Planning an Easter dessert that's new, scrumptious and fun for all ages is pretty simple what with all of you to turn to. So many great ideas! Have you ever seen so much coconut? Coconut Easter eggs, Easter coconut macaroons, coconut-laden Bunny cakes, coconut pound cakes, regular old fashioned coconut cake and chocolate eggs sitting in coconut nests. Carrots make perfect sense. But coconut? Is it supposed to be bunny fur? Or perhaps it's supposed to be grass, albeit the color is a little off. Maybe both.
Luckily, a slice of coconut cake makes my mouth water any time of year. So I thought for Easter dinner I'd make these little coconut cupcakes and plop my happy bunnies right on top. (Who wouldn't be happy sitting in a pile of frosting?) These little cupcake gems have rum in them and orange juice, which frankly sounds like a good drink to me. And yes, there actually is one: it's called a Cuban Screw or Coconut Cuban Screw. :D Anyway, the rum in these cupcakes really isn't that strong and I suppose you could leave it out if you wanted to. But the little bunny hopes you won't.
Coconut Orange Cupcakes
From The Perfect Finish by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark
Ingredients for the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
finely grated zest of one orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream
Ingredients for the soaking syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 tablespoons Malibu rum ( a rum made in Barbados with natural coconut extract, which I didn't have so substituted dark rum)
Ingredients for the coconut buttercream:
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 tablespoons cream of coconut
6 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
pinch of fine sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated unsweetened coconut, toasted (To toast, I used a dry frying pan on the stove, stirring constantly)
Method for the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 325º. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In an electric mixer bowl, cream the butter, granulated sugar, orange zest and vanilla until light and fluffy. (about 5 minutes) Beat the eggs in one at a time. Then alternate the flour and sour cream three times on low speed until just combined. Divide the batter into the muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on rack.
Method for the soaking syrup:
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar and water. Cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the orange juice and rum.
Method for the buttercream:
Place the egg yolks in a bowl. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of a small saucepan. In the pan, heat the coconut milk and coconut cream until it reaches a simmer. (one bubble is enough) Drizzle the mixture slowly over the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return the coconut/yolk mixture to the pan and stir over low heat until slightly thickened. The mixture should be 160º but not go over 180º or it will curdle.
Using a fine mesh sieve, strain into a clean bowl to stop the cooking, stir in the salt and refrigerate covered until thoroughly chilled.
In an electric mixer, beat the butter with the confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the rum and vanilla extract. On low speed, gradually beat in the cold coconut/yolk mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the coconut.
Halve the cupcakes horizontally and brush both side with the soaking syrup. Spread the buttercream on the bottom halves, replace the top halves and spread about 2 tablespoons of buttercream on top. Sprinkle with leftover toasted coconut.
And now for the Mother's Day Giveaway!
I've got 4 cookbooks to give away!
Two of Heidi's Super Natural Cooking:
And two of Kim's Good to the Grain:
To win one of these marvelous cookbooks, all you have to do is leave a comment about how you cook with healthy grains. If you become a follower, you'll get two entries. (Please leave a separate comment for each.) Sorry guys, but U.S. and Canada only, please! And make certain I have your email address. I'll announce the winner April 25th so you don't have much time. After all, I want you to get this in time for Mother's Day!