Friday, July 31, 2009

Cupcake Friday! Coconut Cupcakes

I hadn't quite planned on returning to a Martha recipe quite so soon, but this coconut cupcake has been calling me since the first time I cracked the binding on the book. I think I might have mentioned once (or maybe twelve times) that I love coconut! Bob however, is lukewarm about it. So when I was deciding which cupcakes to make during June he encouraged me to try more unique ones.

But he's out of town while I'm making these so I am going for it! Besides, I know my husband. When he gets home and sees these cupcakes sitting on the counter he will not be able to resist! The man is a cookie/cupcake monster!

This is one of Martha's more straightforward recipes. I do have to come clean with you though and admit that I didn't feel like lugging out my big food processor for the coconut, so I just used my little Black & Decker chop chop. The coconut wasn't ground as finely as it would have been if done in the big boy, but it was good enough for me. Other than that I followed the recipe exactly.

The result? Absolutely wonderful!

My experience has been that coconut cakes are generally rather dense cakes. Not the case here at all. The cake in these is light and airy. It baked up perfectly and didn't sink in the middle. They were beautiful.

And may I just say here that there was one cupcake that was just begging to be eaten before it was iced. It was just crying out to me! What could I do? In the interest of full disclosure, and the absence of my primary cupcake tester, I ate it. Oh yeah. This was one good cupcake. Mmmm. And this without any icing! Talk to me, Martha.

One odd thing about this recipe was that it says it makes about 20 cupcakes. I came out with 24 full size cupcakes and 18 mini cupcakes. Go figure.

Coconut Cupcakes
from: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Makes about 20

1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 & 1/3 cups sugar
2 large whole eggs plus 2 egg whites, room temperature
1 & 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Seven-Minute Frosting (coconut variation)
1 & 1/3 cups unsweetened flaked coconut, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse shredded coconut in a food processor until finely ground, and whisk into flour mixture.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in whole eggs, whites, and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of coconut milk, and beating until combined after each.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; turn out cupcakes onto wire racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread a generous dome of frosting onto each cupcake, and, if desired, garnish with flaked coconut (press gently to adhere). Cupcakes are best eaten the day they're frosted; store at room temperature until ready to serve.

Seven Minute Frosting

1 & 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature

1. Combine 1 & 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring until syrup reaches 230 degrees F.

2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.

3. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees F, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

Coconut Variation: Add 1/2 teaspoon pure coconut extract at the end of step 3, whisking to combine.

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