Every home cook needs a few easy, foolproof recipes up their sleeves, especially during the holidays. For Easter, these coconut cupcakes have everything you want: they're easy to mix, they're moist, and with the shiny white coat of icing and fluffy coconut, they look as good as they taste. And the best part? You only need one bowl.
Every Easter I think back to a ridiculously cute bunny cake that my great-grandmother used to bake from the pages of her well worn Baker's cookbook. Shaped like a rabbit head and blanketed in fluffy frosting and shredded sweetened coconut, the recipe was marketing genius for the Baker's people, and an absolute treat for any kid.
This Easter, I still wanted coconut, but with a much simpler recipe. That meant no mixer for creaming the butter and the sugar, and no whipped frosting. To do that, I took my favorite recipe for coconut bundt cake and cut it down to size to fit 12 standard cupcake cups. The batter is whisked in a bowl, which is easy as long as you start with very soft butter. I always use a scale for measuring out my flour—it ensures the right amount of flour and prevents dense cupcakes.
Most recipes tell you to sift the dry ingredients first, but I've found that the results are just the same without this step, so I add them straight to the bowl. To frost? An easy-to-mix confectioners' sugar icing. Because the cupcakes are already sweet from the coconut, a simple layer on top is all you need.
These cupcakes get their rich coconut flavor not from an extract, but from both the shredded coconut and coconut milk. Rich, full fat coconut milk, which is the liquid from squeezing freshly grated coconut meat, takes the place of dairy here (I substitute coconut milk in baked recipes all of the time). Though the flavor is subtle, it imparts an incredible buttery richness and a natural coconut flavor. For those who want a more "in your face" coconut flavor, just squeeze a few drops of coconut flavoring into the batter. These pretty cupcakes will be a fitting addition to the holiday table this spring.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of the new cookbook One Bowl Baking: Simple From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (Running Press, October 2013), and available at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell's, The Book Depository. Watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. Follow her Chocoholic, Chicken Dinners, Singapore Stories and One Bowl Baking columns on Serious Eats. Follow Yvonne on Twitter as she explores Singapore.