Bird’s Nest Cupcakes with Jenn from Rook No. 17

It’s Thursday! How is your week going?  Are you ready for a special treat?  Our guest at The Southern Institute today is Jenn from Rook No. 17, and if you haven’t visited her blog you are missing out.  I met Jenn when I saw her blog near mine at’s Top 50 Craft Blogs.  I contacted her and a friendship began.  Jenn has a wonderful blog with recipes, crafts, tutorials and more.  She is as sweet as her blog is delightful… someone that you should definitely “meet”!  By the way, you can still vote for both Jenn and me at with just a click.  Rook No. 17 is #15 and The Southern Institute is #16… we would be ever so grateful!  Here’s Jenn with a wonderful springtime treat that you are going to LOVE!

Hello there Southern Institute fans!  I’m Jenn, the crafter, baker, and glitter shaker behind the creative nesting blog Rook No. 17.  I’m a cake sculptor by profession and a mom and a maker for the sheer joy of it; Rook No. 17 is a place where I share  my original recipes, vintage inspired crafts, and cake decorating tips and tutorials.

I’m as pleased as punch that Jenny has invited me to guest-post here today.  I have a hunch her readers and mine are truly birds of a feather!  With all the bird references I keep throwing hither and thither, I’d be remiss if my guest post didn’t continue the theme…

What comes to mind when you think of springtime?  For me it’s robin’s egg blue, Easter baskets, spotted newborn deer on their wobbly little legs, flowering trees and the sweet songs of birds nesting in their leafy branches.  It’s the latter that inspired these dainty little cupcakes.

I pack the tiny cakes in repurposed egg cartons that I’ve decorated with custom labels.  I’m sharing free downloads at the end of this post.
Mini Lemon Cupcakes

(makes 4-5 dozen, depending on the size of your baking cups)

9 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
zest of one lemon
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk, hot but not boiling

Prep:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line mini muffin pans with paper liners. ( I used extra tall cups, yielding 4 dozen mini cupcakes.)

Step 1:  With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes.  Add eggs and beat to combine.  Add lemon zest, juice and vanilla and beat to incorporate.

Step 2:  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Step 3:  Heat milk till hot but not boiling.

Step 4:  Stir the dry and wet ingredients alternately in to the butter/sugar mixture (in 3 batches) starting with the hot milk.  To finish, beat on high for 30 seconds.

Step 5:  Fill mini muffin liners 3/4 full.  Bake for 13 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Step 6:  Remove from oven and cool thoroughly on an elevated rack.

To Decorate with Coconut Nests
–1 bag Cadbury Mini Eggs
–1 14 ounce bag Angel Flake coconut
–Your favorite white frosting (I make a classic cream cheese icing, substituting coconut milk for regular milk or cream)
–Optional: a chenille Easter chick
Step 1:  Toast half of the coconut on a piece of foil, in the oven at 300 degrees F until toasted on one side.  Toss, then cook another few minutes until the coconut is evenly browned.
Step 2:  Toss the toasted coconut with the remaining white coconut in a large bowl.
Step 3:  Lightly frost a mini cupcake.  Grab a handful of the coconut and pack it on to the frosted cupcake (over the bowl).  Lightly shake off excess. 
Step 4:  Twist a chocolate egg into the center of the coconut nest.


Optional:  Cut one egg in half with a serrated knife.  Microwave for just a few seconds, to softened the chocolate.  Scoop the chocolate out with the tip of the knife to make hollow egg halves.  Decorate one (or more) cupcakes with a chenille chick and the egg halves.  

To Decorate the Egg Carton

Print, trim and glue the labels below on the egg carton.

I used a natural handmade-paper for the labels and an Elmer’s Craft Bond Extra Strength Glue Stick to adhere them.

Download the pink labels HERE: Egg Carton Label Pink

Download the blue labels HERE: Egg Carton Label Blue


  1. Laura W. says:

    This is adorable!!! Where do I find the chenille chicks??


  1. [...] Bird's Nest Cupcakes with Jenn from Rook No. 17 – The Southern … For me it's robin's egg blue, Easter baskets, spotted newborn deer on their wobbly little legs, flowering trees and the sweet songs of birds nesting in their leafy branches. It's the latter that inspired these dainty little cupcakes. [...]

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