Reading Diana's, Creative Structures, I saw the entry on the coconut cake her niece baked from the Barefoot Contessa and that got me hankering for some too, only going through Ina's cookbook, it wasn't the coconut cake that caught my eye but the coconut cupcake. And before we go any further, let me tell you, cooking light, this is not!
1/2lb unsalted butter at room temp (that room temp thing is very important)
5 extra large eggs at room temp (not sure why the eggs need to be at room temp too but you should also know that I used large, not extra large eggs because I just wasn't going to buy more eggs)
1.5t vanilla extract
1.5t almond etract
1t baking powder
.5t baking soda
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut (figures the one time I need sweetened, all I sort at WF was unsweetened, which of course I need for other recipes but could never find)
Cream Cheese icing (more on this later)
Preheat the oven to 325.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Now, I've creamed butter and sugar before but I never got the light and fluffy part - let me tell you - if you leave it in there for five minutes, you'll see what light and fluffy means (oh and btw, I used my kitchen aid for this).
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides with each. Add the extracts and mix well..
Meanwhile, get your eldest daughter to sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Now, add the dry mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the flour -you get that? A bit of the flour mixture, a bit of the butter milk. A bit more of the flour, a bit more of the buttermilk. Now here's the confusing part - do you end here with the four mixture (which would make it 3 parts of flour but only 2 parts of buttermilk) or do you go for the gusto, and add one more bit of the buttermilk, and one more bit of the flour, which really makes it four parts flour to three parts buttermilk - still with me? I went for the gusto. Oh, and if the pressure of the parts wasn't enough, remember, don't over mix here; mix just until combined. Now fold in half of the coconut (that would be 7 ounces for those of you who are mathematically challenged).
Here's the other part - this makes 18 - 20 large cupcakes. We're not talking your normal muffin pan, we're talking those over-sized muffin pans like Wilton's 6 Cup Jumbo Muffin Pan, for which you need Giant Muffin Paper Liners - so don't make that mistake. Now, line those suckers, fill each to the top with batter (we're talking honking large cupcakes), and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until the tops are brown and the toothpick comes out clean. Cool 'em in the pan for 15 minutes and then completely on a wire rack. Oh, and another note, unless you own three or four of those pans, and an extremely large oven (I happen to have that), you'll be baking for a good 90 - 120 minutes or so (well, depending upon how many of those pans you actually have).
Once that is done, frost with icing (see below) and sprinkle with remaining coconut.
Cream Cheese Icing
Now on to the icing and before we go on, let me tell you this makes a huge amount. I don't know how much Ina puts on her cupcakes but man, I think I'd end up with cavities if I used all the frosting on these cupcakes. We used maybe half to 2/3rds and I thought that was plenty.
1 pound cream cheese at room temp (kid you not, 1 flipping pound)
3/4pound unsalted butter at room temp (yep)
1t vanilla extract
.5t almond extract
1.5 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted (yes, can you believe that 1.5 pounds! That's what the book says!! I still can't believe it's true though. Honestly, I used about 12 ounces, maybe - about 3 cups and the girls and I thought the icing was sweet enough, though Chris said it could be a little sweeter).
In the bowl of the mixer, blend everything but the sugar until it's smooth. Add the sifted sugar (important, prevents lumps) and mix until smooth.
Oh, and the consensus is the cupcakes must be stored in the fridge b/c of the icing, which is a pain (making all that room). I think next time, I'll leave them unfrosted on the counter and just frost them as needed b/c I don't like cold cupcakes. Or at the least try to figure how to scale it all down to end up with only 6 large (12 small) at one time.