Saturday, February 12, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes

Working my way through the original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook let me to these little lovelies last weekend. And as hard as I tried to give all of them away, Brian and I were still left with a dozen. So we decided to exercise a little self control and not eat them all in one day. Yeah, that didn't happen. They maybe lasted until Monday. Brian would eat one for breakfast, then we'd each have one in our lunch, for an afternoon snack, and then for dessert. If I haven't mentioned it before, I love, love, love Brian's sweet tooth. He is so fun to bake for, and loves all my treats. Anyway, I mention all of this as a round about way of saying that these cupcakes are a. mazing. The use of the almond extract, that I've never used in cakes before, took these babies over the top, and gave them that little something extra. And, still wanting use up the extra buttermilk I had from two cakes ago, makes the cupcakes very moist. I got about 28 or so cupcakes from one batch, using regular size muffin tin. But I only used half a batch of frosting. I actually use this frosting for my coconut cake, and knew how much it made. So I cut it in half and had plenty to top the cakes with. Also, note that she uses extra large eggs in this recipe. Ina seems to be the only one using extra large eggs in baking, but I didn't doubt her, and went ahead and got the larger ones for this recipe. Loved the cupcakes. Love Ina.
I gave these away as a thank you. How cute do they look in this box?
I wrapped these up as pre-Valentine's Day treats!

Coconut Cupcakes
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups of sugar
5 extra large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pur almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
 Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  • In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
  • With mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. 
  • Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well
  • In separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  • In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. 
  • Fold in 7 ounces of coconut. 
  • Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  • Fill each cup to the top with batter
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are brown and toothpick comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes. 
  • Remove to a baking rack and cool completely. 
  • Frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle (or dip) in remaining coconut. 
Cream Cheese Icing
(This is the half recipe, for more just double)
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • In bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts. 
  • Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth
Source: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Dark Chocolate Frosting

    As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I tried a new chocolate frosting recipe. I have been doing some cupcake research for a upcoming wedding I'm baking for. In doing so, I stopped by our local cupcake bakery, Sprinkles. If you haven't been there, or heard of them, it's probably because they don't have a location in your city, yet. Sprinkles is the original cupcake bakery, and you may have seen owner, Candace Nelson, as a judge on Cupcake Wars. We've had our Newport Beach location for quite a while, but I usually only go there with out of town visitors. We buy a ton of different flavors and then taste test all of them. Their cupcakes are delicious, and they have so many flavors to choose from. The cupcakes are moist and the frosting is so creamy and full of flavor. But my favorite part is the simplicity in which they are frosted and decorated, the whole store, really. It's modern, sophisticated, simple and cute. Anyway, point of my story is that I went to google to see if I could find any of her recipes online, and I did. She did a few videos and lent a few recipes for I tried out the dark chocolate frosting and loved it. (She didn't give any recipes for chocolate cake though, sad.) The frosting calls for sour cream, so I'm not sure how long you should let them sit out, but we were eating them a few days later and lived to tell about it. I made a half a batch of frosting, and had enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes, probably more. I thought the frosting, on top of Ina's chocolate cake, tasted pretty close to a Sprinkles original.
    Sprinkles Dark Chocolate Frosting

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Chocolate Buttercream Cake (or Cupcakes)

    Making this recipe happened for two reasons. The first, and most common reason I make anything, I've been wanting to try this recipe. And two, I still had quite a bit of the German chocolate cake frosting that I thought I'd try on another variety of chocolate cake.

    As I sit her on my computer and look and a ton of different blogs and cooking websites searching for new recipes to try, across the room sit my lonely cookbooks, just longing to have their pages flipped through. I have made a point of collecting some good books, but find that I barely look at them. So as a small goal, I want to try to cook out of them more often and then share the recipes with you. Here's the first one. This recipe comes from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, and while she has many different cookbooks, this is the original one. I have seen Ina make this cake in a tiered form on her show, and you can find the recipe online here. I was comparing that recipe with the one in the cook book, and it looks like she just doubled the recipe to make the larger cake.

    I really liked this recipe. I actually don't have a ton of chocolate go to cakes, so was glad this one worked out. I made the recipe as written except omitted the coffee. I know the coffee just gives a depth of flavor, but I don't have coffee around, so I just omitted it.  I decided to put them in cupcake form, just for fun, and topped them with the left over frosting, and some new chocolate frosting (recipe to come). The recipe makes an even 24 cupcakes. Next time I think I will try this out in cake form.
    Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
    The Barefoot Contessa

    1 3/4 all-purpose flour
    1 cup good cocoa powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/4 teaspoons salt
    3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
    2 extra large eggs, room temperature
    2 teaspoons pure vanila extract
    1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
    1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
    2 tablespoons brewed coffee

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Sift together flour cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, on high speed, about 5 minutes
    Combine the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee (if using) in separate bowl.
    On low speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture.
    Mix the batter only until blended.

    Pour batter into two 8-inch, butter and floured, round cake pans, or 24 cupcakes.
    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
    Cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Remove from pans to finish cooling
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