So coconut is used a lot around this time of year on cakes and cupcakes and things because of its resemblance to snow. Which is kind of ironic and funny considering it grows only in a warm-weather climate such as South Asia or Hawaii. But it is very useful in simulating snow for snowman cupcakes or what have you, plus it just tastes so damn yummy. Being that Christmas is almost over (not quite over, since the real end of Christmas is Little Christmas on January 6th) and theres over a month ’till the next holiday, I decided to make some wintery cupcakes. I had these cute little blue and white snowflake liners that Yoyo sent me and they were just perfect for these. Oh- and speaking of Yoyo, she just got a brand new domain, topstitch.org, so go send her love and add her to your blogroll!
I’ve made this recipe before and its huge. Huge meaning tons of butter and tons of eggs. So if you wish to halve the recipe, by all means do it. I did that myself not only for the mere fact that it makes a buttload of cupcakes that I didn’t need (half the recipe makes about 20 cupcakes… seriously), but also because it fully depletes the butter stash and seriously damages my egg stash. HOWEVER… despite all that, let me just say that its been said these are “the best cupcakes ever.” Really. If you don’t like coconut you’re missing out because these babies are fantabulous.
I didn’t use the cream cheese frosting on these, instead I made a coconut buttercream frosting using my new Watkins extracts (and also because I’m not a big fan of cream cheese frosting myself). But if you’d like to get the original cream cheese frosting recipe made just for these, follow your nose here and get it. I also tinted the coconut a little bit blue before I topped the cakes, and the directions for that are as follows (beneath the recipe). But other ideas for topping these are: snowflake sprinkles, blue sugar crystals, snowflake toppers, snowflake cookies, or snowmen made of marshmallow to name a few.
- ¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature (I used large, not extra large, and thats fine)
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure almond extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (regular salt is fine too)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
- Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
- Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup shortening
- 4-5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 3 tsp. coconut extract*
- 4 tbsp. milk
- Cream the butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl.
- Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk, coconut extract and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. *Add more or less coconut extract if needed, depending on taste.
- If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.
If you wanna dye the coconut like I did, which would be really cute for many different types of themed cupcakes, its really simple. There are two ways:
- You can use wet (liquid) food coloring to tint coconut. Place the coconut in a large bowl, sprinkle some food coloring, being careful not to add too much as you can always add more. Wearing gloves, toss the mixture until uniform in color. If you don’t wear gloves, good luck with looking like you’re turning into Violet Beauregarde or a smurf for a week.
- A less messy way: you can use the same type of food coloring, except put the coconut and the food coloring in a Ziplock baggie, and shake until uniformly colored.
Ta-da! I recommend liquid food coloring, not gel or paste, as its easier to blend with the coconut. But if thats all you have, its easy enough to add a drop or two of water to it to make it liquid before mixing. Then just dump the colored coconut in a bowl, and dunk and gently roll each cupcake in it to coat the frosting.