Thursday, February 26, 2009

Coconut Cupcakes Recipe

Once in a while, something will come out of my kitchen that truly amazes me.

These coconut cupcakes definitely qualify.

I was inspired to make these by an episode of Good Eats. The talented Alton Brown was on a quest to make the perfect coconut cake, and I was so intrigued by his recipe, that I had to try it out.

There were two reasons I wanted to try out this recipe.

  • It uses not one, not two, not three but four different forms of coconut
  • I get so excited when I see a recipe that uses a fresh ingredient where I've always been using ready made ingredients, in this case shredded coconut. I've always used the dessicated kind that you buy in a bag so I was stoked to try to take a whole coconut and make it into a bowl full of perfect shreds of fresh coconut.
Lastly, I'll say that I was extremely tempted to add pineapple flavour to these. It took all of my self control to just allow them to be plain coconut flavoured, without so much as a hint of vanilla. And am I ever glad! They turned out light and fluffy with the most exquisite coconut flavour I've ever experienced. The light, airy texture of the cupcakes meant that too much frosting could overpower them, so rather than pipe a big swirl, I just spread the frosting with a spatula and then flipped them upside down and dipped them in a bowl of the fresh, shredded coconut.

To make the shredded coconut, first drain the coconut by using a hammer to poke holes into its three 'eyes' with a screwdriver and then placing over a bowl until all of the coconut water drains out. Place the coconut on its side and hit with a hammer a few times until it cracks and you can split it in half. Separate the meat from the shell by sliding a dull knife (I used a butter knife) between them, and then cut the brown rind from the meat using a paring knife. Wash the white parts of the coconut to remove any bits of fibre and place pieces in a food processor using the grater disk.

Here is the recipe, which is Alton Brown's with the following changes:
  • Adapted from a cake recipe to a cupcake recipe
  • Used buttercream frosting rather than 7-minute frosting (I ran out of eggs)
Recipe: Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream frosting

  • 14 1/4 oz cake flour,approximately 3 cups
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 8 oz butter, room temperature
  • 16 oz sugar, approximately 2 1/4 cups
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 4 egg whites

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 shortening
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 5 Tbsp coconut milk
  • Grated coconut from 1 coconut, approximately 8 to 10 ounces

For the Cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Makes about 30 cupcakes.

Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in small bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 1 to 2 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and continue creaming until the mixture noticeably lightens in texture and increases slightly in volume, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 batches, ending with the milk mixture. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, just until combined. Fill cupcake cups about 2/3 full. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 25 minutes or until cupcakes start to become golden brown around the edges and a toothpick pressed in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack.

For the Frosting:
Cream butter and shortening together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium speed.Add coconut extract and mix to combine.

Gradually add icing sugar until combined. Add coconut milk, 1 Tbsp at a time until the frosting reaches desired consistency.

Spread frosting on top of each cupcake and then dip cupcakes in shredded coconut to coat the tops.


Anonymous said...

I love Alton's coconut cake recipe! I've only made it twice since it's so labor intensive, but it is SO good! I love serving it with vanilla bean ice cream.

judith said...

Mmmm, sounds like my mom's Fresh Coconut Cake. She never had a food processor so had to grate the coconut with a hand grater. Talk about a labor intensive endeavor.
I wish we were neighbors... my family only eats chocolate baked goods. :(

Unknown said...

Oh, please, next time you make these, make John bring me in one!