{Easy} Bird’s Nest Cupcakes

An easy yellow cupcake base topped with frosting, toasted coconut, and miniature “birds” made from M&M’s and frosting. A festive Easter treat!

Birds Nest CupcakesOkay. Okay I know. St. Patrick’s Day first.

It’s like I’m playing Christmas music after Halloween and skipping Thanksgiving.

Sorry. I’m one of those people right now.

But seriously, I just couldn’t wait. I mean how cute are these little bird nest cupcakes?

Easter CupcakesAnd this weekend I’ve been baking like crazy and got a large majority of my Easter posts done. (Which, prepare to be bombarded with Easter cuteness. I can’t stop.)

I just could NOT wait for these little guys. Also, two words. Toasted. Coconut.

I thought I hated coconut. Correction, I do hate coconut. Something to do with the texture I think. But then my friend Beth (and her delicious Samoa cupcakes) taught me that coconut can be liked. In a toasted form that is.

Because I’m totally a fan now. Thanks Beth! And toasting coconut is SO easy. I just did it on my skillet over the stove-top in about 5 minutes.

Easy Easter Cupcakes

The cupcake mix is my go-to doctored cake mix recipe. I love cupcakes from a cake mix (changed up to add a couple of ingredients), but you can make from scratch cupcakes if you’d rather.

And maybe even try these desserts with a carrot cake base. I contemplated having carrot cake cupcakes, but with the slew of other carrot cake desserts I’m going to be having in a little bit, I decided to skip carrot for now. For all you people that aren’t a fan of vegetables in your desserts :)

Easy Easter Cupcakes with M&M Birds

In keeping with an “easy” theme for these desserts, I also used frosting from a tub. Cream cheese frosting by Pillsbury is my favorite!

I separated a little bit of the frosting and dyed a small amount orange and a small amount brown. (Beaks and eyes!) They get piped on easily with a #1 tip.

If you don’t have fancy frosting gear, you can still make these! You can use a small resealable bag. Place the frosting in the corner of the bag and push it down to the very tip. And then cut a hole at the top verrrry small. You can then pipe the frosting that way.

Birds Nest Cupcakes

And then smile, because you probably won’t be able to help it with those cutesy M&M birds looking right at you.

Okay that is kind of creepy.

5.0 from 2 reviews
{Easy} Bird's Nest Cupcakes
Serves: 24
  • 1 (15.25 ounces) yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounces) vanilla pudding mix, dry
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk (check notes for substitution)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup Greek vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 container cream cheese frosting
  • 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 bag M&M's Peanut Butter Speckled Easter Eggs Candy
  • Orange food coloring
  • Brown or black food coloring
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the pudding and cake mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the lightly beaten eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Mix.
  4. Mix wet and dry until combined (do not over-stir or beat in too much air)
  5. Bake for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted to the center of a cupcake.
  6. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes and then remove and allow to continue cooling
Toasting Coconut
  1. Place 3 cups of coconut flakes in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the flakes are mostly golden brown. Remove and allow to cool
Putting it together
  1. Frost the completely cooled cupcakes with a thick layer of frosting.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut over the cupcakes.
  3. Place a bit of frosting on the bottom of an M&M and press into the cupcake. Place 3 M&M's on each cupcake.
  4. Separate out a 1/2 cup of frosting.
  5. Dye 1/4 cup of that frosting brown or black and the other 1/4 cup orange.
  6. Using frosting bags and #1 tips fill one bag with black or brown frosting and other with orange frosting.*
  7. Pipe 2 black eyes on each M&M and a small beak.
If you don't have frosting bags or tips, you can use a small bag. Place the frosting in the bag and cut off the very tip of the bag. (Make sure you only cut off a very tiny bit) These cupcakes were inspired by this image. For a buttermilk substitute combine a scant 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon milk or vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes

Interested in some more cute Easter treats? These sugar cookies are super simple:

Sugar Cookie Bird's Nest Cookies

I used my favorite sugar cookie dough recipe to create large circle sugar cookies. Then frosted the cookies and toasted coconut to put on top.

I used peanut butter speckled robin egg M&M’s, but there are a large variety of chocolate egg treats you can top these cookies with. You can use plain Robin eggs, a different variety of M&M’s or anything else you find that looks like eggs.

I attached the eggs by placing a little bit of frosting on the bottom of each egg and then pressing it down towards the cookie. You will need to move the coconut a bit so the eggs can stick to the frosting on the cookie. They don’t stick well to the toasted coconut.

Easter Sugar Cookies

Click HERE to get the full recipe!

Want some more cupcakes?

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes with a brown sugar streusel
Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes with a Brown Sugar Streusel

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes with a Strawberry Mousse Frosting

Muddy Buddies Cupcakes
Muddy Buddies Cupcakes


  1. says

    These are super cute! Such a cute idea using the m&m’s!! I skipped St. Patty and went straight to Easter this year…I just love everything Easter and bunnies and couldn’t wait!!! Pinned :) Have a great day, I can’t wait to see your upcoming Easter posts.

  2. says

    haha nahhh not creepy. I stand in the kitchen and admire my food all the time lol My husband does think it’s weird but I just love looking at food apparently. And these are adorable! Toasted coconut is the best – I love any kind of coconut but toasted is out of control awesome!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Haha you crack me up Ashley! I’m glad we can both be creepy about our pretty food. And have our husbands think we are weird :)

  3. says

    Ah, yayy! I’m so glad you tried the toasted coconut! It really is a thousand times better than the regular stuff. And, as you have clearly demonstrated, it makes the perfect Easter nests! I love the birds and their cute little faces. These cupcakes are absolutely adorable, Chelsea! :)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Haha thanks Beth! And thanks to you I’m officially hooked on toasted coconut :) it’s so much better than regular for sure!

  4. says

    Oh my goodness, these are too adorable Chelsea! Yay for toasted coconut! Love the cute little birdie faces – Easter treats are one of my favorites – pinning :)

  5. says

    These are super sweet!! I am SO ready for spring treats!!!

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