Easter is one of my favourite times of the year, and these cute Easter chick lemon and vanilla cupcakes are the perfect sweet treat for the occasion!
A soft vanilla yellow sponge cupcake is topped with a simple lemon buttercream frosting in the shape of an adorable baby chick. Fondant (modelling) icing is used to create eyes, a beak and little feet to complete the cute Easter cupcake topper.
These easy Easter cupcakes are the perfect bake for an Easter dessert or to enjoy at a Spring party! Kids and adults will love these colourful and cute cupcakes. Especially as the smooth vanilla sponge balances out the zesty buttercream frosting to make one delicious cupcake!
✏️ Making a tasty and easy recipe
When it comes to Easter desserts and Easter baking ideas, for me, it’s the cuter the better! And what could be cuter than these little baby chick cupcakes, all bright yellow with fluffy little wings? My inspiration for this cupcake is an adaption from The Simple-Sweet Life's chick cupcakes.
I like it when my desserts have colours that match their flavours, so for a yellow chick, it made sense to make it from lemon-flavoured frosting. That way, you only need to add a bit of food colouring to get bright and fun colours.
When I knew I wanted to make lemon chick cupcakes, I wanted to make them both cute and easy. I’m a pretty lazy baker, so the simple approach is always the one I’d prefer.
These frosted chick cupcakes are basically made of two big blobs of yellow American-style buttercream for the body and head, then two small frosting blobs for wings and a few pieces of fondant (modelling) icing rolled into eyes, feet and a beak.
🥘 Ingredients notes
- As with many of my baking recipes, I recommend starting with room temperature ingredients for these cute Easter cupcakes. This will improve the consistency and ease at which your ingredients will mix together.
- I prefer to use vanilla extract rather than vanilla essence, as it has a better stronger flavour. It’s a purer vanilla taste as it’s less processed than vanilla essence.
- Always sieve your flour, baking powder and icing sugar. I used to be a bit lazy and skip this part, but it really makes such a difference to get you a lump-free mixture.
- When measuring your ingredients, I always recommend using weights rather than cups for greater accuracy. This is especially important for the amount of flour.
🔪 Equipment notes
- I like to use digital scales for weighing my ingredients as it's easier and more accurate than other scales (or using no scales!). I'm a fan of these KitchenAid or Salter ones!
- Use measuring spoons for your teaspoon and tablespoon amounts where possible. Make sure the scoops filled with your ingredients are levelled before adding them to your mix!
🍱 Cupcake storage
Once decorated and finished, it's best to place cupcakes into an airtight container. These lemon chick cupcakes should keep for several days in storage at room temperature.
If you want to freeze your cupcakes, you can wrap the unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap / cling film and freeze them.
Your buttercream frosting can also be frozen in an airtight container. Both should keep for 1-2months in the freezer.
Defrost and use as normal per recipe. The buttercream may need to be beaten again to whip up to nice and fluffy before use.
💭 Top tips for success
Cupcake making tips:
- When making cupcakes with raising agents (i.e. using self-raising flour, baking powder, baking soda, etc.) such as the chick cupcakes in this recipe, try to not over-mix your cake batter. The texture of your cake will be dense rather than a light and airy sponge.
- When pouring your cupcake batter into the cupcake liners in the muffin tin (I quite like the Wilton muffin pans!) you only need to fill each of your cupcake cases to roughly ⅔ full. If you fill it more than this, you might have your cupcakes looking a bit more like muffins as they may spill over!
- Don’t open the oven mid-bake. You’ll have probably heard this advice before, but it’s such an important factor that it bears repeating. I’ve been there before and nobody likes a cake with a sinkhole!
Buttercream frosting tips:
- For a gorgeously creamy lemon buttercream frosting, start by beating your butter until it’s light and fluffy. It could just be me, but this always seems to take longer than I think. It should be several minutes of beating the butter if using a stand / electric mixer. This will go a long way in giving you creamy and light frosting.
- Another easy buttercream frosting tip is to only add the colouring one drop at a time, and to note that your colour will develop and strengthen over time. This means that you should stop adding more colouring a shade lighter than you’d like your final colour to be. For the buttercream frosting chick here, I use only 1-2 drops of yellow gel food colouring.
Cupcake decoration tips:
- Using fondant (modelling) icing can be a bit fiddly. You can use small tools to help you such as toothpicks and small knives if needed. It’s also a good idea to warm up your fondant in your hands a little before you start so that it’s easier to manipulate. It’s pretty cold where I am, so if I don’t do this it can crack and crumble a bit rather than mould smoothly.
If you’ve got any specific questions on making these Easter chicken lemon and vanilla cupcakes, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help out!
♻️ Alternatives and substitutions
I think these little Easter yellow chicks look adorable as Easter cupcake toppers. However, I also realised that if you flattened the beak a little too much, they actually look like little ducklings! You can turn these cupcakes into duckling cupcakes by flatting the beak to make it wide and also flattening the feet to give the impression of webbed feet instead.
If you like a lot of lemon flavour, you can also add 1 lemon’s zest to the vanilla cupcake.
I usually use plain flour in this cupcake recipe, but alternatively you can swap plain flour for self-raising flour of the same quantity (170g for a standard-sized batch) and reduce the baking powder by 1 ½ teaspoon
For the buttercream frosting for these baby chick cupcakes, I use a piping bag and an open circle piping nozzle for the head / body, then an open star piping nozzle for the wings. This 3-piece set from Wilton has the ones I use most often for my cupcakes.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a piping bag or a round open nozzle, you can use a plastic sandwich / freezer bag with the corner cut off instead. If you've got no open star nozzles, you can use this method to blob on some wings too!
🧁 Other goodies
I definitely recommend that you whip up a batch of these deliciously soft and easy little chick lemon cupcakes! But as an avid home baker, I’m sure you’re asking yourself “what next?”.
Well, if you’re looking for more great Easter baking ideas, take a look at my recipe for a hot cross bun muffin – a fun twist on the traditional Easter food. They’re great for an Easter breakfast, brunch or dessert!
Or if you’re a chocolate fan, take a look at these Easter bunny chocolate malt cupcakes with vanilla malt buttercream - they'd go great alongside these lemon chick cupcakes for your next Easter or Spring party!
If you love all things fruity and zesty, check out my recipe for an easy lemon and white chocolate cake – perfect for birthday parties! These classic lemon bars and fruity homemade raspberry curd bars would also be great as Spring and Summer sweet treats!
Looking forward to some new recipes? Check out my Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages for a few sneak peeks and some sweet inspiration! Or if you’d like to hear about our latest recipes, why not subscribe to our newsletter?
Easter Chick Lemon and Vanilla Cupcakes
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- 170 g (¾ cups) unsalted butter (room temp.)
- 170 g (¾ cups) caster sugar (golden or white)
- 3 eggs
- 170 g (1 ⅓ cups) plain / all-purpose flour (see notes for self-raising flour swap)
- 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower oil)
- 225 g (1 cups) unsalted butter (room temp.)
- 450 g (3 ¾ cups) icing / powdered sugar
- 1 lemon’s juice
- ½ lemon’s zest
- A pinch of salt
- A few drops yellow food colouring
- Black fondant / modelling icing
- Orange fondant / modelling icing
- Preheat oven: 190oC / 170oC (fan) / Gas Mark 5 / 375oF
- For the sponges, cream together the butter and sugar, either using a spatula, electric hand mixer or stand mixer.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until whisked up nice and fluffy.
- Gradually add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, and slowly mix together.
- Sieve in the flour and baking powder, folding in gently until just combined.
- Add the milk and vanilla extract, stirring in until only the liquid has only just incorporated.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20mins until risen, springy to the touch and skewer comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack while you make the buttercream.
- Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
- Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of icing sugar.
- Add in the salt, lemon zest and mixing until smooth.
- Stir in the yellow food colouring one drop at a time until you get the desired colour.
Chick assembly and decoration:
- Once the cupcakes have cooled fully, add your lemon buttercream to a piping bag fitted with an open round nozzle. Hold your nozzle a few cm (an inch) above the top of your cupcake, and squeeze your piping bag hard for several seconds and lift up very slightly so you get one large blob of frosting.
- Lift your nozzle a few more cm (an inch) up and make a smaller frosting blob for the head by squeezing softer and lifting up quicker.
- Change your nozzle to an open star piping tip if you have one, if not you can stick with the current tip and pipe a blob of frosting on each side of the body to make little wings.
- Repeat the above steps until you have frosted each cupcake with a chick body, head and wings.
- Roll two small balls of black fondant icing to make eyes for your chick and press them into the head.
- Roll two small pieces of orange fondant icing into thin logs, roughly a thumb's length long. Cut one log in half for the two legs and cut the other into four pieces (half and half again). Pinch one end of each of these four short pieces and two leg pieces into a pointy tip.
- For each of the four short pieces, press the non-pointy end onto the leg piece roughly 1-2 cm (½ inch) down from the pointy end. You should use two short pieces for each leg to effectively create three toes on each leg.
- Press the non-foot end of each leg into the base of the chicks on your cupcake, leaving a small gap between them.
- Make a small beak using more orange fondant, rolling a very small piece into a log shape and pinching one end into a pointed tip. Press the non-pointed end into the chick’s face below the eyes.
- Repeat the above fondant steps until you have completed the chick decorations for each of your cupcakes, then enjoy!
- You can swap the plain / all-purpose flour in this recipe for self-raising flour of the same 170 g quantity and reduce the baking powder down to only 1 teaspoon
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.