Sweets for my Peeps

I am thankful for a beautiful Easter Sunday spent with family and friends. When there is a holiday at my house, you can rest assured there is no shortage of food! We did right by brunch this year with: baked honey ham, classic dinnervine deviled eggs, a batch of Easter egg potato salad, and if that wasn’t enough . . . it was on to the sweet stuff. This spring holiday surrounds us with candies in every store, basket & plastic egg. From vibrant jelly beans to the ever-loved Cadbury crème eggs, I can’t help but indulge in a candy or two. I wanted to make a fitting dessert for the day, and had just the idea in mind, involving one little yellow marshmallow bird! I was recently gifted an awesome cookbook, Atlanta Kitchens, Recipes From Atlanta’s Best Restaurants by Krista Reese. Being that I am from Atlanta (and love many Southern classics) it was perfect timing to try a traditional dessert from this great book—enter coconut cake. I decided to adapt this one into festive Easter Peep Coconut Cupcakes. Not only does this one taste good, but it looks about as Easter-worthy as we can get (well, minus dressing-up like the Bunny— that’s always awkward).

Now onto the Peep show! 

5 from 1 reviews
Easter Peep Coconut Cupcakes
Festive, Easter Peep Coconut Cupcakes! We're using a traditional We are adapting a classic Southern recipe for a sweet batch of cupcakes this year.
Serves: 12 larger Peep topped cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
Cake Recipe:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 banana (small, very ripe), chopped
  • 1.5 tsp coconut extract
For Condensed Milk Mix:
  • ½ can evaporated milk (12 oz can)
  • ½ can condensed milk (14 oz, I used sweetened)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Frosting:
  • 1 tub Cool Whip, defrosted (8 oz)
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 stick butter, softened to room temp (1/2 cup)
  • 8 oz confectioner's sugar
  • 1-2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened (for garnish)
  • green food coloring (for coloring shredded coconut like grass nests)
  • 2 packages Peeps marshmallow candy birds (yellow, 6 Peeps/box)
  • jelly beans, for garnish
  • festive cupcake liners for baking!
What to do:
  1. Preheat oven according to boxed cake directions (in my case for cupcakes, 350 degrees)
  2. Prepare cake pan(s), (In this case cupcakes, using liners).
Make Cake:
  1. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, pineapple juice, banana & coconut extract in bowl of electric mixer.
  2. Beat for 3 minutes on medium.
  3. Pour into pan(s) and bake according to package (In our case about 21 mins, when toothpick comes out clean).
  4. Meanwhile, in pot on stove mix milk & vanilla on very low just to combine, set aside.
  5. When cake is finished baking, remove from oven and poke holes with toothpick, carefully pouring a little of condensed milk mix over top to absorb into holes. (I would skip adding the milk mix when making cupcakes however, because become overly sticky).
  6. Let cakes cool on rack in pan(s).
Make the Frosting:
  1. In bowl of mixer combine Cool Whip, softened butter, sugar, coconut extract and beat until smooth,
  2. (At this point I chilled the frosting for about 20 mins to firm-up, better for decorating cakes).
  3. In a small bowl, combine ~1/4 cup shredded coconut with ~3 drops of green food coloring, stirring to coat and color coconut into ‘grass’ for nests.
  4. Frost each cupcake and then top with a little of the coconut “grass.'
  5. To this add one yellow Peep on top, and a few jelly bean eggs for decor!
Notes:
This recipe is based on a classic Southern coconut cake, and made simpler with use of a yellow boxed cake mix. Skipping the final condensed milk mixture addition is better for our cupcake version. You can skip the shredded coconut garnish if you're not a fan of the texture, but the coconut extract in the cake and frosting is subtle and sweetly smooth. The pineapple and banana add moisture, but their flavors are not really noticeable. This would be a great layer cake too!
Serving size: start with one!

I added more coconut extract  to our batch and used cupcake pans versus a 9×13. I think they turned out very tasty, but would skip the extra step of adding a condensed milk mixture onto the finished, pre-frosted cake. It surely didn’t hurt any, but I felt it didn’t add much to this in a cupcake version and it was sticky! Though, if I do this cake in a 9×13 though, I will try that step again. The decor is up to you, but I liked to glitter these guys up with some shredded coconut nests, candy eggs, and the star of our presentation—the most interesting marshmallow bird in the World.

I hope your Easter weekend was full of good times, food, and maybe even a Peep or two.

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Welcome to the dinnervine!

Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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