try again.

The cupcakes I used were lemon cupcakes from the book "hello cupcakes". They weren't the greatest so I'd suggest using another recipe, but I'll post the original and suggest some adjustments that you can make.

Lemon Cupcakes:
2 1/3 cup of flour 
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup of milk

* I would suggest using 1.5 cup of milk and adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice to gives it a buttermilk characteristic. The acid will make the cupcake moist.

Spun Sugar:
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water

Cadbury mini eggs 

Cream the butter and the sugar until it's pale and fluffy. 
Add in the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well before adding the next.
Add in the Lemon zest and vanilla.
Combine the dry ingredients and add it to the batter in 2 additions, alternating with the milk.

Line the cupcake pan with paper liners and fill them with batter 3/4 of the way up.

Bake for 18 minutes and let cool completely.

Make the caramel by combining all three ingredients and bring the mixture up to 300 degrees. Take it off the heat and let it cool a little, don't stir. Take a decapitated whisk or a fork, dip it in the caramel, hold it 2 feet above the parchment and swing back and forth like a pendulum. When you've made enough for one cupcake, gather up the nicer strands on top and form it into a ball. If you have big dollops of caramel on the parchment  paper, just scrape it off before doing the next set.

Frost the cake and gently press the next on top.

Put a tiny bit of frosting on the bottom of each mini egg and place it in the nest. You can apply a little pressure on the nest and break some pieces to make a well in the center.

1 comment:

  1. The spun sugar egg nests are so cute - best nest cupcakes I've seen so far!