Happy winter solstice!! Can you believe that the end of the year is upon us? I'm a Christmas freak so I'm loving all of the holiday decorations around town. If I had my way, I'd have an entire room in my house dedicated to year-round Christmas decorations. Yes, I'm a nut.
We like to do a small potluck and white elephant gift exchange at work, and this year I decided that coconut cupcakes would be a nice winter-y looking dessert to have. This recipe is originally from Bon Appetit, and while I love the recipe, there are a couple things I would do differently. First, the cupcakes rise far more than your typical cupcake, so next time I'll fill the cups just under half full (making 24 cupcakes as opposed to the original recipe's suggested 18). Also, the frosting recipe was only enough to frost 12 cupcakes with a pastry bag, so I'll definitely be doubling.
The secret to this recipe is the reduced coconut milk. It keeps the cake soft and makes the icing melt-in-your-mouth silky. Seriously, I could sit and eat the frosting with a spoon and be perfectly happy. Maybe with a drizzle of chocolate ganache... or a sprinkle of cocoa... ooohh or toasted coconut and shaved dark chocolate...
What were we talking about??
Oh, yes - the cupcakes!
The reduced coconut milk can be made a couple days in advance (so convenient!) and kept in the fridge. In fact, you could make the whole works in advance and keep the frosted cupcakes in the fridge overnight if needed. Make sure you bring them to room temperature prior to serving. Decorate as you see fit - I chose edible glitter to look like snow for my wintery cupcakes. :) Enjoy!
Source: Bon Appetit1 1/2 c reduced coconut milk (instructions below)
2 c AP flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 c sugar
3 large eggs
Seeds from 1 split vanilla bean (alternately: 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 c reduced coconut milk
Coconut Frosting1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
1/3 c reduced coconut milk
Seeds from 1 split vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/8 tsp salt
Toasted coconut (optional - garnish)
For the reduced coconut milk...To reduce coconut milk, pour two 13.5 ounce cans of coconut milk into a medium saucepan and heat on medium high heat. Bring to a boil (watch it - it'll boil up) and reduce heat slightly. Allow to boil 25-30 minutes until reduced and syrup-y. Cool completely. (Can be made two days in advance. Keep chilled.)
For the cupcakes...
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with baking cups and set aside. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl. Meanwhile, beat butter with electric mixer until smooth. Add in sugar and beat until well mixed. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, and beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Beat in seeds from vanilla bean and remaining egg. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low until just combined. Pour in one cup of reduced coconut milk and blend until just mixed. Add remaining flour and mix. Divide the batter among the cups and bake approx. 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in baking pans and then carefully remove to cool completely.
For the frosting...
Beat butter until smooth using an electric mixer. Add in sifted powdered sugar, 1/3 cup of reduced coconut milk, seeds from vanilla bean and salt. Mix all ingredients well until light and fluffy. Transfer to a pastry bag and decorate as desired. (Can be made a day in advance. Keep chilled. Bring to room temp prior to decorating.)