Hot Polka Dot

Feather The Nest.

Outside tiny birds fly distracted and twitterpated snatching up twigs and absconding with string to prepare nests in your eaves trough. Inside we feather our own nests with knick knacks, baubles and trinkets.

I've made my nests of airy threads of spun sugar atop pillows of velvety Caramel Buttercream crowning moist Vanilla Bean Cakes. An egg would be so lucky to hatch here!

Because It's Spring again.

Because I had my first robin sighting of the year.

Because I'm on a sugar high.

Because I want you all to know how much I appreciate you.

I made you a little gift inspired by today's cupcakes.

It's a bird's nest necklace made of twisted silver wire and shiny turquoise beads on a dainty cable chain. Made with love by yours truly so it can be Spring all year long.

How to Enter:

   1. Leave a comment here telling me about your favourite thing about Spring. Maybe it's Easter dinner, the budding        gardens, the longer days or just the warm breeze. I'd love to know!
   2. Follow me on Twitter, tweet the contest (Visit @Hot_Polka_Dot to see some cute cupcakes & enter to win a pretty        bird's nest necklace to keep Spring all year! and leave another comment here telling me you've        done so.
   3. Like me on Facebook and leave even another comment here telling me you've done so.
   4. Become my friend on Foodbuzz and leave yet another comment here telling me you've done so.

Contest Details:

   - If you're already following me on Twitter, liking me on Facebook, or my friend on Foodbuzz that's ok! You're entries still      count!
   - Only a maximum of four entries per person will be permitted in the ways I've designated above.
   - Anyone in the world is welcome to enter.
   - Upon winning please email me at hotpolkadot (at) live (dot) com to claim your prize and give me your mailing address      to receive the necklace.
   - All emails and addresses will be kept confidential.

Contest Deadline:

The contest will be open through the weekend and be closed on Monday April the 25th at 9pm MST. I will close the comments at this time so make sure to get your entries in soon! The winner will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday morning. Make sure to get in as many extra entries you can for a better chance to win!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered! See who won here.

Caramel Bird's Nest Cupcakes

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Source: My imagination.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 vanilla bean
3 1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 – 4 cup powdered sugar

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line 2 muffin tins with baking cups and set them aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated. Split open the vanilla bean then scrape out all the seeds and add them to the bowl.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt then add it in thirds alternating between the milk and oil.

Divide the batter between the prepared muffin tins then bake them for 20 – 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before frosting.

Make the Caramel Buttercream while the cupcakes are baking. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small sauce pan on medium high heat. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 6 – 7 minutes or until it turns a dark amber brown.

Remove it from the heat then very gradually add the cream and vanilla. Be careful not to add the cream too quickly as it will likely splatter or bubble. Set it aside until it's cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter until it's fluffy and the colour is lightened. Mix in the powdered sugar then add the cooled caramel and blend it until it's smooth.

Scoop the frosting into a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and generously frost each cupcake. To make roses start a spiral of frosting from the middle working your way to the outside.

Spun Sugar Nests

Makes 24 nests.

Source: Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes' Maple Candied Apples.

1/4 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

24 – 72 Mini Eggs

In a large sauce pan combine the corn syrup, sugar and water then heat it on medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring it to a boil until it reaches 302 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This is considered the hard crack stage which will allow the caramel to harden like glass when it cools. Once it reaches the proper temperature remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Fit a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of your empty sink and securely tape a greased wooden spoon to the counter with the handle hanging over the parchment. Set aside another sheet of parchment on the counter for the finished spun caramel nests. Working quickly grab caramel with two forks then let the threads of caramel fall back and forth over the handle. Once you have amassed enough spun sugar for one nest slide it off the handle and shape it into a small bird's nest placing 1 – 3 Mini Eggs in it then set it aside on the parchment.

Set the spun sugar bird's nests on top of the frosted cupcakes and enjoy!

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Comments (118) Trackbacks (4)
  1. Beautiful necklace! My favorite part of Spring is the warmer weather!

  2. I Tweeted the giveaway! And I follow you on Twitter of course

  3. My favorite thing about spring is getting to take longer walks with my pug!

  4. The smell of spring. Fresh, green, floral, wet, warm,renewed…..The Best

  5. My favorite thing about Spring is watching the trees burst into bloom, the birds building their nests and opening doors and windows to let fresh air into our home after a long winter!

  6. Wow, those are just fabulous! They are so gorgeous! They are almost too pretty to eat…almost ; )

  7. I’m a new Twitter follower – @ahensnest and I tweeted-!/ahensnest/status/61437680088645632

  8. I’m a new Facebook Liker :) – Henrietta Newman

  9. Even though their arrival brings me itchy eyes and sneezing, I love when the wisteria blooms!

  10. I follow you on twitter and tweeted the giveaway!

  11. I “like” you on Facebook!

  12. I love (LOVE) that I can finally walk around the neighbourhood without suffering the following afflictions: snow, ice, mud, garbage, dirty gravel and leftover salt, and humongous puddles that really should be called ponds (ok wait, I’m still suffering from those).

    (as a side note: can you tell me why we’re baking instead of crafting?)

  13. I’m a pal on foodbuzz!

  14. I also stalk you incessantly on Facebook! ;)

  15. The flowering trees. I love taking walks in the spring.

  16. I liked you on facebook. can’t wait to see what else you make!

  17. i also tweeted you. :D

  18. These are the prettiest Easter cupcakes I’ve ever seen! So beautiful :)

    I love the robins egg color eggs!

  19. Spring is all about the warmer weather!!

  20. These are adorable! I’ve never made spun sugar, but I’m psyched to give it a try. I think my favorite thing about spring is getting to open the windows for the first time and get a fresh breeze all through the house! I’m keeping my fingers crossed because the necklace is super-cute!

  21. These cupcakes are glorious! So cute and so tasty. Well done! I live in a place that’s perpetual summer and I’ve kind of forgotten what happens during Spring…here its means the end of jellyfish season! No more sea itch :)

  22. Hi there! My favorite thing about spring are all the budding flowers and birds singing. It all signifies renewal of life. I can’t wait to try the cupcake recipe!

  23. Hi Lindsey, I found your FB page and “liked” it. I really enjoy checking out your pictures and all of your great recipes!

  24. I love being able to eat breakfast, lunch and supper all out on the deck in the fresh air and with little cleanup!

  25. Wow! These cupcakes almost look too perfect to eat… beautiful, just beautiful!!

  26. soooo cute! i love the spun-sugar nests! i recently made chocolate-coconut nest cupcakes, but they aren’t nearly as cute as your caramel nest cupcakes!!!

  27. I saw your gorgeous cupcakes on foodgawker and then saw the gorgeous necklace! I’m so jealous of your talent! My favorite part of spring is the amazing weather.

  28. I like you on FB!

  29. Wow. Those cupcakes look soooo adorably delicious! Caramel buttercream? YUM! Sounds amazing. Oh, I just want to reach and grab one of those mini-eggs. Your pictures are just stunning.
    Happy Easter to you!

  30. I was a little worried you were not going to tell me how to spin that sugar for the nests….those look great. I really need to finish my easter dessert for tomorrow. I commented and liked you on fb, buzzed you on food buzz and I’m going there now to leave a message….why…cuz that necklace is really beautiful and I covet it. :)

  31. Fave part of Spring is seeing my peonies, iris, painted daisys, and false baptisa rising from the slowing warming ground. Then the first tiny sky blue blossoms of Forget Me Nots that carpet my front flower bed.

  32. My favorite part of spring, is the beautiful warm weather and shining sun. Also great for natural lighting photography ;)

  33. I love the longer days in the spring. There’s nothing better than coming home from work on a Friday night with enough daylight to run, grill and eat on the patio :) Gorgeous necklace and cupcakes! I love their presentation in the coffee mug…so cute and creative!

  34. My favorite thing about spring is strawberries! Strawberries that taste like strawberries, not water!

  35. I have commented on your fb page. I love spring…it means going to the pool is just around the corner.

  36. I have also requested to be your pal on foodbuzz. (I refuse to twitter though…because it confuses me. so I won’t get any points for that. :)

  37. My favorite thing of spring is for sure the longer daylight time…and this cupcakes. I would love one :)

  38. These are really beautiful! I love Spring because I get to get back outside into my garden and start growing another season of food. This year we will be hosting bees! I can’t hardly wait for them to come and see all I have growing for them :)

  39. My favorite thing about spring is the budding trees and flowers!

  40. these are completely gorgeous! let’s see, i love spring because the sun finally comes out, and it alters my entire mood! thanks for the beautiful cupcake recipe!

  41. Gorgeous cupcakes and gorgeous necklace! My favorite thing about spring is the budding flowers!!

  42. Forgot to add…just liked you on FB…can’t wait to watch what you have coming up on a daily basis!!

  43. Wow!! Alright I never enter your contests….I always think that postage to England would be unfair so I keep my fingers crossed for other folks…..BUT this time I have no choice!! It’s a gorgeous necklace, you talented gal, and a reminder of blue robin eggs in a land where the robins lay cream colored eggs would be so divine! My favourite thing about spring when I was in Canada (Winnipeg) was the smell in the air as the season turned, the ice melting into millions of little rivers everywhere you turned. Now that I’m an English mummy my favourite thing is long walks with my girls while we search out all the signs of spring….ladybirds and buds on trees, it’s so exciting to teach them to slow down and find the roses to smell!! ;) (also I like you on facebook) Happy Easter to you and the family!!

  44. Liked on FB. Incredible necklace!

  45. Favorite thing about spring–Everything coming back to life.

  46. I don’t really have season where I live but my favorite part of spring growing up was seeing little buds appearing on the trees.

    Love your cupcakes and photos!

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