For my birthday back in April, my best friend got me this adorable cupcake tree that I've wanted since the beginning of time. Or, uh, since I first saw it a few years ago.
She got me the one for mini cupcakes which I've, surprisingly, never made before. I know, right? I'm a cupcake maniac; you'd think I'd be all over the map with my cupcake adventures. I've also never made (or eaten) coconut cake. So, naturally, I went to my reliable Ina. They were good, of course, but I find Ina's cakes sometimes to be a little more dense than I'd like. I'm not looking for a chiffon-type texture but something a little lighter. I'll definitely try another recipe later to compare the two. Maybe my perfect cake is a pipe dream...
But these were absolutely worth making. They were a hit with my taste testers! :)
Source: Ina Garten (cupcakes) and Williams-Sonoma (icing)
For the Cupcakes:
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature (3 sticks)
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 oz. sweetened, shredding coconut
For the vanilla frosting:
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes – until light and fluffy. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In three parts, alternately add the ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
Lin a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each cup to the top with batter. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
While cupcakes are cooling, make the icing. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla and salt on low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the 2 cups coconut into a shallow bowl.
Using an icing spatula, frost the top of each cupcake, mounding the icing in the center. Holding the bottom of each cupcake, roll the frosted top in the coconut.