Coconut Cupcakes

Easter and spring are upon us this week! And I have the best coconut cupcake recipe to share with you. No, really, the BEST. They are light, moist, sweet, tropical - the perfect prelude to summer. I admit that I did not alter very much in this recipe...most of the time, I am trying to sneak in some ground flaxseeds (for healthy Omega-3's!), grated veggies (yes, even in cakes), or whole-wheat flour. But the line had to be drawn this time; I could not bring myself to changing the recipe - it just seemed so wrong. It is perfection as is. The only change I made was to reduce the amounts of butter in both the batter as well as the frosting. Also, I prefer Neu-chatel cheese instead of cream cheese, because it is much lighter, without compromising the creamy taste and texture of the frosting.

Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract (SO vital here...this ingredient makes the recipe for me)
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
7 oz sweetened, shredded coconut
For the frosting:
1 package Neu-chatel cheese (8 oz) at room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (again, SO GOOD)
3/4 lb confectioners' sugar, sifted
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 about two thirds of the coconut.
Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 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.
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 (important to sift, to avoid lumps) and mix until smooth.
Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Now the best part - eat and enjoy! ;)


Chris said...

I read this! WHO HOOO!

They look good. Will I get any on Friday night?

Hey, there is a death cab for cutie concert on Thursday night . . . you want to come?

Maria said...

I feel like using a bad word... something about being on a "diet" and seeing this picture makes me mad and mad at you! mmm... my mouth is watering! JERK

Papa Jay said...

I'd love to have 1 of these babies for lunch today.

The Shillings said...

Good job, Chris, good job *pat on back*. Can't come to the concert tonight, but I'm sure it will be fun! Tomorrow, we can bake up whatever you want! :)

Maria - you make me laugh. I sorry to tease you, friend!

Dad - would love to bring you one...but don't have any with me.

Jessica said...

looks awesome!

Our life.... said...

i love coconut! look delicious!