Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes

While out on the trail last week with my friend, Lisa, we spotted a runner with a sizable tattoo of Burt Reynolds on his back. "Burt Reynolds: resplendent with mustache," as Lisa said.

I was reminded of that this morning when my sister told me about a conversation she had with her hilarious 10-yr-old son. It went like this:

Skyler: "Something weird is that I am growing a mustache and a unibrow."
My Sister: (laughing)
Skyler: "I've always wanted a mustache. "
My Sister: "And the unibrow? "
Skyler : "... The unibrow was a surprise."

Her kids spout gems like that all the time. Anyway, Burt Reynolds.... I can think of a LOT of people who I'd prioritize over Burt Reynolds. I mean, there are a lot of people who I'd be less likely to have tattooed on myself, as well, like Charles Manson and Nicki Minaj. But still. Either way, I have to admit that as perplexed as I was, I was equally amused, and maybe that was the point.

This has zero to do with these cupcakes, but... it couldn't be helped.

Okay. On to pretty, fluffy cupcakes. First, while I'm calling these "Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes" I should let you know that the cupcakes themselves are actually quite dense and moist. They also aren't going to be the sweetest cakes you'll have had, (which is one of the reasons Shawn likes these so much.) However, the frosting has a very full, rich, nicely sweet flavor, and is quite pillowy. The combination of the cakes and frosting is quite nice. BUT, if you know you're going to want a lighter, sweeter cake, I recommend using this "Signature Yellow Cake" recipe by Flo Braker. But I'd try the ones I'm about to give you if I were you. :)
Vanilla Cupcakes
adapted slightly from this recipe by Martha Stewart

Yield: 20 cupcakes


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated; scrape down sides of bowl, and beat in vanilla.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, 16-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Check at 16 minutes and stick one with a fork if you're unsure. It should come out clean or with light, dry crumbs on it. Rotate the pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.

NOTES: You will not need this much frosting for the cupcakes. You may be able to get away with as little as half the frosting. But, still use the full amount of coconut.
Simple Buttercream For Cupcakes
adapted from this recipe by Martha Stewart Yield: 5 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large handfuls of sweetened coconut shavings, toasted.
2 large handfuls of sweetened coconut shavings, toasted. (5 minutes in a single layer on a baking sheet at 300 degrees should do it. You want some flakes to be golden and some to still be white. Check frequently!)

In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, whisk sugar and egg whites until warm and sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. If using a stand mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment. Beat mixture on medium speed until completely cooled and stiff peaks have formed, about 10 minutes.
Add butter, a few tablespoons at a time; beat until combined. Add vanilla and salt; beat on low speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.

To Assemble:
Simply lather the top of the cupcakes generously, so that your cakes look like they're donning the frosting equivalent of a shower cap. Put the toasted coconut in a small bowl or plate. Very gently roll the frosted portion of the cupcake into the coconut and then sprinkle a little extra on top for good measure. Eat with a glass of cold milk in the Summer or a mug of Classic Hot Chocolate in the Winter.


  1. Hahahaha! I love that he chose Burt Reynolds! These cupcakes look amazing!

  2. Thanks for making these amazing cupcakes. They were my favorite.