Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Cooking... Coconut Cupcakes

Well, yesterday was the Niece's birthday, so at her little birthday dinner the other night, she got to pick the menu. And the dessert, of course! Her choice was coconut cupcakes, something I am not sure I have ever made. I went on line, the source of all information, and if you Google coconut cupcakes, Ina Garten's, the Barefoot Contessa from Food TV, recipe comes up in first position.  Good enough for me!!
I did not have time to try it out beforehand, but, with a few changes, I think they turned out very tasty and my guest seemed to agree. Just to be sure, I just tested another one, and they are still excellent. Oh, the things I do for you, my dear readers. :-)
I used a little food coloring to make the coconut three different colors, just because I though it would look nice, add a little interest.

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa


  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract 
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound  unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1  pound confectioners' sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down 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 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut. 

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner about 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are very light brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely. 

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut. 

My recipe makes a few changes from Ina's. She says her recipe makes 18-20 cupcakes...I got 36 out of the recipe. She must be making darn big cupcakes! She says to fill the cupcakes paper to the top, which just makes them overflow and stick to the pan, so I use a generous #20 scoop of batter and filled them about 3/4 full . I also added the coconut extract, decreasing the almond and vanilla to make up the difference. She also says to bake 25-35 minutes which is WAY too long and will make for a dry cupcake I think. Start check them at 17 minutes and mine were done at about 19 minutes.
One very important part of the directions, according to many of the reviews I read, was to be sure and cream the butter and sugar very well....I let it go about 8 minutes in the stand mixer until it was very light. Otherwise they say the cupcakes will turn out heavy and dense.

That is one thing I love about online recipes where you can rate and comment on the recipe. I think reading them can often point out any potential problems and allow you to correct for them without all the trial and error.
I also changed her recipe for the frosting...less butter...less sugar and still had tons of icing.

And of course, there is that fun colored coconut!

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Oh, they sound and look wonderful.

  2. I love the idea of adding coconut extract. It's so interesting that Ina would have said to fill the cupcake liners to the top; I've never seen a muffin or cupcake recipe that suggested that. And 25 minutes in the oven for a cupcake? Yikes.

    I live the colored coconut -- how pretty and what a great idea!!! Oh gosh, last week I baked cookies, now you've got me craving cupcakes.

  3. I'm a huge fan of coconut, so these are especially appealing to me :)
    I love watching Ina Garten, and I've actually seen her make these on T.V. I think your idea of coloring the frosting makes them outshine hers!

  4. I've sadly heard from others that this recipe is a mess. But yours look like they turned out really well!

  5. Tinting the coconut is brilliant! They look so pretty. I'm sure your niece loved them. Have a great weekend, Caite!

  6. They look fantastic, love the idea of coloring the coconut! Good idea about reading the reviews, it helps!

  7. Beth, it's funny. there were so many 5 stars ratings on this and a few 1 star that said it was awful. I think, as I said, that ket it REALLY letting that butter and sugar cream till fluffy, way more than I might have creamed it if I had not read the comments. Second is that the cooking time is WAY off in her original recipe. check at not wait any longer.

  8. These look so good, I love coconut.

  9. They look so yummy. I agree with not overbaking. dry is not nice.

  10. All kids should have an aunt like you. The cupcakes look and sound special, making your niece feel assured of how you feel about her. I really love the last picture. Very dramatic.

  11. I love coconut! The cupcakes look beautiful - your niece is lucky to have such a talented auntie :-)

  12. I love coconut! Those cupcakes look heavenly! I will have to try this recipe out this summer.

  13. The cupcakes are adorable, but I'm not a fan of coconut. For my birthday, I'd like devil's food cake.


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!