Monday, March 14, 2011

Springy Coconut Cupcakes

When you say "Coconut," people tend to have very strong opinions one way or the other.  I happen to love it, and so does my family.  And something about coconut says Spring to me: maybe because it reminds me of Easter grass or because my mom used to make a lamb-shaped cake around Eastertime that was covered in coconut, almost exactly like this one:

So today I decided to bake some coconut cupcakes.  I adapted Ina Garten's recipe (The Barefoot Contessa) because she is a baking goddess (the Urban dictionary actually defines "Contessa" as a supreme goddess!), and her recipes are delightfully decadent and tasty.  She says in her book that this recipe is one of her customers' favorites.  I think it's as much about the frosting as about the cake itself.  It is a cream cheese frosting with more butter than most.   Yummy!

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
(click here to print recipe)

Cupcake Batter:

1 1/2 sticks butter (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. coconut extract (Ina uses almond but it's too strong for my taste)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 oz. sweetened, shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl and cream till light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla and coconut extracts.  Scrape the bowl down.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry.  Do not overbeat.  Fold in the coconut.

Line muffin tins with paper liners.  Scoop batter into each well.  I use an ice cream scoop so the portions are roughly equal.  I got 15 cupcakes out of this.

Bake for 18-20 minutes (Ina's recipe says 25-35 but that would have been MUCH too long for my oven!) or until they are Springy when touched lightly or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack while making the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used lowfat, not that it mattered--Ha!)
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened (no substitutes)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. coconut extract (see my comment above)
3/4 lb. confectioners sugar, sifted (about 2 3/4 cups)
4 oz. sweetened, shredded coconut for garnish

Cream the butter, cream cheese and extracts with electric mixer or food processor until light and fluffy.  Turn the mixer to low and slowly add powdered sugar until well combined and smooth.  Use to frost or pipe onto the cupcakes.  Sprinkle cupcakes with coconut (toasted or not, or some of both like I did.)

To toast coconut, spread out evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, stirring once.

I'm linking this to:

Mouthwatering Mondays


Kristin said...

how cute is that lamb cake!?! i don't think i would have the heart to eat it! the cupcakes, on the other hand, i could dive into!! they look absolutely delicious & perfect for spring.

Lisa said...

Yum, yum, yum. I am so making these for Easter! So pretty and that frosting looks delicious!!

Marianne@Songbird said...

Wow, these look yummy. I put them in my ideas file for the time when I can allow myself to dig in again (I am combining Lent with a bit of Spring decluttering of my body).

Melinda said...

Yum! I'm on the "love" side of the coconut question! These cupcakes look great!

bythebrookdesigns said...

Making these! I would enter your blog hop, but as you know I don't cook or bake for pleasure. Just purely to feed my ungrateful, picky family (who I love)


Paula {Salad in a Jar} said...

I'm a coconut lover so these look absolutely dangerous. Great for spring.