I've never attempted a coconut cake before and surely not one that calls for six egg whites, but this recipe looked very appealing and I had cake flour left from the lime cupcakes so I thought, why not?
A word about cake flour: my understanding is that it is something you can whip up in your kitchen by combining 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch. This is done simply by putting the measured cornstarch in the bottom of your one cup measure and then topping it off with flour.
But recently I've seen a bevy of recipes calling for "true" or "purchased" cake flour and following with the note, "not just mixed cornstarch and flour" so I wonder if us home bakers have had it wrong all these years or if it's a marketing ploy. Thoughts?
The cupcakes are stellar. They have a pure "cake" flavor for a top-note that dissipates into coconut. Yum! And the crumb of the cake is quite different from anything I've made; it's light with very small crumbs like an angel food or chiffon cake but it's dense.
The flavor of the frosting reminds me of a very nuanced dark chocolate cheese cake with a hint of mocha. Did you know that whether you like coffee of not, you should always add a little bit to chocolate dishes (I dissolve instant coffee in a little liquid) because it develops and amplifies the flavor of the chocolate?
These cupcakes were a big hit. We'll make them again. The only step I'll leave out is the dipping of the tops - it made no noticeable difference in flavor or texture.
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons coconut milk, divided
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
Mocha Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:
I originally made the frosting suggested in the recipe and it had a nasty taste to it so I doctored it up with a few more ingredients and it was much improved. Excuse the lack of proper measurements.
2 sticks of butter
1 8 oz package of 1/3 less fat (or regular) cream cheese
3-4 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 cup (or more) cocoa powder (to taste)
1 TBL instant coffee mixed into 2 TBL hot water (use as much or as little as you'd like)
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups large-flake unsweetened coconut, toasted
1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Add egg whites, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add extracts; beat well.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with 1 cup coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.
3. Divide batter evenly among 18 paper-lined cups of muffin pans. Bake at 350° for 20 to 23 minutes or until batter is set but centers of cupcakes still look slightly wet. (Do not overcook.) Cool in pans 10 minutes; transfer to wire racks.
4. Combine amaretto liqueur and remaining 3 tablespoons coconut milk (or a little more, it won't hurt); stir well. Dip cupcake tops in this mixture then cool completely.
5. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with or roll/dip in with toasted coconut.
From: Coastal Living APRIL 2010
And here they are ready to share. I used the remaining toasted large flake coconut as cushion between layers to help them not stick together.