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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ina's Coconut Cupcakes

I've seen the episode of Barefoot Contessa several times where Ina makes these cupcakes. Before I saw the episodes I never liked coconut. Just seeing these cupcakes converted me. I was hoping they would live up to all of their hype and finally had the chance to make them for my friend's birthday. I was elated when Amy said she loved coconut in everything. Sadly her birthday celebration plans fell through so I was left with 24 coconut cupcakes to myself. Which was peachy because they are delicious!

The cake batter was very simple to make. Something about the first few ingredients (perhaps the 5 eggs) makes it look slightly curdled but I read in her cookbook not to be alarmed. The recipe made exactly 24 cupcakes and I believe would make 2 round cake layers as well if you wanted to make it into a cocount layer cake.

I've made a lot of cream cheese frosting and this recipe was one of my favorites. The almond extract really finishes it off nicely. It is a lot of butter but I never really worry about calories when I bake anyhow. There was a good amount of frosting left over but not enough I think to half the recipe.

So with all my leftover cupcakes, I had lunch with my grandparents who loved them. I still have some which I think I'll take to school and leave in the teachers lounge tomorrow.

The Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cupcakes
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 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 liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.