Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rum Coconut Cupcakes

I don't fancy myself much of a cupcake decorator, but I was pretty darn pleased with how these turned out. My inspiration came from Pinterest some weeks ago. Don't ask me where it was pinned from because I haven't the foggiest idea. These cupcakes would be a cute Easter dessert if you don't want to make a whole coconut cake.

Speaking of Easter, it's tomorrow. If you need a last-minute dish idea, how about Brie Bites for an appetizer? Or try Deviled Egg Salad for something a little different but just as scrumptious as the classic. Pineapple Souffle makes a lovely side dish for ham, as does Green Bean Casserole.

For the cakes: Eggs, butter, rum extract, coconut oil, buttermilk, baking soda, salt, baking powder, sugar, and cake flour.
 Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
Ah, it's lovely. Like freshly driven snow.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and coconut oil together. I went halvsies on the butter and coconut oil because I wanted the flavor of the butter in addition to the tender texture the coconut oil provides. Plus, these are coconut cupcakes.
Beat them til they're good and fluffy.
Add your eggs one at a time and beat them in thoroughly.
You're left with a velvety golden batter.
Give the rum extract a quick stir-in.
Now we alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat it on low until just incorporated.
Half the buttermilk goes in. Repeat until the flour has just been mixed in.
It's a thick, lightly colored cake batter with a bit of tang to it.
Into the cupcakes liners it goes.
 When you can handle them, pop them out of the tin and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
I had to show you the precious polky-dotted liners I got at Williams-Sonoma. I don't think they're available online but check your store!
While the cupcakes cool, toast some sweetened coconut flakes. Do not, I repeat, do not start an episode of Boardwalk Empire and almost burn your coconut. Not recommended.
I caught it in the nick of time. Toasty brown and making the house smell divine.
Rummy frosting. Don't let the picture fool you. I made more frosting than the picture shows, so follow the measurements in the recipe at the bottom. It's a pretty standard buttercream: Butter, powdered sugar, rum extract, green food coloring, and milk. You totally don't have to color the frosting if you don't want to. I made little birds' nests, but you could do a different color or leave it out altogether.
Butter gets creamed, and a little powdered sugar goes in the bowl. I recommend doing half a cup at a time and using a low speed. No matter how careful I am I always end up wearing a little sugar by the end.
For the first three cups of sugar, add a tablespoon of milk between each cup of the sugar. Then add the rum extract. Beat it in and add the last cup and a half of powdered sugar.
Now it's time to make our frosting go hulk on us. By that I mean green. Don't make your frosting angry.
You can add as much or as little to get the color you want. I thought this was a pretty shade of mint green.
Pipe on your frosting in whatever method you prefer. I used a star tip and a pastry bag, but you could use the end of a ziploc bag.  Or heck, just spread it on with a knife. No shame in that game. It doesn't have to be perfect because it'll get covered up with coconut anyways.
Once they're all frosted you can add the coconut.
I found the best method was just to sprinkle the coconut liberally over the cupcakes and press it in a little. If you're making the nests, make a little indentation in the middle with your finger for the eggs to sit in.
Y'all, I forgot how much I love these things! I've always loved malted milk anything, and these are so nostalgic. They bring back memories of Easter egg hunts at the beach and pink dresses.
The piece de resistance or what makes a nest a nest: three little eggs on top.
My sister said this is one of the only cupcakes she's had where she wanted to eat the frosting and the cupcake together instead of separately. I'm inclined to agree since it's in my favor. A bite of cupcake with the frosting and toasted coconut and maybe a malted milk ball might just send me over the edge. In a good way. Happy Easter, y'all! Or if you're making a seder, have a joyous Passover!

Rum Coconut Cupcakes (makes 12 cupcakes)

1 1/2 c cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Scant 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter (half a stick)
1/4 c coconut oil
3 large eggs
1 tbs rum extract
1/2 c buttermilk

Frosting & Topping:
3 c sweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 tbs milk
1 tbs rum extract
9-10 drops green food coloring (optional)
Robin eggs malted milk candy (optional)

  • Line a 12-cup tin with cupcake liners. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Combine sugar, butter, and coconut oil in a large bowl. Beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, combining thoroughly. Beat in rum extract. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low until just combined. Fill the liners 3/4 full. Put the tin in the oven and heat to 275º. Bake 45 minutes to an hour.
  • When cupcakes are cool enough to handle, pop them out of the tin and let them cool completely on a wire rack. While cupcakes cool, spread the coconut flakes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven on 350º for a few minutes. Toss the flakes to toast evenly. Take care not to burn the coconut. Remove when golden brown. Let cool.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar half a cup at a time. Beat in a tablespoon of milk after each cup of sugar.  Beat in rum extract.  Finally, add the food coloring if using. Pipe or spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle the cooled toasted coconut liberally over the cupcakes and gently press in to make it stick. Make an indentation in the middle to hold the candy if using. Eat and enjoy spring!

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