So work has been kicking my rear lately and as usual I have been very behind on my blogging despite my best intentions. Wow, do I sound like a broken record? I feel like I use this excuse a lot! :) Anyway, I always miss blogging (and cooking) when the days pass by, and the gaps between posts grow larger and larger.
You may remember that a few weeks ago, I made cupcakes for my friend's parents' 50th wedding anniversary party. I made 6 different flavors so I'll be sharing some of the recipes in the coming weeks. I've already shared the chocolate chocolate chip here. It was so much fun-- getting to make all of those cupcakes at once and trying out a few new flavor combinations, which of course I had to taste test! One of the favorite flavors of the night (both of the guests and of yours truly) were these Coconut and Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream. These basically taste like a pina colada in cupcake form and are perfect for the summer. I was initially drawn to the cupcake recipe because I liked that the batter is made with coconut milk instead of regular milk which infuses a delicious mild coconut taste throughout the whole cupcake. This recipe also calls for a layer of diced canned pineapple on the bottom of each cupcake which reminded me a little bit of an upside-down cake-- it was a great idea to put the fruit on the bottom because it really brought out it's flavor and seemed to allow it to bake more than if it were distributed throughout. The pineapple layer was one of my favorite parts of this cupcake-- yum, it's been a month or so since I've had these so writing about them is making me hungry.
Then, of course we have to talk about the coconut Swiss meringue buttercream (SMB). I'm a little bit obsessed with SMB and have spread my obsession to my family (it's a catching disease, watch out) who now request it when I make cupcakes. When I saw a coconut version of SMB, I knew it would be perfect with these cupcakes so I married the two, and it was cupcake heaven. The coconut buttercream is silky smooth and delicious with just a nice amount of coconut flavor-- the extract does not overpower. The recipe calls for pure coconut extract and I'm sure that is absolutely lovely. I couldn't find it anywhere, however, so I had to settle for imitation which you can buy in most grocery stores. The coconut SMB was incredible, so unless I stumble upon some pure coconut extract somewhere, I plan on just sticking with the imitation.
**I will be announcing the winner to the cookbook giveaway very soon. Thanks to all who entered and sorry for the delay!**
Coconut and Pineapple Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes ( I usually double this recipe)
1 cup all-purpose flour
a scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
9 canned pineapple rings, drained well and chopped into small pieces
sweetened coconut, to decorate
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric mixer) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Mix the coconut milk and vanilla in a separate bowl, then beat into the flour mixture on medium speed until well combined. Add the egg and beat well (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).
Divide the chopped pineapple between the paper cupcake liners. Spoon the cupcake batter on top until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the cake bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Coconut Swiss-Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract (pure if you can find it-- I could only find the imitation but thought it was delicious)
1. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until cooled, about 10 minutes and egg mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff peaks.
3. Reduce the speed to medium-low. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled or appears to melt, just keep beating and it will come back together and become smooth. *
4. Beat in coconut extract. Reduce speed to low, and beat until smooth. Use immediately or if using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
5. To frost the cupcakes, I used a pastry bag and a large open star tip to pipe the buttercream. Garnish as desired with sweetened coconut.
*If, after you've beat in all of the butter and whipped the mixture for the required minutes and it just won't seem like it will come together, it's possible your mixture may be too warm, so try putting it in the refrigerator for a few minutes so it will firm up slightly. Then continue beating. This happened to me once when my meringue seemed somewhat soupy. Sticking the entire bowl in the fridge for about 10 minutes did the trick!
Adapted from Martha Stewart from Here and Here