Thursday, July 24, 2008

toasted coconut & cocoa cupcakes

When a close friend from college emailed me photos from her new island residence, the most envious shot was the image of a coconut tree that was planted right outside of her balcony. Although she's been there a few months now, it is about time I whipped up a batch of coconut cupcakes -- in her honor, of course.

This vegan cupcake recipe comes from my most prized baking book, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and mixes the likes of coconut-fiends aside serious chocoholics.

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. coconut extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Mix in a medium bowl flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, turn off heat and leave setting on the stove so it does not solidify.

In a separate medium bowl, mix coconut milk, sugar, vanilla and coconut extract. Stir in melted coconut oil. Add the flour mixture, beating until smooth. Fold in shredded coconut.

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full. Bake 24-26 minutes.

Once the deep-brown mini-cakes are finished baking, begin to prepare the suggested coffee buttercream frosting.

1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp. coconut milk or soy milk
1 1/2 tsp. coffee extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat shortening and margarine until nicely blended. Alternately add the sugar and milk, continuously beating. Add the extracts and beat until the topping is light and fluffy.

While the icing is to-die-for solo, topping the island treats off with some toasted coconut is sure to please your cupcake-loving crowds. Grab a 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, and after preheating a dry frying pan for about 2 minutes, pour the white flakes inside while you constantly stir with a spatula. Once, the shreds are honey brown, remove the pan from the oven's surface.

Finish the tiny dessert by sprinkling the gorgeous golden flakes atop the already frosted cakes and most definitely, take a massive bite, or two or three.