Does anyone else get stage-fright when it's their turn in line at a coffee shop? As soon as I'm up, I can't remember the name or size of the drink I wanted, even though I had it all rehearsed as I was waiting. There is always a pregnant pause when I'm asked for my order, and I always end up saying something stupid by using ambiguous adjectives like 'medium', and 'cappuccino'. What makes it even worse is knowing that I used to work in a coffee shop. I'm guessing it's empathy pains, or karma.
My default drink is a coconut latte. It's easy enough to blurt out, and once we're passed the size fiasco, I'm quite content in inhaling it. It's so good in fact, that every time I have one, I crave coconut cupcakes (for me, everything eventually comes back to food.) And yes, despite the fact that everyone I know is insane for not liking coconut, I still made these without the guilt of knowing that I'd more than likely have to eat them all myself...this lasted through the first bite. Unless I wanted to undo years of pilates and numerous embarrassing yoga poses, they had to be shared. Even the haters ended up loving these! They're moist, sweet (but not cloyingly so), and they're cupcakes. Who can look at a cupcake and not want to eat it? If you run into someone who absolutely cannot stand coconut, they should be able to pick out the flakes without too much difficulty - as you point and laugh at them.
Coconut Cupcakes (adapted from Ina Garten)
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 pound ( that's 3 sticks), of unsalted, room temperature Butter
2 cups of sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 cup of buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound ( that's 3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners (this recipe makes about 18-19 cupcakes.) Set the pans aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes.)
Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (be sure the scape down the sides of the bowl as needed.) Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined.
Fold in about half of the coconut (just about 7 oz.)
Fill each liner to just slightly below the top.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.[Note: mine were done in about 23 minutes, so keep an eye on them.]
Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
Remove to a baking rack and cool completely before frosting.
Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and both extracts.
Slowly, at about 1/2 cup at a time, add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
Once all the sugar has been added, crank up the speed a bit and beat until well combined.
If you want, you may add the rest of the coconut directly into the frosting, or just sprinkle it on top. It's a win-win either way.
Frost the cupcakes as desired!
Makes 18-19 cupcakes