Yellow cupcakes topped with the best cream cheese frosting, toasted coconut, and M&Ms to create the cutest (and easiest) Easter treat! These bird’s nest cupcakes are so simple to make.
These bird’s nest cupcakes were made every year for Easter in my home growing up. We’d help my mom make and decorate bird’s nest cupcakes and then decorate the dinner table with them.
These bird’s nest cupcakes are one of the easiest Easter treats you can make and you do not need any special skills to make these look good. To ensure these cupcakes are just about as easy as they can get, we’re using a (doctored) cake mix recipe today. However, if you’re feeling ambitious or would prefer homemade cupcakes, these carrot cake cupcakes are the BEST and even that much more festive for Easter!
The frosting on top is homemade but you could also grab a tub of store-bought frosting if you’re really pressed for time. That said, this frosting recipe can whip together in minutes and it is honestly the best cream cheese frosting!
How to make Easter bird’s nest cupcakes with coconut:
- First, you’ll want to start by making the cupcake base. I’ve provided an easy and delicious doctored cake mix recipe, but again, use whatever cupcake recipe you like best. If time isn’t an issue, we use this carrot cake cupcake recipe 🙂
- While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, you can prepare the toasted coconut and the cream cheese frosting.
- How do you toast coconut? pour the coconut flakes in a large DRY skillet, cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the flakes are mostly golden brown. Yes, it’s really that simple 🙂 And FYI: if the coconut is sweetened it tends to brown faster so, it will take less time. Remove the flakes from the pan as soon as they are toasted to your desired preference otherwise they will continue to cook in the skillet.
- The frosting is simple: beat together room temperature cream cheese and butter, add in some cinnamon (secret ingredient!), sea salt, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Once it’s all smooth, chill the frosting for a bit and then pipe (or spoon) it on top of the completely cooled cupcakes.
- Sprinkle some toasted coconut on top and add 3 M&Ms on top and they’re ready to go!
How long do you bake mini bird’s nest cupcakes?
If you want to make these cupcakes in a miniature muffin tin instead of a regular muffin tin, you’ll want to make sure to still use paper liners and you’ll bake them around 10-15 minutes. Check the cupcakes around 10 minutes. You can test for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center of a cupcake. If it comes out clean they are done and if it comes out wet you can add a few minutes! When decorating, you’ll want to stick to using 1-2 M&Ms on top.
How do you store bird’s nest cupcakes?
Honesty these cupcakes (and the frosting) are even better the second day as the flavors have intensified by day 2. So, don’t stress about having to make these the same day as an event! For any cupcakes that don’t get eaten, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. These cupcakes are best within 3-4 days of being made.
Yellow cupcakes topped with the best cream cheese frosting, toasted coconut, and M&Ms to create the cutest (and easiest) Easter treat! These bird's nest cupcakes are so simple to make.
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk, check notes for substitution
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup full fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 package (15.25 ounces) yellow cake mix
- 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla pudding mix, dry
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 package (8 ounces) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or use 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 bag M&M Speckled Easter Eggs Candy
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the lightly beaten eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Stir in the pudding and cake mix. Mix until JUST combined. Pour the mixture into prepared muffin tins. Fill cavities 3/4ths the way full (the batter should fill 24 regular sized cavities exactly.)
Bake for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted to the center of a cupcake.
Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes and then remove and allow to continue cooling.
Place 2 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.
Using a hand mixer, cream together the room temperature butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Mix in vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon. With mixer running on low speed, slowly add powdered sugar and beat until well blended and smooth. Chill the frosting while the cupcakes finish cooling.
Frost completely cooled cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut over the cupcakes. You may need to gently press in the coconut to get it to fully adhere to the frosting.
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.
For a buttermilk substitute combine a scant 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or plain vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes