Monday, January 11, 2010

MSCC | Coconut Cupcakes

When I was in elementary school, I think it might have been 3rd grade, my teacher made us crack open a coconut and drink fresh coconut milk. That experience turned me away from coconut for a good fifteen plus years. The only time I had coconut was when I had Thai food... you can't have good Thai food without coconut milk. But I never had coconut in it's pure form not even on desserts. Then one day, I think my sister, Jennifer convinced me to eat a bite of Chocolate Haupia Pie (a local favorite to those that live in Hawai'i). It was soo delicious and I learned to try other food items with coconut. I can honestly say that coconut desserts and coconut shrimp are high up on my list of favorite foods.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I learned that our recipe for the month would be the Coconut Cupcake recipe on page 28 of the Martha Stewart cupcake book. The recipe was fairly complex for just 20 cupcakes (we had to grind sweetened coconut flakes down to a flour like consistency)... but the result was fantastic! They were fantastic for one main reason, the different textures. The texture of the cake was different than most of my cakes, dense and some what grainy from the grounded coconut flakes. I used my Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe and then I topped the cupcakes with both toasted and non-toasted unsweetened coconut shavings. They were especially good in mini cupcake form where you can get all the different textures in one bite.

Ty and I were a little disappointed with the cake itself. We thought it lacked coconut flavor and a lot of coconut goes into the batter. Grounded coconut flakes and coconut milk, but yet the taste was subtle. I may try making my vanilla buttermilk recipe and adding some coconut extract next time... less work and less ingredients.

The recipe in the book calls for unsweetened coconut shavings, but I like toasted coconut shavings. So, I decided to toast some. I tried both versions and I think the toasted one was much better. Ty and my coworkers agreed that the toasted version was better (again, more textures and a slight crunch!). I prefer sweetened coconut flakes, so I may try that next time as well. On a side note: I have been bad these past couple months... my goal was to post something every week and I barely manage to post twice a month. I promise to be better! In fact, you'll see a new posting within a couple days, a Wizard of Oz cake.

Until next time, happy baking!