Two weeks ago I hosted a small birthday party for my friend Christian. We had a leisurely afternoon filled with great food, plenty of champagne and desserts, in particular tarts filled with lemon curd and delicious coconut cupcakes. I opted to make cupcakes rather than an entire cake for no reason other than I didn’t want to be stuck with half a cake at the end of the afternoon tempting me fort he rest of the week. I even went as far as to have small boxes on hand to make sure that everyone was able to take home leftovers…..and guess what, not a cupcake was left much to the chagrin of The Partner.
I modified a cake recipe I found from America’s Test Kitchen that uses cream of coconut to bolster the coconut flavor of the cupcakes.
Makes 18-20 cupcakes
1 large egg
5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sweetened coconut (about 8 ounces)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces softened but still cool
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 pinch table salt
1/2 lb unsalted butter, each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.
2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.).
5. Use an ice cream scoop and place one scoop into each a muffin tin. Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate pans after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.
6. Cool in cupcakes on wire racks about 10 minutes, while cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.
8. For the Buttercream: Combine whites, sugar, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 1/2-inches of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.
9. Transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high-speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute.
– You can find cream of coconut at many Asian markets in both a powder and liquid form. Any leftover cream of coconut can be frozen and used later.
– Normally I say you can substitute all-purpose flour for most recipes but in this case, spend the extra money and buy cake flour. You will get a cake with a finer crumb.
On a side note, you have noticed that I added a Recipe tab to the blog header. I spent my weekend pulling out my favorite savory and baking recipes for the last year and compiling them into a simple to use page. Take a peek and let me know what you think…….