Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cupcake of the Month - Coconut Cupcakes

I've made these coconut cupcakes three times in the past month - they haven't failed me yet and they are a new soul sista's favorite. They do require a bit of time and there's a mile-long list of ingredients, but the result is worth all the effort. They're kind of like coconut cream pie in a cupcake...mmm!

So our very own jennifer juniper had a birthday this month and we celebrated in classic soul sista's style. There were crafty handmade gifts, delicious chicken salad on croissants and champagne punch made by the treat girl...

and of course the obligatory birthday tiara and pink feather boa.
Happy Birthday Jen! Even though you're 29 now, you don't look a day over 28! (Actually, you don't look a day over 6 with that tiara on!)

Coconut Cupcakes
from Baked, New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening, at room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup ice water
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
For the coconut pastry cream:
2 cups half and half
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
For the Coconut Frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut pastry cream
For garnish:
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

Make the coconut pastry cream:
Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the half-and-half to a simmer. Off the heat, add the unsweetened coconut, cover and let steep 20 minutes. Strain and discard the coconut.
In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the sugar, flour, and salt until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute. Whisk half of the warm half-and-half into the egg mixture, then pour that mixture into the remaining half-and-half in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until boiling and thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through the sieve and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the pastry cream for about an hour, or until chilled.
Make the coconut cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.
Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the egg, and beat until just combined. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix on low for a few more seconds.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Fold the coconut into the batter.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the coconut frosting:
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil and had thickened, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of the freshly-made pastry cream and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put it into the refrigerator to chill slightly, then mix again until it is the proper consistency.
Assemble the cupcakes:
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium tip with the remaining coconut pastry cream. Puncture the center of a cupcake with the tip and squeeze approximately 1 tsp of coconut pastry into the cupcake. Repeat for all cupcakes. (I cut a hole in the cupcake with a thin serrated knife, removed the plug, filled the cupcakes, and replaced the plug.)
Frost the top with coconut frosting and sprinkle with shredded coconut.
You're done! (whew!)


  1. These WERE truly wonderful!!! If they don't have these cupcakes in heaven, I don't think I want to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I'm not kidding when I say I DREAM about these cupcakes. I ate every one of them myself, except for the one I spared for a coconut loving neighbor. Even after I gave it to her, I had second thoughts and almost asked for it back :)

    Maybe I will try them for my donation to the Make a Wish Bakesale next month...So glad we have the recipe now. Thanks!

  3. These cupcakes look delicious and incredible and you are right, the list of ingredients is LONG! That can be discouraging but it looks like the ingredients are pretty common. I love the pink coconut on top. That really adds to the presentation. Beautiful.



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