These coconut cupcakes were a perfect addition to the desserts I brought down to the Outer Banks with us. The buttercream has a hint of lime in it, which compliments the coconut perfectly and adds that bit of a tropical flair to it – very beachy. These were also a hit; there was lots of discussion over who liked which cupcakes – these or the strawberry ones – the best!
For the cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (14 oz.) granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
3 cups (12.75 oz.) flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
7 oz. sweetened, shredded coconut
For the frosting:
- 9 oz. unsweetened coconut milk (from a can)
- 4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- zest of 2 medium limes
- juice of 1 lime
- 6 cups (1.5 lbs) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- additional sweetened, shredded coconut as garnish
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Turning the mixer to low, add in the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, vanilla extract and almond extract.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. After each addition, mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the shredded coconut.
Divide the batter amongst the paper liners, filling each about 3/4 full (you will likely have batter left after filling 24 wells). Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Re-line and fill the pans with the remaining batter and bake as above.
To make the frosting, heat the coconut milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, reducing the coconut milk, for about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for about 30-60 minutes, allowing the coconut milk to thicken some.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cooled coconut milk on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the lime zest and juice of 1 lime and continue to mix.
Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat for about 5 minutes, or until the buttercream has reached the desired texture, scraping down the bowl as needed. As you continue to beat the frosting, you may find that the lime zest collects on the whisk. If this occurs, just scrape down the whisk with a rubber spatula and stir to combine into the frosting.
Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. If desired, toast additional sweetened, shredded coconut in a nonstick pan over medium-low heat, until golden brown and fragrant. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the frosted cupcakes.
Yield: about 30 cupcakes