Thursday, March 4, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes and Meet Jennifer Juniper

Coconut Cupcakes

For the month of March, I'm celebrating my second blogiversary and bringing you some of my favorite recipes from my archives. I am also going to introduce you to some of my best friends.

I chose to highlight this cupcake today because they are heavenly and also because they are my good friend Jennifer Juniper's favorite. If you haven't met Jen yet, you must hop on over to her awesome blog at Hope Studios. She is creative and artistic, she's extremely funny, and she has quite a following. She is also a great cook and baker! And she's not paying me to say these things.

Jen is the one who introduced me to blogging. She's the one who told me about Flickr and Picnik (I used special effects on Picnik on the photo above to give it a funky color boost - see the original on the sidebar) . Jen is the one who makes me laugh every Sunday morning with her Sunday Funny Series. She is the one who makes me ponder things in her regular feature called Feedback Friday. She teaches us how to do things on Tuesdays with her Tuesday Tutorials complete with linky parties. Jen amazes me with her creativity and humor that I always wish I had more of.

Jen is also the face behind these beautiful custom picture frames you can purchase in her Etsy Shop. She's got a gun and she's not afraid to use it (a glue gun that is) and that goes for spray paint and sewing machines and saws too. I bought a can of spray paint once - still haven't used it...

If you like a laugh and like playing games, you can follow her on Twitter.

For all you bakers, Jen has posted some great recipes like Coconut Marshmallows, Key Lime Mousse Cake, Starbucks Chocolate Espresso Caramel Latte Cupcakes (say that ten times fast!), and tutorials like How to Make a Pie Crust.

Please visit Jen at Hope Studios and say hello - tell her Marzipan sent you! (Although she probably sent many of you to me!) Hi Jen!

Coconut Cupcakes (see original post here)
from Baked, New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes 24 cupcakes

It's a long recipe, but they are so worth the effort!

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!)

6 comments:

  1. Aw, I'm smiling and I might have a little tear in my eye! Love ya :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. These cupcakes look wonderful! My husband and kids do not like coconut, but I love it and may have to make these just for myself! ;-)

    Love Jennifer Juniper -- her work and her blog is the best!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Found you awhile ago through JJ's blog.
    And these cupcakes look delicious! I am a sucker for coconut! Will have to make some of these! Oh, and the choc. mint cupcakes you posted awhile ago, if I haven't already told you... SO YUMMY!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love coconut so I think I'm drooling after reading those ingredients. I found you on Dessert Stalking and I'm so glad I did!

    ReplyDelete
  5. These cupcakes are beautiful!!!

    ReplyDelete

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