One might argue that the real cupcakes that started it all were the ones my mom and I would make for my birthday when I was a kid. We mixed up Betty Crocker’s finest yellow cake box mix, and then got to work dying a tub of frosting with different colors.
While making cupcakes with Wooden Nickels was a great start, I grew up and grew out of the baking aisle. At least, out of the part with the prefab boxes of cake mix. In what will forevermore be known as The Day That Changed My Life, I buckled and purchased The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. The world rejoiced. The angels sang. I had just added so much flavor to my life, and for only $35.00. How easy was that?
See what I did there?
One of the first recipes I made was coconut cupcakes. I know coconut is a polarizing addition to a baked good, but I love the stuff. Ina’s cupcakes are filled with about as much as you can add without having to call these macaroons. I’ve been making these at least once a year, for ten years. For someone who doesn’t often repeat recipes, that means these have been on repeat more than almost anything else I bake. And thus, a love of baking cupcakes was born. Or reborn.
But I haven’t blogged about them yet. Who am I? Here’s the recipe, with a couple minor tweaks I’ve come to love.
To make 30 cupcakes, you will need:
- 2 sticks butter at room temperature (do it!)
- 2 C sugar
- 5 extra large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 C flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 C buttermilk
- 7 oz. shredded coconut (1/2 of a 14 oz. bag)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the bowl as necessary. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and mix till combined.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. In three parts, alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix till just cominbed. Fold in coconut.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. These cupcakes don’t rise very much, so I fill them almost to the top. Bake 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
- 1 lb. cream cheese (2, 8 oz. packages), at room temperature
- 3 sticks unsalted butter (yes! more!) at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar, sifted (do it–no lumps allowed)
Mix all ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment till completely smooth. Frost cupcakes. If you’re going for a swirly look, there’s probably enough icing to pipe on. But I’ve always gone the coconut-dunked route.
For the topping:
- 14 oz. shredded coconut
Immediately after frosting, dunk cupcake in bowl of coconut. It will stick like glue. If you’re feeling blingy, dunk half of the cupcakes in clear sanding sugar.