Coconut Vanilla Bean Cupcakes - Sweet and Savory Kitchens
Margaux says…

Like I said before, January and February are the official Birthday Months around here.  I crank out cakes and cupcakes every other day, it seems, which is great for me because I get to try out all the recipes I pin on Pinterest but don’t have to eat it all and gain a million pounds.  Cupcakes are especially fun because we can keep a few for ourselves to taste test.

I’ve posted about coconut cupcakes before, and I still stand by that amazingly delicious recipe that is like sweet cake from the gods. That frosting recipe is seriously out of this world. But I also love this recipe. I love the combo of vanilla and coconut, and this frosting is also pretty darn good.  I found this recipe on Epicurious a few years ago, made them a few times, then forgot about it and rediscovered it last month.  I will definitely be making these again!

Coconut Vanilla Bean Cupcakes - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Coconut Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Reduced coconut milk:

2 13-to 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk

Cupcakes:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature

Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature
Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)

For reduced coconut milk:

Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat (coconut milk will boil up high in pan). Reduce heat to medium-low; boil until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill (coconut milk will settle slightly as it cools). DO AHEAD: This should be made at least 8 hours ahead so that it can settle. Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

For cupcakes:

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line eighteen 1/3-cup muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in seeds from vanilla bean and remaining egg. Add half of flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk; mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake cupcakes until tops spring back when gently touched and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes in pans to rack; cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on rack.

For frosting:

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, seeds from vanilla bean, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy.

Using pastry bag fitted with large star tip, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. (Alternatively, top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons frosting. Using small offset spatula, swirl frosting over top of cupcakes, leaving 1/2-inch plain border.) Sprinkle with coconut. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight containers; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Golden Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

It’s cake season around here…we have several birthdays in January and February in our family, so I’m basically making cake after cake for about two months. This is one of my favorite cake recipes…I typically make it as a 9″ layer cake, but my sister-in-law wanted cupcakes for her birthday party, and they turned out really great.  I’ve posted about the frosting before, on a similar cake that I’ve made often, and also love, but since I discovered this Cook’s Illustrated version I may just make this one from now on whenever I’m wanting a yellow cake.  Because of science-y Cook’s Illustrated details, this cake is fluffier and has a finer crumb.  And the frosting is silky and delicious…you have to try it!

Fluffy Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Fluffy Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting

from Cook’s Illustrated

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon table salt

1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 large egg yolks, room temperature

3 large egg whites, room temperature

1. Adjust oven rack to middle and heat to 350 degrees.  Place 27 cupcake liners into cupcake tins (or grease two 9″ round cake pans and line with parchment paper, then grease and flour).  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl.  In 4 cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and yolks.

2.  In clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds.  With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, continue to beat until stiff peaks form, about a minute or so.  Transfer to another bowl and set aside.

3.  Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.  With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds.  Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl.  Return mixer to med-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10-15 seconds.

4.  Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of the whites into the batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.  Fill each cupcake liner evenly, about 3/4 full.

5.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 17-19 minutes.  Let cool on rack in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.  Frost with milk chocolate frosting.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

While cakes are cooling, prepare frosting.

20 tbsp butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder

pinch table salt

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla

8 oz. high quality milk chocolate, like Ghiradelli, melted and cooled slightly

In a food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 30 seconds.  Add corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5-10 seconds.  Scrape sides of the bowl, then add chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, about 10-15 times.

Fill a pastry bag with frosting and either cut the tip off so that there’s about a 1/2″ round opening, or fit with a piping tip.  Swirl frosting generously on cupcakes.  Eat and be happy!

 

Everything Muffins

November 21, 2011

Margaux says…

I made banana bread last week, and my husband said, “you should make this all the time, so we always have it on hand!”  He likes to grab a piece on his way out the door for breakfast.  Well, I can’t make the same thing over and over again, it’s just not in my nature.  So this has started me on a new trend of trying out breakfast breads, starting with this one.

(I get a LOT of help in the kitchen these days!)

This one is more of a cupcake, really, though…it would be great with cream cheese frosting!  I did cut back on the sugar a little bit from the original recipe, so it wasn’t TOO bad.  Definitely better than doughnuts!  And the are delicious!  (But I do recommend doing these as cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…REALLY delicious!!!  They have so much carrot in them, it’s sort of like a fancy carrot cake.)

Everything Muffins

2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted unbleached flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup shredded peeled apple (I used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup coconut (I used sweetened because it was what I had on hand, but unsweetened would probably be better)
1/2 cup raisins (I used the golden berry blend from Trader Joe’s)
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular size muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, milk and vanilla with wire whisk until well blended. Add brown sugar and beat with whisk until well blended, about one minute. Add flour mixture and mix just until completely blended. Stir in carrots, apples, coconut, raisins and nuts.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and smooth tops. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, remove from pan. Cool completely before frosting, if desired.

Margaux says….

I found this recipe years ago in Cook’s Illustrated for a coconut layer cake.  I love coconut cake, and this one looked perfect, as most “Cook’s” recipes are.  I’m just now finally getting around to making it, and I’m so thrilled I did!  The original recipe is for a 4-layer cake, but I wanted to make cupcakes so that I could share with several people, and they turned out great!  The frosting is so rich and heavenly, a cupcake is the perfect portion. 

You can find cream of coconut in the drinks section of the grocery store, or in the Mexican section, which is where I found it…Goya makes it. When you open the can, it will probably be really separated. The best way I found to fix that was by pouring it in to a medium bowl, microwaving it for 30-45 seconds, then whisking it until it’s smooth. Make sure it’s room temperature before using it.

Coconut Cupcakes
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, April 2001

Cake
1 large egg plus 5 large egg whites
3/4 cup cream of coconut
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pure coconut extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool

2 cups packed (about 8 oz.) sweetened shredded coconut

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 paper muffin cups.
2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in 4-cup measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.
5. Divide batter between muffin cups to 3/4 full. Bake until deep golden-brown, and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes (rotate pans after 10 minutes).
6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then remove from muffin tins and cool on racks completely.
7. While the cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 10-15 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Watch closely, they get dark fast!

Coconut Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 tsp pure coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine whites, sugar and salt in bowl of standing mixer, set bowl over saucepan containing 1 1/2 inches barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.
2. Transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well combined, about 1 minute.
3. Frost cupcakes generously with frosting. (You will probably have some left over, since this recipe is for filling and frosting a 4-layer cake. If you don’t want leftover frosting, make 3/4 of a recipe.) Top each cupcake with toasted coconut.

You can also make this cake into a 9 inch round layer cake. If you do, grease and flour 2-9 inch round cake pans or line with parchment paper. When cakes are cool, slice each layer in half horizontally, creating 4 layers. Frost each layer with about a cup (or less) of frosting in between, then frost the top and sides with the remainder. Spinkle the top of the cake with coconut. Then press the coconut into the sides.

 

sweet and savory kitchens chocolate guinness cake

Margaux says…

I’m a sucker for recipes that have ingredients you wouldn’t normally put together, like this one.  So when Aunt Suzy told me about this cake last year, I had to try it!  And oh, is it heavenly.  It’s rich, dense and chocolatey, and the frosting is fluffy, tangy and light…a perfect combination!  It’s always a hit with everyone.  It’s also a good dessert for St. Patrick’s day…for obvious reasons!  🙂

Sweet and Savory Kitchens Chocolate Guinness Cake

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Our friend Pat Eaton, of Madison, Wisconsin, served this when we were visiting them a couple of years ago.   I made it very shortly after returning home for a card party and it was a hit.  This is a very easy cake to make, with a method similar to Texas Cake.  I don’t have a spring form pan, so I used an 8×8 cake pan after researching Joy of Cooking for options.  It turned out nicely, but didn’t look nearly as good as the round shape, which is supposed to simulate a glass of Guinness with that beautiful foam.  I have also thought about making cupcakes with this recipe – they would be like mini-glasses of Guinness.  Have you ever tried making this as cupcakes, Margaux?

Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

I made them as cupcakes for this St. Patrick’s day, and they were great!  I actually made them as jumbo cupcakes, and they made 11.  If you make them as regular sized cupcakes, they will make 22.  See instructions below for bake times.

This gives “butterbeer” a whole new meaning!  Yum!

Adding the sour cream/egg mixture creates a beautiful swirl…

I also made this last weekend for company, and accidentally forgot to add baking soda.  I put what I thought was baking soda in it, which ended up being extra fine sugar (it was in a matching container to the soda, but not labeled!)  That’s what I get for being lazy and not labeling everything in my pantry.  Needless to say, the cake was a flop (literally).  Hopefully the friends I made it for will trust me that it’s really delicious and make it again for themselves!  This time it turned out perfectly…I wish they didn’t live in Pittsburg so that I could share it with them.

sweet and savory kitchens

This cake is actually very easy to make, and you can do it pretty quickly because you don’t have to let the ingredients get to room temperature before mixing the batter (they all get cooked in the saucepan together before baking).

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper, or line muffin tins with paper cups.

1 cup Guinness stout
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups superfine granulated sugar (Aunt Suzy uses about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Pour Guinness into a large saucepan, add butter and heat until melted. Whisk in cocoa powder and sugar.

In a small bowl, beat sour cream with eggs and vanilla and then pour into brown, buttery, beery mixture and finally whisk in dry ingredients.
Pour cake batter into greased and lined pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick inserted at center comes out clean (check at 45 minutes for doneness). Leave to cool completely in pan on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.

For jumbo cupcakes, bake 24-27 minutes. For regular cupcakes, bake 18-22 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place cream cheese and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl, and whip with an electric beater until smooth. (You may also do this with a food processor.) Add cream and beat again until you have a spreadable consistency, and it’s light and fluffy.

Frost top of cake, starting at the middle and fanning out, so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

sweet and savory kitchens chocolate guinness cake