My little sis just graduated from college, yay! She’s worked so hard for many years to get to this point and I couldn’t have been more proud than the moment her name was mispronounced and she walked confidently across that stage as we cheered her on from the nosebleed section of The Rose Garden. She owned her senior year and there is no doubt in my mind that she’ll dominate in the ad world. Hooray Ash!
In honor of this momentous occasion, we threw her a happy hour luau-ish celebration, complete with a custom cocktail, an overwhelming amount of meat and coconut cupcakes with coconut rum (of course) buttercream frosting. The party prep ended up feeling like a pop quiz that I wasn’t quite prepared for. Looking back I could have used some project management tutoring from the graduate herself. Part of what slowed me down was the hangover I was nursing all day from the party drink testing the night before. A big thanks to Michael at The Box Social, for giving me the recipe for a bright and refreshing party cocktail and an A+ hangover.
Thankfully, I baked the cupcakes the day before and just needed to whip up the coconut rum frosting and decorate them. Unfortunately, my calculations were incorrect, the frosting only covered half of the cakes and I had to make another batch in the 11th hour. It was a hot day and I was a hot mess. The frosting was pretty sloppy and started to fall a bit due to the heat in the kitchen. I attempted to mask the elementary mess I made of the frosting with the toasted coconut, it kinda worked. But, I made a sophomoric mistake and set them outside in the sun. They melted quicker than I failed algebra my freshman year. It’s a good thing I wasn’t graded on this assignment, maybe just judged a little. Although the cupcakes weren’t a total failure, there is some serious room for improvement. They tasted great however, Flavor > Presentation.
Lesson learned, somebody needs to enroll in baking school and get formally edumacated in the art of cake decoration.
- flour - 2 cups
- baking powder - 1 teaspoon
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1 cup (2 sticks)
- granulated sugar - 1 cup
- large eggs - 3
- pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
- whole milk at room temperature - 1 cup
- unsweetened coconut flake - 1 cup
- sweetened coconut flake - 1 cup
- egg whites - 1/2 cup (about 4 egg whites)
- granulated sugar - 1 cup
- salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 3 sticks
- white or silver rum - 2 tablespoons
- cream of coconut - 1/2 cup
- vanilla - 1 teaspoon
- unsweetned coconut flake - 1 cup
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times during this process.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Slowly add the eggs, one at a time. Mixing each egg a few rotations before adding the next. Then add the vanilla. Scrape the bowl and mix a bit more.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternate additions of the milk and flour mixture, beginning with 2/3 of the flour mixture. Followed by half of the milk. Then half of the remaining flour, the rest of the milk and finally the remainder of the flour. Mixing just until each addition is incorporated. You don't want to over mix here.
- Gently fold in the sweetened and unsweetend coconut flake by hand with a sturdy spatula, until just incorporated. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool on baking sheet or in cupcake tray for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and allow to cool completely.
- Gently brush the cupcake tops with a thin layer of rum.
- Toast coconut flake in oven at 350° for 7-10 minutes, until it becomes fragrant and starts to turn a golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in a bowl that fits snugly over a saucepan with about 1 1/2 inches of simmering water, the bowl shouldn't be resting on or touching the water.
- Whisk the mixture until it begins to thicken and becomes opaque, with lots of tiny bubbles. This takes somewhere between 5-10 minutes and the temperature should be approximately 160°F.
- Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Remove from the heat and pour hot egg mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the egg mixture on high for about 7 minutes, until the bowl is cool to the touch and the mixture is glossy, white and holds medium sized peaks.
- Begin to add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Mixing a few rotations between each addition. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, add rum, cream of coconut and vanilla.
- Keep mixing until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
- Fill piping bag and use preferred tip to pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
- Sprinkle cupcakes with toasted coconut. Great work! A+