Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coconut. Caramel. Cupcakes.

They didn't turn out exactly as I had imagined, but in no way, shape or form is that a complaint.  I think this may be the best cupcake I've made.

Hiding the treasure inside.

I was slightly disappointed that the caramel sank to
the bottom, but I got over it quickly.
All dressed up and no place to go.

Yes, those are my teeth marks. 
I guess it had someplace to go after all.

The Recipes:

Caramel Coconut Cupcakes
Makes approximately 18 cupcakes

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1-1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup plus 3 Tbs coconut milk
1 Tbs white vinegar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
20 soft caramels

Preheat oven to 350°F for at least 20 minutes.  Line cupcake tins with paper or foil liners.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and coconut in a large bowl.  Whisk to combine and set aside.   In a measuring cup, combine the coconut milk, vinegar and vanilla extract and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.  Stop and scrape the bowl and paddle.  Cream an additional 2 – 3 minutes.  Stop and scrape the bowl and paddle again.  On medium speed, slowly drizzle in the beat egg, no more than 2 tablespoons at a time and mixing each in completely before adding more.  Stop and scrape the bowl and paddle halfway through and after all the egg is incorporated.

On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, followed by the coconut milk mixture, and then the remaining flour.  Mix just until combined.  Use a spatula to fold in any remaining flour, making sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl. 

Using an ice cream scoop, portion batter into prepared pan.  Push a caramel into each cupcake and swirl the batter over the top.  Eat any remaining caramels.  Bake the cupcakes for 18 – 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.  Immediately and carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan to a wire rack.  Cool completely.  Ice with white chocolate caramel buttercream.

White Chocolate Buttercream
Makes about 6 cups

¾ cup milk
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbs all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
6 Tbs heavy whipping cream
5 sticks unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
3-1/2 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled

Heat the milk and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and whisk in flour.  Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until cooled to room temperature.  Reduce speed to low and add the vanilla, cream and butter.  Mix to combine and then gradually begin increasing the speed to medium-high.  Go slowly so you don’t end up wearing it.  Beat on medium-high for 7 to 10 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and slowly drizzle in the melted white chocolate.  Mix just until combined. 

If not using immediately, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to two months.  Allow to come to room temperature and re-beat before using.

White Chocolate Caramel Buttercream

3 cups white chocolate buttercream
½ cup caramel sauce

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the white chocolate buttercream on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.  Reduce speed to medium and slowly drizzle in the caramel sauce.