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Coconut Cupcakes

February 18, 2011

Much like the kid on the playground who always gets picked last for dodge ball, coconut cupcakes are left standing alone on the platter, always the last one chosen.  Let’s face it, coconut has some pretty serious competition in the realm of cupcakes where chocolate and vanilla will always reign supreme.  It’s my personal opinion that people have been force fed too much bad coconut flavor out there.  You know the kind…dry, overly sweet, with that inside chewy texture that always get stuck in your teeth.  I was even one of the throngs who loudly protested against all things coconut.  But somewhere along the road of seven layer magic bars and german chocolate cake I quietly tiptoed to the other side and have become quite the fan of good coconut.

I have to thank my awesome taste-testers profusely for this one.  I couldn’t have done it without you!  It was an Ina and Martha show-down and Martha was the very clear cut winner (I don’t know why I ever doubt her though).  This coconut cupcake is light, fluffy and has a delicate coconut flavor, and when paired with my coconut cream cheese icing it becomes a delectable delight!  (I’m trying to see how many “d” adjectives I can fit in one sentence 🙂 )

Sift together the dry ingredients

Cream the butter

Add sugar, flavoring, and flour

Separate eggs in a large bowl

Beat egg whites until stiff and glossy

Fold egg whites into batter


until golden

Cool on a wire rack

Frost to your liking….only 12 got to have this much icing, oh and yes, that is my totally awesome soap dispenser in the background!

the rest look like this 🙂

This icing will not be stiff enough to make a more decorated top

so they got little wrappers instead.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Icing
(Cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart and can be found here)


3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut milk
8 large egg whites

1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon coconut milk (or heavy cream)


1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).  Line cupcake pan with liners and set aside.  MS says it makes 24 cupcakes, I got 35.  So start with two pans and you may need to re-use one.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add in shredded coconut and toss to coat. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, or standing mixer, cream the butter.  Add 2 cups sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla.  With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk and beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat just until combined, scraping sides of the bowl periodically.  Set aside.  (If using your standing mixer, transfer batter to another bowl-you’ll need your standing mixer for the egg whites.)

4. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy.  With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.

5. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 cup batter. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto rack; then reinvert and let cool completely, top sides up.

6. For the Frosting: In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter.  Add vanilla, almond and coconut extracts, mix until combined.  Beat in sugar, 1 cup at a time until frosting is creamy.  Beat in the coconut milk.  If the frosting is too runny, add more sugar, alternately if it is too stiff, add more milk.  In my experience, this won’t get stiff enough to pipe flowers or designs (unless you add obscene amounts of sugar and lose the cream cheese taste!).  You can also add toasted, shredded coconut to the top.

Frost and enjoy!

~can imagine enjoying them in an equally delicately decorated room~
yes, I’m still in my pink phase, this one is from House Beautiful

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