Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Coconut cupcakes 9

I’ve recently developed quite an affinity for coconut, ever since I used it in truffles. I always used to underestimate its taste but I’m now a firm (actually, somewhat flabby) believer. I had some desiccated coconut in the cupboard so I modified my traditional vanilla cupcake and cream cheese frosting recipe to accommodate coconut flakes and coconut milk and the result was amazeballs! These cupcakes are smooth, moist and the perfect balance of flavours. You don’t want them to be too vanilla-y or almond-y because the coconut will go unnoticed, and similarly, you don’t want them to the coconut to overpower the other flavours. This recipe incorporates all of those flavours and brings everything together with a light and fluffy creamy frosting that will leave you wanting more.

Coconut Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 -16
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Coconut cupcakes 1Stuff coconut dreams are made of:

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • ½ cup coconut milk (+ 2 tablespoons for frosting)
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut (+ another ½ cup for frosting)

Making it happen:

Coconut cupcakes 31. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides when needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well mixed, again scraping down the sides. Add the vanilla paste (or essence) and almond essence and stir until combined.

Coconut cupcakes 42. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In three stages, add the dry ingredients and coconut milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry, mixing until just combined. Add the desiccated coconut.

 

Coconut cupcakes 53. Pour the batter into 12 individually lined muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clear.

 

 

Coconut cupcakes 6Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 100g butter, room temperature
  • 150g plain cream cheese, also room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Coconut cupcakes 71. Cut the butter into small cubes and allow to reach room temperature. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on high until light and fluffy, 3 – 4 minutes. Add the coconut milk and beat only until it’s fully mixed, about 5 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Coconut cupcakes 82. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla essence and almond essence and give the frosting one last beat. Ice the cupcakes and generously sprinkle desiccated coconut over them.  

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

These brownies have saved my hide a few times when, say, the ‘rents decide to pop in and end up staying for dinner or friends come over for a quick chat and cuppa which turns into an all-day and all-night event. Lovely though it is to spend time with these special people, I’ve often found myself in an “oh no, what do I make for pudding?” predicament. Enter this recipe.

Ingredients for chocolate brownies. You can substitute the vanilla paste with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Ingredients for chocolate brownies. You can substitute the vanilla paste with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

It’s easy and not very time consuming at all. The reason I’m able to whip it up with short-to-no notice is because these ingredients are always in my cupboard, and probably yours too. I also often make this when I’m cooking a very time-consuming main course. I usually make the brownies first and get it out of the way before tackling the several-hours-long mains.

Some brownies are too sweet and rich (is there such a thing?) but not this. The creamy chocolate-y-ness (that should really be a word; can you imagine the Scrabble points?) is just right. In fact, you can even serve it with ice cream. Some puddings make you feel uncomfortable, some even ill, but you can happily make this without worrying about that.

Here’s a tip. Initially I made the chocolate sauce (so easy; two ingredients, some heat and you’re done) when I was ready to serve dessert. What I’ve been doing lately is making the sauce once the brownies have cooled, then pouring it over them so they soak in it. You don’t have to do it this way. I actually happened upon this method when I had very little notice, got invited to a friend for dinner, quickly made the brownies and sauce and just poured it over them and reheated when ready. It. Was. Amazing.

It’s easier to use a square baking tray. I use a 9 x 9 inch silicone baking tray. The reason for this is because I prefer cutting the brownies into squares as opposed to slicing it like a cake. Having said that, it’s purely for my convenience and I’ve used a round tin many times, but I prefer the square tray for this recipe.

Something important to remember is that the universally-accepted toothpick test does not apply to this recipe. Because you’re making it chewy, you don’t want it to cook like a cake, so after half an hour, if you do the toothpick test, it should not be clear. It should be brown and gooey. Another thing is that my preference is always vanilla paste but you can substitute this for two teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

Servings: 9     Prep time: 5 minutes     Baking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup butter, melted (170g)
  • 1 cup white sugar (200g)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar (100g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup flour (85g)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (50g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • non-stick spray

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).

Spray your baking tray with non-stick spray.

Using an electric whisk on high, beat the eggs and sugar until properly mixed, about 10 seconds. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Add the melted butter and vanilla paste and beat until well-combined, approximately 30 seconds, scraping down the sides.

Pour the batter into your baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.

My preference for this recipe is a square baking dish but you can use a round cake tin too

My preference for this recipe is a square baking dish but you can use a round cake tin too

 

If you do the toothpick test at this point, it will come out gooey, so there is no need. After 30 minutes, take the baking tray out and let it cool for about 10 minutes before cutting your brownies into squares.

Chocolate brownies

While you’re letting the brownies cool, make the chocolate sauce:

  • 90g chopped dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 150ml cream

On medium-high, heat the cream until warm but not boiling. Don’t let the cream boil, you want to heat it just enough to melt the chocolate. Chop the dark chocolate and add it to the warm cream, removing the pot from the heat. Stir with a whisk until it’s smooth and then pour over your brownies. You can refrigerate this dish until you’re ready to serve it, in which case reheat it and serve as is or with ice cream.

Chocolate brownies in chocolate sauce. Chocolate, anyone?

Chocolate brownies in chocolate sauce. Chocolate, anyone?