Blog Archive

Monday, September 8, 2008

Coconut Addiction

Hello. My name is Iva and I am a coconut addict. No kidding. If you were to follow the trail of shredded coconut through our house, you will inevitably find me at the end of it, spoon in one hand, box of shredded coconut in the other. Yes, I said spoon. It is very serious indeed. Let's start again. Hello. My name is Iva and I am a cupcake addict. If you have ever met me you will know this is not far from the truth either. So to combine addictions, this installment is about coconut cupcakes - the Citrusy, the Fruity and the Chocolatey (a.k.a. the Zesty, the Sweet and the Very Tasty).

The recipes are from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, the pictures are my own, taken inside our most famous fridge and the appetite was supplied by 2-3 dozen carefully selected applicants who licked their fingers after eating the cupcakes without my asking them to do so.

Coconut Lime Cupcakes
1 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C coconut oil
1 C coconut milk
1/4 C soy milk
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp lime zest
1 C unsweetened coconut
Lychee Cupcakes
2 C all-purpose flour
5 Tbs ground flaxseeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C oil
1/4 C coconut milk
1 1/3 C granulated sugar (or less)
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz. lychee, well drained and chopped
1/4 cup lychee syrup
Toasted Coconut Cupcakes
1 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C coconut oil
1 C coconut milk
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coconut extract
1/2 C unsweetened shreded coconut

The basic idea is that you mix all the dry ingredients (sans zest, fruit and coconut) in a small bowl, beat all the wet ingredients in a mixing bow and then add the dry ones in 2-3 batches until there are no lumps. Finally mix in zest/fruit/coconut. Coconut oil is definitely worth the splurge as a jar will last quite a few batches of cupcake but don't go overboard because it is rich in saturated fats. I use the Spectrum unrefined organic coconut oil. Note: melt it in the microwave before incorporating but make sure it is not scorching hot. I also use vanilla soy milk whenever necessary. Divide batter equally between 12 liners and bake at 350F until a toothpick comes out clean.

The coconut lime cupcakes made an appearance at a farewell party for a friend of mine (along side the chocolate-strawberry ones). The cupcakes are not too tangy but the Lime Butter-cream Frosting (recipe below) bears quite a punch. The best part is that they look all so impressive with minimum effort - frost, dip in shredded coconut, decorate with a thin slice of lime, and everyone will ask you where you ordered them from. I use coarsely shredded coconut to decorate these.

Lychee and flaxseeds don't make frequent appearances in my pantry so it took a while to get to this recipe as simple as it is. There is only one difference in making these - beat the ground flaxseeds with 6 Tbs of water before combining with the other ingredients. The batter is really thick but they do rise a lot and the end product is moist and light. They turned out less sweet that usual as I cut down the sugar (1 1/3 C sugar seemed ludicrous) but the coconut glaze - 2 C powder sugar + 1/4 C cocnut milk - took care of that. I keep thinking that these may work with other fruit too. Peach-coconut? Cherry-coconut? Any thoughts?

Finally, the Toasted Coconut Cupcakes made an appearance at a recent Labor Day BBQ. And oh, my goodness! How come I had not made these before!?! They were so good! Frosted with Coffee Butter-cream frosting and decorated with toasted coconut (and maybe chocolate covered coffee beans) these are to die for! The batter is a little thick and adding a splash of soy milk to un-thicken it won't hurt but may be unnecessary. These are going to be made again...very, very soon!

A word on Butter-cream. My butter cream frostings were beyond terrible until one day I read the recipe and followed it. It says: beat butter/shortening/margarine until fluffy, add powder sugar, BEAT 3 MINUTES, add everything else, BEAT ANOTHER 5-7 MINUTES. This makes it heavenly, like whipped cream, absolutely worth the partial deafness of holding the mixer for 10 minutes straight. Simple butter cream is just this:
1/2 cup butter (or 50/50 shortening/margarine)
+ 1 3/4 cups powder sugar
+ 1/2 to 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
(+ a splash of liquid, i.e. milk/juice)

For the Coffee Butter-cream frosting add 1 1/2 tsp coffee extract or 1 tsp of instant coffee and 2 Tbs coconut milk to the basic recipe. For the Lime Butter-cream frosting, add 1/4 C lime juice and 1 tsp lime zest. Other variations include Maple Butter-cream (maple syrup and flavor), Lemon Butter-cream, Rum Butter-cream, etc. Let your imagination run wild!

And while the topic is coconut I have to relate my favorite coconut story which revolves around a whole coconut my Mom bought when I was 8 or 10. Unfortunately, the coconut did not come with opening instructions and that was in the days before the internet and YouTube so we couldn't conveniently watch a How to Open a Coconut instructional video. My Dad spend the better part of a Saturday in the endeavour of opening the coconut and used a significant fraction of his tool box in the process. I think in the end the power drill and the saw did the job. After we scraped the meat from the inside my Mom glued the coconut back together and we had it as a trophy for many, many years (for all I know it is probably still at home). The End.

1 comment:

H.L. said...

Iva, I think that it won't be long where you'll be collecting a whole set of recipes and your new career as recipe-provider and cookbook-writer will be well on its way.