Coconut Cream Cupcakes

Lately, I've been having a streak of recipe failures. Normally, I'm okay with a failed recipe or two (and even then once every blue moon). After I stop whining and complaining (kicking, screaming, crying), I find there's usually something to learn. Maybe I didn't have the right ratio of flour to fats. Maybe I substituted an ingredient I really shouldn't have. There are dozens of things that could have gone wrong and it's my job as the baker/detective to sort it out. I'm okay with solving baking crimes (well, it is a crime to see good food go to waste!). What I'm not okay with is a failed recipe where there was nothing to learn and I have no idea what went wrong.

That just makes me mad.


In the past week, I've had four recipes go sour. Four. I didn't share my lemon mousse with the texture verging on cottage cheese. I chose not to show you my coffee poached pears with the nightmare coffee caramel sauce. I even tried steaming some vegetables with a little vinegar and only ended up with a home that reeked of Little House on the Prairie. It's been a bad week for my kitchen. It's been a blow to my culinary confidence. I'm almost nervous to try something new for fear it will end up in the trash (again).

But these coconut cream cupcakes? These broke that awful streak (thank goodness). I honestly can't think of a change I'd do to make these better. These are just perfect.

These coconut cream cupcakes are reminiscent of a coconut cream pie. The cupcake is a traditional vanilla cupcake absolutely infused with coconut, including coconut milk and flaked coconut mixed throughout. If that isn't good enough, these cupcakes are then filled with a toasted coconut cream. Toasted coconut. They are finally topped with a vanilla whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted coconut. These are addictive and so delicious. If you love coconut, you need to make these.

I should have called them Coconut Dream Cupcakes.

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

Yields 12 cupcakes

Coconut Cupcake
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line or grease a cupcake tin.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, flaked coconut, and baking powder. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Alternatively add the flour mixture and coconut milk to the wet ingredients, blending until smooth after each addition.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling.

Toasted Coconut Filling
1/2 cup coconut cream (not coconut milk!)
1 cup toasted coconut flakes (to toast coconut yourself, bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 7-11 minutes, or until coconut is lightly browned)

In a small bowl, mix together the coconut cream and toasted coconut. Set aside.

Whipped Cream Frosting
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar

Beat together the heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar until soft peaks form.

To assemble
Take a cupcake and, using a sharp knife, cut out a cavity in the center of the cupcake. I run the knife in a circular motion, while always pointing the knife towards the center of the cupcake. The cavity should be coned shaped. Alternatively, you can use a cupcake corer if you have one. Spoon the filling into the cupcake until the filling just reaches the top. Cut off the interior of the cupcake you've removed and place back on the top, pressing down so it becomes flush with the cupcake.

Pipe or spread the whipped cream frosting on top of the cupcakes. Sprinkle with extra toasted coconut flakes. Enjoy!