Cupcakes are the perfect Easter treat. They are small and come in individual portions, just the right size to counterbalance all the Easter candy. Decorating cupcakes can be novel, sophisticated or whimsical. Cupcake decorating also is a good activity for children at a party or gathering. Choose your cupcake ideas based on the time available for the project and your skill level.
Easter means springtime and the growth of new flowers and foliage. Garden themes are common in Easter décor, cupcakes as well. Novelty cupcake ideas include piping green grass onto cupcakes and adding small piped carrots, flowers and other vegetables. Flowers can be made from frosting, sugar appliqués or small candy mosaics (such as jelly beans placed to look like flower petals). Depending on your skill with modeling, you can create small items such as shovels, baskets, birds, gates etc. out of edible modeling clays, including gum paste, fondant or marzipan to place on top of the green grass base.
Easier than sculpting models is making cutouts. Common Easter shapes such as birds, bunnies, eggs and carrots can be made two-dimensional to sit on top of each cupcake. Fondant or gum paste is the best medium to use as they tend to dry harder and hold their shape better than marzipan. Use a white fondant and paint with edible paint (food coloring) or color your fondant before rolling. If making multiple shapes, split your fondant into small batches and color each individually making sure to keep some white to add details such as eyes. Roll out the fondant ¼-inch thick and stamp-cutout using a metal cookie cutter. Place the cut shapes on a piece of wax paper and add the details. Roll, cut and mold detail pieces including eyes for a bunny, stripes and dots for an egg, the leafy top of a carrot out of alternately colored fondant. Attach to the cutout using a small amount of sugar glue (water and confectioners sugar). Allow to dry before attaching to the cupcake directly onto the frosting or on top of another fondant cover.
Eggs are great decorations for cupcakes since you can buy them in various forms such as jelly beans, malted milk or chocolate eggs. Frost cupcakes in green grass and place eggs on top, or use brown icing to pipe a small basket. Once the icing has set, fill the eggs into the basket to create a bird's nest. Another idea for grass is toasting flaked coconut and leaving it natural or dying it green before placing it on top of a frosted cupcake. Nestle a few candy eggs in the middle to achieve an Easter basket feel or bird's nest (white toasted coconut) appearance.
Decorating carrot cupcakes with white icing followed by a piped or sculpted carrot is always a welcome treat. You can pipe many small carrots on a single cupcake or mold one large carrot out of marzipan or fondant to place in the middle. Three-dimensional carrots can be made to stick halfway out of the cupcake to look like they are growing out of it.
Along with small Easter candies, marshmallow decorations are easy for children to add to cupcakes. Marshmallow peeps or bunnies stuck on top of white or colored frosting make for adorable cupcakes no matter how you feel about cliché candy.
Keep it simple by focusing on the quality of the cupcake and frosting. Dye the frosting into soft pastels colors - light pink, peach, violet, light blue, green and yellow. Use the frosting as is or sprinkle with colored sugar of the same color (blue on blue). To add a little sparkle to the pastel cupcakes, add a single button candy or white chocolate drop to the center of the cupcake. Fresh fruits such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries also are more "adult-like" items to serve.