I decided to add one more dessert option for your Easter menu this year. One of my favorite cupcakes are these coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Coconut cake or cupcakes seems to be an ever so popular dessert for spring and especially Easter. I sure love a good cupcake, especially ones that are dense, moist and full of flavor.
As I was testing out coconut cupcake recipes, I had a few requirements that I wanted in the recipe. The liquid in the batter had to be coconut milk to really help the coconut flavor shine through and for added moisture. I actually use light coconut milk from a can, which doesn’t have as much added sugar. I like to use coconut flakes in the cupcake that are finely chopped instead of whole flakes, to achieve intense coconut flavor. I also felt that adding vanilla paste instead of extract would add a nice touch so you can see the specks of vanilla in the finished cake. I don’t like to use imitation extracts or flavorings to make it taste like coconut, I want the flavor to taste fresh. Also, the coconut flakes for the topping had to absolutely be the best, not dry coconut flakes but flakes that are super moist. I prefer the brand “Baker’s” for the sweetened coconut flakes. They are consistently moist and taste so good. I had no idea there was such a difference in sweetened coconut flakes as far as flavor goes. Use the brand you love the taste of the most.
I promise these cupcakes are sure to be a favorite in your house, for any party and especially on your Easter dessert menu. Preheat your oven to 350º, read through the recipe and have all your ingredients measured and ready to go. Line a standard cupcake/muffin pan with ungreased paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and fine kosher salt. With a sharp knife, finely chop the flaked coconut so that no long pieces remain and whisk into the flour mixture. Make sure all of the coconut is mixed until well coated with the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Gradually add the whole eggs one at a time, the whites, and vanilla paste (or extract), scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. I like scrape down the bowl after each egg is added. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternating with the coconut milk in three batches. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until combined after each.
Scoop the batter using an ice cream scoop into the cupcake liners. I use a scoop that holds at least 1/4 cup of batter. This will give you a more precise measurement and all of your cupcakes will be the same size. Or if you don’t have a scoop, fill each liner 3/4 full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, about 22-25 minutes. Watch them carefully those last few minutes so they don’t overcook. They are done when the cake springs back after gently pressing the top of the cupcake. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
For the cream cheese frosting, I use the same recipe that I used for these cupcakes here. Frost the cupcakes using piping bag that has a large round tip. Sprinkle the tops with the sweetened coconut flakes.
Now here is what I like to actually do with almost all of my cupcakes at this point. I freeze them in an airtight container overnight. So yes, this requires a full day in advance preparation but I do this because it helps the cake become a bit more dense. Once you are ready to serve them, take the cupcakes out and let them sit out at least one hour before you serve them. If you prefer your cupcakes light and fluffy, then simply eat them after you’ve frosted them. Or they can be refrigerated in an airtight container for one day.
And, simply enjoy coconut cupcake bliss.