Make it Naked


Coconut Cream Cupcakes

I had no intention of posting this recipe. Actually, I had no intention of making these cupcakes at all. But then something terrible happened. And the only reason I can talk about it is because these cupcakes are the result of this mishap. So in the end, we all win. But what you’re about to read is just plain sad. I wish it were an April Fool’s joke but it’s not.

Last week I made a pie. A banana pudding pie with a meringue topping. The recipe was assigned to me for our cooking club. It looked quick and easy enough but to my own disbelief, I had never made meringue before. So I decided to make the pie a day early just in case I was a meringue making failure. Turns out, meringue is one of the easiest things I’ve ever made. I piled it high onto the pie and made pretty swirls. I was proud. So proud, I sent out a picture of it to some friends captioned “Booya!” Meringue brings out the best in me. The next morning, Jon was eating his cereal at our counter-top bar while I made toast for breakfast. I put the loaf of bread back in the refrigerator and then this happened.

I heard the splat and then I saw Jon’s face…one of those “I might get served divorce papers if I laugh right now” looks. Followed immediately by “We can fix this.” He knows me too well. I just stood there in shock, staring at it. It wasn’t fixable. Jon broke the silence with “I’m so glad that wasn’t me.” I laughed because I was actually really glad it wasn’t him either.

And so it was banana pudding pie round two.

I now consider myself a Master Meringuer, you know, because I made it twice. And I wanted to share with you just how incredibly simple it is to make, but I also knew I wasn’t making pie for a third time. But a pie cupcake? A coconut cream pie cupcake? A coconut cream pie cupcake with vanilla bean meringue? Yes. Yes. Yes.

A sweet coconut cake is filled with a coconut cream and topped with a vanilla bean meringue. Each part of this cupcake is wonderful on its own. The coconut cake is Ina Garten’s recipe. So without a doubt, it’s outstanding. I used cake flour instead of all-purpose for a lighter cake. I wanted the cake to be as fluffy and light as the white, marshmallowy, vanilla meringue that topped it. The cream uses coconut milk and is a nice surprise in the center of all the fluff.

Trust me when I tell you that you won’t miss the crust of this “pie.” Really, when you get down to it, we’re replacing a crust with cake here. Sort of an upgrade if you ask me. Not that I don’t love a good pie crust, but if you could have a slice of pie crust or a slice of cake…I thought so.

The cupcakes are nothing short of amazing. And the toasted meringue tops not only taste great but look pretty impressive as well. Don’t they?

BOOYA!

Coconut Cream Cupcakes (makes 34-36 cupcakes) (recipe adapted from Ina Garten and Southern Living) For the Cake: Ingredients: 3 sticks butter (I used salted) 2 cups sugar 5 eggs 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons pure almond extract 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup buttermilk 7 ounces shredded, sweetened coconut Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Prepare two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time. Beating till combined after each addition. Add in the extracts.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the batter a little at a time, repeating until the flour mixture and buttermilk are fully
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    incorporated. Stir in the coconut.

  6. Fill each lined cup about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in pre-heated oven for 25-35 minutes (Mine were done in 30).
  7. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove the cupcakes from the pan when they are cool enough to touch and let them cool completely on a wire rack or countertop.

  For the cream:   Ingredients: ¾ cup sugar ⅓ cup all-purpose flour 2 large eggs 4 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue) 1 cup whole milk 1 cup coconut milk (I used light because that’s what I had) 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients except for vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly for 8-10 minutes (Mine took 8 minutes. Your arm will be sore. I may or may not have started to sweat.) The mixture should thicken and resemble pudding.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly while making the meringue.

For the meringue:   Ingredients: 6 egg whites ¾ cup sugar ½ vanilla bean Directions:

  1. With an electric mixer (I used my hand mixer – not the stand mixer) beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar a tablespoon or two at a time beating until the mixture becomes stiff (stiff peaks will form when you pick up the mixer) and the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds into the mixture beating just a few seconds to spread the seeds throughout the mixture.

Assembly:

  1. When the cupcakes have cooled, using a pairing knife, cut a cone shape out of the center of each cake. You can save the cone pieces and recap each cake once filled or you can snack on them while you fill the cupcakes.
  2. Add the filling (Be sure it’s not really hot. Warm is ok. Hot is not.) to each hole that you just cut, leaving a smooth top. Recap the hole with the cone piece if you’d like. It’s ok to skip the recapping step.
  3. Using a spoon, scoop the meringue onto each cupcake. Even out the meringue over the tops of each cupcake. Now, for the fun spiky things that look really cool, use the backside of a spoon and tap the meringue in random places on the cupcake. When you lift the spoon a small spike should form and stay. Make as many little spikes as you’d like.
  4. Put the cupcakes on a baking sheet and broil on low for one minute. DO NOT walk away from the oven – really it’s only a minute. These brown quickly. Watch them closely! Remove when slightly browned and enjoy!

Notes:

  1. I made a few without the cream filling and they were great too. If you’re in a time crunch leaving out the cream would be ok, if you’re not, I highly recommend it.
  2. Store these in the refrigerator and, under some sort of shield to protect from falling loaves of bread.

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Posted on April 1, 2011


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