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Coconut Cupcakes: an Updated Classic

July 27, 2015

Some notes about this recipe.

First, the cupcakes themselves are extremely tender. For that reason, it’s important to use baking cups in the cupcake pans. You’ll be very glad you did.

Second, coconut cupcakes are supposed to be super sweet. And these are, despite using unsweetened coconut. If you haven’t used unsweetened coconut before, again, you’ll be glad you did here.

Third, the frosting is unusual — not just your basic butter & confectioners sugar. Drained coconut milk solids & sour cream are unusual twists, and are well worth trying.

Last, I recently started using double strength vanilla. It’s not necessary, you can use classic vanilla in the exact same amounts. But double strength adds a depth of flavor that really enhances baking.

You’ll Need:

For the cupcakes —

3 cups sifted cake flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups sugar

2/3 cup butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp double strength vanilla

1/8 tsp coconut extract

1/8 tsp almond extract

1 1/4 cups milk

Cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners

For the frosting —

1/3 cup of the solids (approximately half the can ) from a 14 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk, drained over a fine mesh strainer for approximately 2 hours, until only the solid remains

1/3 cup sour cream

1 stick butter, softened

1 box confectioners sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp double strength vanilla

1/8 tsp lemon extract

1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut


1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2.  Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3.  Cream the sugar and butter together until light & fluffy.

5.  Add the eggs, vanilla & extracts & beat well.

6.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition.

7.  Continue beating one additional minute.

8.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pans.

9.  Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean.

10. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes.

11.  Then remove the cupcakes in their liners & cool completely on a metal rack while you make the frosting.

12.  Cream the butter & coconut milk solids.

13.  Add the sour cream & continue beating.

14.  Add the vanilla, lemon extract & salt & continue beating.

15.  Add half the confectioners sugar & beat again. Then add the rest of the confectioners sugar & beat until frosting is thick, smooth & spreadable.

16.  Put the unsweetened coconut in a shallow wide mouthed bowl.

17.  Frost each cupcake, then dip it frosting side down into the bowl of coconut, covering the frosting completely.

Makes 24 cupcakes

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