Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coconut Bird Nest Cupcakes

Coconut Bird Nest Cupcake 

I know I've been MIA the past couple months. That usually happens this time of year because I lose the zest for photography, what with it being dark at 4pm and all. It's been a very long, cold, dark, depressing winter in these parts and I'm just beginning to feel not-so-miserable. Time to replace SAD with allergies, yeah!

On top of that, ye old boyfriend and I decided to end our dirty perma-bulk and become shredded freak beasts. I've been eating what is basically a modified ketogenic diet wherein I eat less than 30 net carbs a day and then feast on high glycemic carbs one night a week. There is a lot of cheese and bacon involved daily, so I'd like to say it's not that bad, but it is. It's total crap and I'm counting the days until I can return to Carb Back-Loading, eat like a normal human and get stronger again.

Anyway, obviously that means I haven't been doing much baking lately. Maybe I'll start subjecting you all to some low carb recipes eventually, but for now I just want to post something sweet! 

This past weekend I had a totally adorable Easter/Spring party complete with an Easter Egg Hunt! I'm sure it was almost as much fun for my neighbors to watch a bunch of grown ass adults run around the yard looking for eggs as it was for us to find them. More fun than it was being a kid though because I get to swear at my friends and eat as much candy as I want - and no one can stop me!
  
Easter Party!
Look how CUTE!!!

After not baking for over a month I was pretty eager to flex my culinary muscle. There was quiche, deviled eggs, rainbow fruit on a stick, biscuits, cream cheese strawberry rhubarb danish, and of course these sweet little coconut bird nest cupcakes! 

Earlier in the day, before I had tasted one, I was lamenting to my friend that I have yet to find a vanilla cake recipe I really like, and that they all tend to have a heavy, cornbready flavor and texture to me. Despite the fact that these are coconut cupcakes, I think this will be my go-to vanilla cake recipe as well! The coconut flavor is mild enough that you might miss it if not for the addition of some shredded coconut (if you want it to be more prominent, I suggest adding a touch of coconut extract to the cake, frosting, or both). The texture, though, is perfect - light, but not too delicate, and moist without being greasy. I only wish my carb-deprived belly could have fit more!

Coconut Bird Nest Cupcake

Coconut Bird Nest Cupcakes
Makes 18-20 cupcakes

For the reduced coconut milk:
2 13-14oz cans unsweetened coconut milk

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
1 cup reduced coconut milk, room temp
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
(coconut extract to taste, optional)

For the frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, room temp
2 Tbsp coconut rum
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1/8 tsp salt
(coconut extract to taste, optional)
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
1 8 oz bag Cadbury mini eggs

1. For the reduced coconut milk: Pour coconut milk into a deep, medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. 

2. For the cupcakes: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment until smooth, then add the sugar and beat on medium high speed, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the vanilla bean seeds and remaining egg. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low just until lightly blended. Add the 1 cup reduced coconut milk and mix just until blended. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until blended. 

4. Divide the batter among the prepare muffin tins and bake until cupcake tops spring back when gently touched and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes in tins to rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing from tins to the rack to cool completely. 

5. For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the confectioner's sugar, reduced coconut milk, rum, vanilla bean seeds and salt and beat on medium low until blended, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Increase speed to medium high for a minute until light and fluffy. 

6. To decorate, top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons or so of frosting, and spread the frosting around so there is a small indent in the frosting in the center of the cupcake, almost exposing the cake. Gently press the toasted coconut around the frosting, then arrange your eggs in their "nest." Enjoy!


3 comments:

  1. Totally not a huge cupcake fan - it has to be a pretty special one. These totally qualify.

    And thanks for making me feel better about my own winter blogging blues, Morgan!

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  2. Very nice information that you are sharing about chocolates and thanks for sharing the information with us Chocolate dealer Vidyaranyapura

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  3. Yummy! I loved it. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I have been searching for new cake and chocolate recipes to prepare for christmas. This one is different-coconut bird nest cake, I totally liked its look!! My kids are going to love it for sure. They are crazy about chocolate bars. The dark chocolate bars we buy from Giddy Yo Yo are excellent. Looking forward for more chocolate recipes from you.

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