It was just about five years ago that I became interested in cupcakes, and baking in general. A cute, fun cupcake shop opened up near Southpark Mall, and a college friend and I stopped there for a treat all the time. My favorite cupcake from Polka Dot was a Pina Colada cupcake, and five years later I've still yet to taste one that I've loved as much.
The first cupcake I ever made from scratch was the Barefoot Contessa's coconut cupcake. I made it for my BFF's bridal shower. After that, I was hooked on baking from scratch. The difference in flavor between homemade cupcakes and cake from a boxed mix was crazy. Every once in a while I do still use a box. I used a boxed mix for Graham's birthday cake, because it's what he wanted. And I do love doctoring up cake mixes... sometimes you end up with something epic (like the banana pudding cupcakes). But for the most part I bake from scratch.
Anyways. This weekend was the nationwide Food Blogger Bake Sale to benefit Share our Strength. It's kind of cool that the first year that I was in Arkansas, was also the first year there was a bake sale. I've baked cupcakes for all three events, and I'm going to miss it next year. Hopefully I can find a bake sale in Virginia to take part in... or maybe even start one myself.
This is such a fantastic cause, and it's so satisfying to do something I love (like baking) and knowing that it's helping my community.
Thanks to Christie for taking on the responsibility of coordinating and running this event for the past three years, thanks to all of the local bakers (professional & amateurs) who donated their time and their delicious items, and thanks to everyone who came out in the crappy weather on Saturday to purchase something.
This year, I went back to my baking roots and made the very first cupcake I ever made from scratch: a coconut cupcake. Only I took it a step further and filled it with a coconut infused whipped cream. These were every bit as good as I remembered them, and a whole lot easier to make five years and about 7,000 cupcakes later =)
Coconut Cream Cupcakes
(Recipe adapted from Ina Garten)
- 3 sticks of salted butter; room temperature
- 2 C. of sugar
- 5 extra large eggs
- 2 T. of coconut extract
- 3 C. of all purpose flour
- 1 t. of baking powder
- 1/2 t. of baking soda
- 1 C. of buttermilk
- 14 ounces of shredded coconut; divided.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line 2 muffin pans with liners & set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer & using the paddle attachment, cream the sugar & butter together on high speed until light & fluffy (about five minutes).
- Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the coconut extract and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda & baking powder. Add a third of this mixture to the eggs/butter/sugar mixture, and then add half of the buttermilk. Do this until flour & buttermilk are gone, starting & ending with the flour.
- Fold in 7 ounces of the coconut.
- Fill the cupcake liners to the top (the batter should be very thick) and bake for 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, and then remove to a baking rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, use a paring knife or an apple corer to remove some of the middle of the cupcake.
- 1/2 C. of heavy cream
- 1/4 C. of powdered sugar
- 1 T. of coconut extract
- In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) beat whipping cream with a whisk or whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.
- Mix in the powdered sugar.
- Fill the cavity in the cupcake with the whipped cream.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6-7 C. of powdered sugar
- 2 8 oz. packages of softened cream cheese
- 4 T. of unsalted, room temperature butter
- 3 T. of shortening
- 4 T. of heavy cream
- 1 T. of coconut extract
- 7 ounces of shredded coconut
- Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast lightly in oven.
- Cream together cream cheese, butter & shortening.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar.
- Add in heavy cream and coconut extract and mix well.
- Remove coconut from the oven and let cool.
- Pipe (or spread) frosting on cupcakes (covering the whipped cream filled cavity) and then sprinkle on the (cooled!) toasted coconut.