Vanilla cupcakes are good.
Coconut vanilla cupcakes are TO DIE FOR.
Personally, I just love all things coconut. These cupcakes were my way of breaking in my new stand mixer. And they were perfect! Challenging without being tedious – I always hate being bored by recipes and these cupcakes did not fail me. The secret to the intense moisture and flavor is reduced coconut milk, which is easy if not time consuming to make.
The recipe can be found on Epicurious.
Cost: My philosophy for ingredients is the same for clothes: quality over quantity. I’d rather bake fewer times and be able to splurge on my ingredients when I do, although I rarely go for the REALLY good stuff (ie – Valrhona chocolate or real vanilla beans). That being said, I decided that, in celebration of winning my stand mixer, I’d splurge just a little bit more. And I think it was worth it.
- Organic King Arthur Flour. 4.99 (I bought a small bag)*
- Organic Nature Forest coconut milk 2.50 x 2 cans
- Land O’ Lakes sweet cream butter – 4.99 (I thougth going for the organic high-end one, which was like 7$, was a bit too far)
*It’s actually cheaper to order it online. Just a tip! :)
Reducing the Sugar. I generally don’t like altering recipes because, 1. the author worked hard on it and 2. it can often change not only the flavor of the product but its intended texture. Many people don’t understand that sugar provides the sweetness AND much of the moisture for the product. That being said, it is a VERY sweet recipe and I did have to reduce the sugar to 1 cup for the cupcakes and 2 cups for the frosting. The result was still a bit sweet but not overwhelmingly so.
Nixing the coconut flakes. I’d like to say it was professional baker foresight not to include the flakes, which would have made the cupcakes disgustingly sweet. This is true in the long run, and I suggest people do that too (or buy unsweetened flakes), but really I just couldn’t afford it with all the other costly ingredients.
Reducing coconut milk. Two things about reducing. First, I think organic coconut milk reduces faster than the regular kind. I don’t know why, but when I measured my coconut milk during the process I found I had reduced it far too much than it had predicted given the time. Second, the recipe calls to reduce it to 1 1/2 cups but then the recipe only calls for 1 1/3 cups. Just reduce it down to 1 1/3 if you want the richer coconut flavor. You’re welcome for saving you from having to have 1/6 cup of reduced coconut milk leftover in your fridge.
Results: I’m told that the coconut flavor is not very noticeable. Personally, I really liked the subtlety of it. As for texture, I’m not sure waht I did wrong (or if this was intended), but there the texture was rather dense and reminded me of cornbread. Granted, I LOVE cornbread and this wasn’t a problem for me.
Changes in the future: As I’ve noted, I will stick with the reduced sugar. It’s just too sweet! Although, I may add just a little more to the icing to avoid the “butter” flavor of it.