COCONUT CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING — BECAUSE WE ALL NEED A LITTLE JOY
A few years ago, cupcakes were a somewhat fashionable dessert. The internet was awash in cupcake concoctions. And then, just like that, they were gone. Their short-lived heyday was over. But who doesn’t love a cupcake? They are less fussy to assemble than layer cakes and are convenient individual portions.
Almond Joy candy bars serve as the inspiration for these cupcakes. The cake recipe comes from the baking goddess Claire Saffitz. It’s a fabulous coconut cake because it doesn’t rely on extract, which often tastes like a cartoon version of coconut. Instead, coconut oil and coconut milk bring a more natural flavor to the party. And, of course, the toasted coconut flakes are the icing on the cake.
2 cups cake flour (240 grams)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (see note)
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, room temperature
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅔ cup unsweetened full-fat coconut milk, well shaken
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (1 package)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (113 grams)
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225 grams powdered sugar
170 grams unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place 12 cupcake liners in a cupcake pan and set aside.
Sprinkle the shredded coconut on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5 minutes, until it is golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt to combine.
In a large bowl combine the butter, coconut oil and sugar and mix with a hand mixer on high (or use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.) Beat until the butter is fluffy, around 4 or 5 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time. Make sure the egg is fully incorporated after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure you didn’t miss any spots, and that everything is well mixed.
Now, you will alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry. With the mixer on low, add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix until you don’t see any dry spots of four. Next, add half the coconut milk and mix until combined. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add the rest of the coconut milk, mix, and then add the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Switch to a rubber spatula and finish mixing by hand. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the very bottom of the bowl. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
Measure 1/3 cup of batter and spoon into a cupcake paper liner. Repeat with the other cupcake liners until all the batter is used up. You don’t want the cupcake liners to be any more than 2/3 full.
Place the cupcake tin into the oven and bake for 18-25 minutes until the cupcakes are golden brown and domed.
Remove the cupcakes from the cupcake tin and let them cool on a wire rack. Resist the urge to frost the cupcake before they are fully cool.
To make the chocolate cream cheese frosting
- Combine the cream cheese and butter and mix with a hand mixer on medium-high, or use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Add the vanilla and salt and mix.
- Add the powdered sugar and start the mixer on low, so the sugar doesn’t fly around.
- Mix until the sugar is fully incorporated.
- Add the cooled, melted chocolate and mix until combined.
Spread some frosting on each cupcake using an offset spatula or just a butter knife. Then top each cupcake with the toasted coconut and place one almond in the center.
Note: if you use Morton’s Kosher salt, use only 1/2 teaspoon.
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