Once there was a girl (with a curl) who loved coconut and all things tropical. She had a birthday, as people do, and happily I was on the ball of baking-doing enough to actually provide cakelettes on time for celebrating. Millions of them, ok ok seventy-two.
They’re fluffy and pale and do not have grated coconut inside like lots of coconut cake recipes do. That was intentional cos I had a vision that didn’t involve that.
It *does* involve reduced coconut milk, which is a nice thing to keep in the mental toolkit (although to be obvious for a moment, EVERYTHING should be reduced as an experiment at least once. There are a few I don’t like to reduce… citrus juice, honey… but mostly it makes for more intensity and thickness and it makes you look like a cooking genius).
As for the topping, it’s kind of a very thin ganache that you melt together, cool down, and then whip loosely like a regular whipped cream. Swiss meringue frosting would work too, or so my hunches tell me, but ask me to confirm this when I have a powerful machine to do the whipping for me. ^.^;;;
Anyway, they’re really good and classy.
Adapted from Abigail Johnson Dodge via Epicurious
Makes 18 large cupcakes or 72 mini cupcakes
Reduced Coconut Milk:
- 2 (two!) 13-to 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk* (preferably organic)
- 260 grams / 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 170 grams / 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 266 grams / 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 250 grams / 1 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)
For reduced coconut milk:
Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat (coconut milk will boil up high in pan). Reduce heat to medium low; boil until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill (coconut milk will settle slightly as it cools). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. [Ed’s note: things go a lot faster if you increase the heat so it bubbles energetically – it’s not prone to burning, but keep stirring]
Position rack in centre of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 18 large muffin cups (or 72 mini muffin cups, in shifts if needed) with paper liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
Using electric mixer (or much armstrength and patience), beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in vanilla and remaining egg. Add half of flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk; mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended.
Divide batter among muffin cups – a spring loaded scooper helps immeasurably here. Bake cupcakes until tops spring back when gently touched and tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes in pans to rack; cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on rack.
- 200 grams white chocolate, chopped
- 180 grams / 3/4 cup 35% cream (any leftover coconut milk can be used here for extra flavour effect)
- 10 grams / 2 tsp glucose or clear corn syrup
- small pinch salt
- 380 grams / 1.5 cups 35% cream, cold
Place chocolate in a medium-sized bowl. Heat the first measure of cream with the salt and glucose in a small saucepan until bubbling hot, then pour in two additions to the chocolate, stirring gently after each addition. Once smooth, stir in the cold cream gently, transfer to a clean container, cover and chill for at least 5 hours.
Once the ganache is fully chilled and matured, transfer to a large chilled bowl and whip until it reaches soft creamy peaks. Do not over-whip, or it won’t pipe smoothly. IF it’s over-whipped, add a small amount of fluid cream to fix it. Fill a piping bag with a tip of your choosing and blob attractive cream hats on your cupcakes.
Sprinkle with toasted flaky coconut. Done!