Tools & Materials
20 Vanilla Cupcakes
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 piece (10 inches) black licorice lace, cut into 40 (1/3-inch) pieces
20 whole almonds
140 red candy-coated licorice pastels (about 1/3 cup), or pieces of snipped red licorice laces
Bake cupcakes and cool completely. When turned upside-down, each cupcake becomes the body of a chick. Spread buttercream frosting on a cupcake to anchor it to the serving plate while you are working. Use a small offset spatula to coat the sides thickly with frosting, and then mound more on top to create a dome shape.
Press toasted shredded coconut into the frosting -- it stands in for fuzzy feathers. Hold the plate at an angle while applying the coconut so the excess falls back into the bowl.
Place eyes (made from snipped black licorice laces) on chicks using tweezers. Use a whole almond for the beak and red licorice for the feet and comb; both can be pushed into the frosting by hand.