I am crazy for coconut, and I am also super crazy about these coconut cupcakes. They are by far the best cupcakes I have ever had, and if you love coconut, they will probably be the best you have ever had too. Usually I am a frosting-type of person when it comes to cupcakes, but I even love the cake on these cupcakes. The coconut in the cake makes them so perfectly sweet and moist, and the cake doesn't dry out, even after several days. But the cake doesn't necessarily win here, because the frosting is incredible - maybe we can call the cake and frosting on the cupcake a win-win!
My mother is an amazing baker, and she is the one who first introduced me to these coconut cupcakes. It was always such a special treat when she made them for the family. A few months ago I was put in charge of the refreshments for a church activity, and I knew that I wanted to make cupcakes. When I started to think about what types of cupcakes I should make, these immediately came to mind (along with some lemon cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes). I called up my mom to find out where I could get the recipe, and she told me that the recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa. No wonder they are so good! I made the cupcakes with some minor changes (such as cutting down on the amount of frosting, because otherwise the cupcakes have a frosting tower), and they were a huge hit at the activity.
I recently made the cupcakes again for Greg's birthday, and I brought some of them to an end-of-the-year work luncheon (I have to brag here, tomorrow is my last day of work & then it's summer break)! I also brought the cookie dough truffles and coconut truffles to the luncheon, since there were several requests for them.
Yesterday Greg was teaching me how to use his nice camera so I could take pictures of the cupcakes for this post. It took a ton of willpower for me not to reach out and gobble up one of the three cupcakes for the shot! They smelled SO good. I hope you enjoy these coconut cupcakes as much as I do.
Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
3 sticks of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. of almond extract
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
1/2 tsp. of kosher salt
1 cup of buttermilk
1 14-ounce bag of sweetened shredded flaked coconut
1 1/2 packages of 8-ounce cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. of almond extract
1 pound of powdered sugar, sifted (1 pound is usually 1 regular-sized bag of powdered sugar)
Line cupcake or muffin pans with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy, about 3 - 4 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed and add in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract and almond extract. Mix well.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt together in a medium mixing bowl and sift together. Incorporate the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in to the batter. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is just combined. Mix in half of the bag of coconut in to the batter.
Fill each cupcake liner to the top with the batter. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, watching them closely so that tops do not burn. Remove from oven when they are done and allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a baking rack to cool completely.
When cupcakes are fully cooled, make the frosting. Put the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a bowl and use a hand mixer on low speed to cream everything together. Add the powdered sugar in and continue to mix on low until the frosting is smooth.
Frost cupcakes and sprinkle the rest of the coconut on the tops. YUM!
*Makes about 18 - 20 delicious cupcakes*
Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999