Chocolate Bird Nest Cupcakes

Rich malted chocolate nest cupcakes decorated with festive Easter candies. These treats are perfect for a spring celebration!

Carrot Patch Cupcakes are another fun and festive Easter recipe that are fun for kids to make and eat. If you’re not into chocolate cupcakes, you could also try Coconut Chocolate Salted Caramel Nests

An arrangement of cute Easter cupcakes topped with faux easter grass and eggs.

A Fun Easter Treat

When I was planning recipes out for this spring I had so many fun ideas. I quickly realized that with all of the chaos going on in our life (buying a house, moving, husband moving offices for work, school/extra curricular obligations, doctors appointments, and church functions) I’d have to be a little more realistic about which ones I’d actually have time to make and post.

These malted chocolate nest cookies made the cut. They were on my list for over two years and I didn’t want to hold out on you any longer.

We’re going to start by chatting about which malt to use for this particular recipe. I think you’ll be surprised! 

A bottle of chocolate malt powder used in the batter and frosting on malted chocolate nest cupcakes.

What type of malt powder to use?

I found it difficult to locate classic malt powder, so I used Ovaltine chocolate malt mix instead. It’s available at almost well-stocked grocery stores nationwide.

This recipe has been created for this ingredient, so just know that if you do find regular malt powder, you may need to add an additional tablespoon or two of cocoa powder into both the batter and frosting.

A scoop of malted chocolate cupcake batter.

How to Make Easter Cupcakes

WET INGREDIENTS. Start by mixing the oil and sugars, then add the vanilla and eggs. You can do this in either a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl.

CHOCOLATE MALT. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the malt powder and the milk. We’re essentially making chocolate milk. Then whisk in the sour cream until smooth. It should be relatively thick.

DRY INGREDIENTS. In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, dutch-process cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

COMBINE. Alternate adding the malt mixture and the dry ingredients ⅓ at a time until incorporated, then beat for 15 seconds.

FILL. Use a large scoop (#20) or 3.5 tablespoons of batter to fill each liner. They should be filled ¾ of the way full. Any more and they will mushroom as they bake, which means the edges will touch the pan and more often than not, get stuck.

BAKE. Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Freshly baked malted chocolate nest cupcakes cooling in a baking tin.

Make the Frosting

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, add two sticks of softened butter. TIP: I like to set my butter out while I am making the cupcakes so that it’s soft when I need it for the frosting. You can also microwave the sticks on half power for 15 seconds, then 5 second increments after that if needed.

Add the vanilla and salt, then the cocoa powder and malt powder. For the frosting I like to use a lighter cocoa powder (not dutch) because I don’t want it to be quite so bitter tasting. Mix, then add the cocoa powder and milk. 

The frosting should be light and fluffy. You may need to add up to 4 tablespoons of milk to get the right consistency. It shouldn’t be too buttery or too sweet.

How to pipe the frosting for malted chocolate nest cupcakes.

Decorating Nest Cupcakes

Now comes the fun part! I used a large disposable piping bag (Fat Daddio’s 18-inch bags are the best!) fitted with my large Ateco 809 tip to pipe a tall swirl around the edge of the cupcake. Then I pipe just a tiny bit into the center.

To create the well, I used an offset spatula and swirled it downward into the center.

Grass: I grabbed a jar of ChocoMaker green candy shreds for the grass, although Green jimmies or dyed unsweetened shredded coconut also work. 

Eggs: I used mini Robin’s Eggs for the eggs, but you could also use M&M eggs or Cadbury eggs if you’re having a hard time finding them.

Faux grass and eggs used to decorate the tops of the malted chocolate nest cupcakes.

Storage Tips

Just a few tips to help store for the holidays…

  • Unfrosted cupcakes are best if stored at room temperature so the fridge air doesn’t dry them out
  • Once you frost them they can be left at room temperature for a couple of days but then you probably want to put them in the fridge to extend their shelf life
  • To freeze: Flash freeze for a couple of hours if they have frosting on them. Wrap frosted or unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap and then in foil. You can put multiple wrapped cupcakes in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months.

Chocolate bird nest cupcakes close up image

My daughter and I had so much fun decorating these cute malted chocolate nest cupcakes. Not only did they look amazing, but they tasted amazing too! If you’re on the fence about malt, or are a malt lover like myself, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try!

LOOKING FOR MORE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE RECIPES? TRY THESE:

Rich, dark, malted chocolate nest cupcakes.

Easter Cupcakes Recipe

Rich malted chocolate nest cupcakes decorated with festive Easter candies. These treats are perfect for a spring celebration!
5 from 5 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 50 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Calories: 409kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar - packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate malted milk powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For the Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter - (2 sticks), softened
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate malted milk powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tbsp whole milk
For the Decorations
  • 1/2 cup green jimmies - OR candy shreds
  • 1 cup mini robin's eggs

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with 18 grease-proof paper liners, set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, combine the oil and sugars. Mix on medium-low speed for 1 minute. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time until incorporated.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the malt powder and milk until chocolate milk forms. Slowly whisk in the sour cream until smooth, set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • With mixing speed on low, alternate adding wet and dry ingredients 1/3 at a time, starting with the dry ingredients. Once incorporated, beat on high for 15 seconds. The batter will be runny but will have tacky clumps.
  • Using a large scoop (#20) fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full. This should be about 3.5 tablespoons of batter per liner.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, to make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, add the butter and cream on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, vanilla, malt, and cocoa powder. Mix for 30 seconds on low.
  • With mixing speed on low, add powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix on low for 30 seconds, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add more milk if necessary to get a light, fluffy frosting. Continue beating on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • In a large piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip, pipe the frosting in a tall circle around the outside edge of a cooled cupcake. Using an offset spatula, swirl the frosting in the center to create a well or the nest.
  • Top with sprinkles or candy shreds, then fill the nest with eggs.

Nutrition

Serving: 18g | Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 509IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 2mg

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    Cute, fun, & so good!! Robin eggs are the perfect topping!! The cupcakes were so moist & the frosting was so creamy!

  2. 5 stars
    I have always loved malted chocolate and immediately made these! I need to make some more to share with my kids 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    These are awesome! Thanks for the head’s up on the candy shreds! I always see “nests” this time of year being made with shredded coconut. But my mom is allergic to coconut and eliminating the shreds makes these allergen friendly! The frosting and the cupcakes are also so good! Love these!