Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cake #30: Coconut Cupcakes with Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting

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.

Coconut Cupcakes 

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I originally made the frosting suggested in the recipe and it had a nasty taste to it so I doctored it up with a few more ingredients and it was much improved.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.


Eileen Bergen said...

Those look sooo decadent and absolutely scrumptious.

I appreciate all the tips you add to your recipes.

Substitutes in the kitchen? I love 'em and use 'em all the time.
Whatever works ...

Dot said...

I've never heard of making cake flour with cornstarch, but cake flour is just a different kind of flour with different properties. It has less protein, and therefore less glutin which results in tender cakes.

I do know you can't necessarily sub regular flour into an at an exact 1 to 1 ratio (i think you use a little less if you're using regular flour - i'm sure the amount can be found via google). You won't get exactly the same results but most applications should still work.

Looks delish by the way (except for the coconut part!)


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I want some of STAT.

I love how you packaged them in the jar!