- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; scrape down bowl, and beat in vanilla.
- Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Divide batter evenly among liners, about three-quarters full each. Bake until golden and tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer pans to wire rack; cool completely.
3/4 cup sugar
- Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Place over a pot of simmering water; whisk until hot and sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer stand, and beat on high speed until cooled, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Replace whisk with paddle attachment, and set mixer on medium-high speed; add butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Beat in chocolate. If not using immediately, refrigerate buttercream in an airtight container for up to a week. Bring to room temperature, and rebeat or stir vigorously before using.
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (about 5 ounces)
Yellow and light-blue food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pan once. Set aside to cool.
- Lightly frost cupcakes with 1 cup chocolate buttercream; set aside. Tint 2 tablespoons reserved buttercream pale yellow; place in a pastry bag fitted with a #349 Ateco leaf tip; set aside. Tint remaining buttercream light blue; place in a pastry bag fitted with a #11 Ateco plain round tip, and pipe three bluebird heads, 3/4 inch in diameter, onto each cupcake. Using leaf tip, pipe yellow beaks. With a toothpick, add melted-chocolate eyes. Form each nest with 2 tablespoons toasted coconut.