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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes

Being a family of two (ok, four if you include the dogs) often lends itself to a certain lackluster around holidays. As each one comes along David and I debate what we actually want to celebrate. We are two adults who are not very attached to our traditions. Which means we get kind of creative when it comes to celebrating the holidays. We pick and choose what things we actually want to celebrate. In our case it means cutting out everything but the food! Since neither of us are terribly inclined to search for Easter eggs, our day was pretty uneventful.
Even though there was no conscious effort to celebrate the day, I couldn't resist picking up some yellow tulips from the grocery store on the way home Friday night. I was looking for Daffodils, but didn't find any. Then on Sunday the power of suggestion gave me a major craving for coconut cake. I didn't really want to make a whole three layer cake, but I thought maybe some cupcakes would be nice. I have to admit these cupcakes were far more involved than I originally thought they would be. They took the better part of my afternoon when all was said and done, but were they ever good. I can honestly say these are the best Coconut cupcakes I have ever tasted and I have tried a lot of them. If you don't feel like going through all the fuss, just the cake minus the frosting and filling was quite spectacular all on its own. I could actually see them on a brunch table, simple and unadorned.  If you want to take the time and go all out, you will certainly be rewarded.

Coconut Cupcakes
adapted from Alpineberry

Coconut Pastry Cream Filling:
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons coconut rum
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Coconut Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 ounces (1.5 sticks / 12 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temp
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp coconut rum
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (1 stick / 8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup coconut pastry cream (see above), cold
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup toasted coconut for decorating (optional)

Make the pastry cream filling:Combine the whole milk, coconut milk and vanilla bean and scraped vanilla seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer.
Whisk together the yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Remove vanilla bean from warm milk. Slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture then return the mixture to the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened. Scrape the mixture into a clean bowl and whisk in the rum and vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.

Make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 16 standard muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
About a tablespoon at a time, add the eggs. Continue beating until mixture is light in color about take 3-4 minutes.
Reduce speed to low. In 3 additions, add the flour mixture alternating with 2 additions of the coconut milk and buttermilk. Add the rum and vanilla and beat until smooth. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the shredded coconut.
Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake at 350F until  a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Make the frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, coconut pastry cream,  and vanilla extract on low speed. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and mix until just smooth . Continue to add (one tablespoon at a time) up to one additional cup of powdered sugar until desired consistency is reach.

Fill and frost:
Remove existing cupcake liners from the cupcakes. Using a pastry bag, insert the tip into the bottom of your cupcake and pipe the pastry cream into the center until you feel the cupcake puff up slightly. Drop into a new liner.
Frost your filled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to three days.


  1. These look delicious - thanks for sharing them with us.

  2. Absolutely lickable! Can't wait to try these for myself!

  3. Hello fabulous! These look delicious! What a beautiful pic!

  4. Saw this on Sweets for a Saturday - I love coconut! These look delicious.

  5. These sound delicious. Coconut Pastry Cream - Yum!

  6. Oh, these are so pretty! I love cupcakes.

    I'd love to have you share this recipe on my weekly link-up, Sweet Tooth Friday. I hope to see you there.

  7. Oh yummy! I can almost taste them now! Please share your delicious recipe with our readers by linking it up at Muffin (and Cupcake) Monday. Thanks!

  8. Mmm, biting into one of these would make me so happy. Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday.


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