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Coconut Cupcakes with Pink Vanilla Buttercream

October 12, 2010

*This post made it to the Foodbuzz Daily Top 9 on 14 Oct 2010!*

Aren’t these cupcakes just pure happiness? I wanted them to look happy, because they were inspired by a happy surprise I received two weeks ago.

It was a Tuesday afternoon. I had just wandered into my house when I noticed a little blue slip of paper lying innocently on the ground, informing me that I had missed a package delivery. A package? But I hadn’t ordered anything… My curiosity peaked, I dashed to the post office first chance I got, and was very pleasantly surprised to see Hui Leng’s name on the envelope. For those of you who aren’t totally immersed in the food blogosphere, Hui Leng, better known as tigerfish, is the author of Teczcape – a wonderful and educational food blog that I enjoy very much. Hui Leng really knows away around her kitchen, and is especially handy with her rice cooker. She has, in fact, recently published a book called the Everything Rice Cooker Cookbook, that contains 300 recipes you can try with just a rice cooker!

So anyway, I was so impatient to see what was in the package I just sat in my car in the post office parking lot and ripped the enveloped right open. And to my delight, I saw this:

What’s that, you say?  A beautiful fairytale book? Guess again! It is actually a….

… beautiful soap box! And the green tea soap nestled inside smells just divine. Thank you so much Hui Leng for the pretty surprise! It absolutely made my day.

Inspired by my surprise fairy present, I wanted to bake something that looked whimsical and flitty floaty magical too. I settled on some coconut cupcakes that I had been eyeing in this gorgeous cupcake book, written by the talented owners of Primrose Bakery in the UK. I have many many cupcake recipe books, and this one might be the prettiest and most well-written and -organised of the lot.

This recipe appealed to me because I had (and still have) quite a bit of coconut milk and desiccated coconut waiting to be used. And I was excited at the prospect of making some girly pretty frosting so I could use the lovely blue sugar flowers my dear friend Wendy had given to me quite some time ago.

The cupcakes were delicious – just bursting with coconut-y goodness. The buttercream was a tad too sweet for my taste, and this was after I had reduced the amount of sugar by quite a bit; but hey, it was easy to work with and looked nice! (I’m the sort who scrapes off 80% of all frosting before I eat any cupcake anyway.)

*By the way, for those of you who are new to or terrible at frosting like I am, please do yourself the biggest favour ever and get a 1M piping tip. It’s really all you’ll ever need to do classic cupcake frosting like this, and it is so easy to use.

Coconut Cupcakes with Pink Vanilla Buttercream

(adapted closely from Cupcakes fron the Primrose Bakery)

Click here for printable recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 regular cupcakes):

For the cupcakes

  • 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 120g plain flour
  • 125ml coconut milk
  • 25g desiccated coconut
  • Coconut flakes, lightly toasted in the oven (optional – I didn’t have any)
For the buttercream (makes just enough to ice the 12 cupcakes and no more)
  • 75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 40ml whole milk
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1-2 drops of red food colouring

1. (Cupcakes) Preheat oven to 175 degC (350 degF). Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.

2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on high speed till pale and evenly mixed (you will still see the sugar crystals). Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed for about a minute after each one. Finally add the vanilla and mix briefly.

3. Sift the self-raising flour and plain flour into a large bowl. Add one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Then pour in one-third of the coconut milk and beat well. Alternate the remaining flour and milk until it is all used up. Use your spatula to fold in the desiccated coconut.

4. Spoon the batter into the cupcake papers, filling each one only two-thirds way. Bake for 25 minutes until the cupcakes are slightly raised and golden brown. (A skewer inserted in the centre of a cupcake should come out clean).

5. Leave pan to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely.
If your cupcakes rose quite a bit like mine did, then grab a kitchen towel and gently press down on the tops of the cupcakes while they’re still warm.

6. (Buttercream) While cupcakes are cooling, make your butter cream. First, sift your icing sugar. Then using your electric mixer still fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar till smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat till fully blended and buttercream is smooth. If you want pink icing like I have here, add the 1-2 drops of red food colouring (NO MORE THAN 1-2 DROPS!) and beat thoroughly.

7. Ice your cupcakes! And if you have coconut flakes, go ahead and sprinkle them over the icing.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. Cons permalink
    October 12, 2010 7:39 pm

    Gosh they are so sweet looking. Very girly indeed.

  2. October 12, 2010 11:24 pm

    That soap box is so pretty. So sweet of Hui Leng to send you this beautiful gift. I love your cupcakes with that pretty pink color.

  3. October 13, 2010 5:11 am

    Wow Clare, your talent and creativity flow right through with the quick thinking of making some whimsical fairy-tale cupcakes with that soap-box. My goodness, the fairy’s peachy-pink dress matches the frosting cream.

    (Frankly, the box attracted me more than the soap. But the soap does have a soothing green tea scent. The surprise was to send something not food related…ahhahaha….)

  4. Shirley@kokken69 permalink
    October 13, 2010 8:33 am

    Clare, this is so pretty…. And your frosting is lovely!

  5. October 13, 2010 12:30 pm

    These cupcakes are lovely, I love the pastel colors.

  6. October 13, 2010 3:05 pm

    Wow, these are so beautiful!

  7. October 13, 2010 4:38 pm

    What a sweet surprise from Hui Leng – She’s always so 细心 🙂 Your cupcakes are so pretty in pink with dainty looking blue flowers!

  8. October 13, 2010 7:51 pm

    perfect lil cup cakes- looks awesome!

  9. October 13, 2010 10:57 pm

    Those are so pretty. Love the color on the icing and little blue flower. Well I don’t think too sweet will be problem with me. Except for when I am in dentist’s office I take my sweet tooth everywhere.

  10. October 14, 2010 1:41 am

    delicious cupcakes
    beautifully decorated

  11. October 14, 2010 10:17 am

    I agree these look like pure happiness! Simply beautiful! And I bet they tasted even better ;)!

  12. crustabakes permalink
    October 14, 2010 4:08 pm

    i love the pastel colours. they really do look whimsical!

  13. October 14, 2010 4:31 pm

    When I read your post the first question that popped into my mind was “I wonder what icing tip she uses?” I shall rush out and get a 1m if it produces such a beautiful result.

  14. October 14, 2010 4:45 pm

    Cons, ann, Shirley, Lisa, Dimah, noobcook, Suchitra, sensiblecooking, torviewtoronto, Amy, crustabakes: Thanks so much =)
    tigerfish: All thanks to your inspiration friend! And your little note about it being non-food related totally made me smile. Good thinking! =)
    Hester: Absolutely do that! I’m horrible with icing so if I can do it you surely can. Go to this excellent page on the Wilton website for the technique.

  15. October 14, 2010 5:50 pm

    The soap box looks like a book. Love these beautifully swirled cupcakes!

  16. October 14, 2010 7:21 pm

    Definitely some cute girly cupcakes! Great job on making #1 on the Top 9!

  17. October 14, 2010 10:51 pm

    Those are gorgeous!! I’m making 150 cupcakes for my wedding and will definitely get that size tip. They look perfect 🙂

  18. October 14, 2010 11:26 pm

    cupcakes are my weakness – especially pink ones 🙂

  19. October 14, 2010 11:50 pm

    Oh i lovveee Pink and ur cupcakes are absoultely cuteeee, congrats on Making it to Top 9, thats how i found ur wonderful blog too:-)
    Happy day to u!!

  20. October 15, 2010 12:21 am

    Congrats on the top 9. They look absolutely adorable and I love coconut cakes. Must be delicious too.

  21. October 15, 2010 12:57 am

    These are the most perfect and beautiful cupckakes I’ve ever seen…seriously! The heavenly pink lucious frosting, and decoration. I would be almost afraid to bite into it, by ruining the decoration. LOL!

  22. October 15, 2010 2:03 am

    Such pretty and delicious looking cupcakes, yum!

  23. October 15, 2010 3:53 am

    Love your pic and post!! Congrats on getting to Foodbuzz Top 9!!!

  24. October 15, 2010 8:42 am

    These look so pretty and girly. I bet they’re just as yummy. And I adore those cute little blue sugar flowers.

  25. October 15, 2010 9:05 am

    I don’t which I like more – the cupcakes or the soap box. Very nice.

  26. October 15, 2010 9:18 am

    wow! Beautiful soup box and lovely cupcakes!

  27. October 15, 2010 10:32 am

    Angie, Peggy, jennynoowyn, Mia, Anna, Elisabeth, 5 Star Foodie, shannon, Jennifer, The Klutzy Cook, Ellie: Thanks so much =) =)
    jaclyn: So excited for you! Send some pictures of the finished product k? I’m sure they’ll be gorgeous.

  28. lala permalink
    October 15, 2010 12:00 pm

    Wow, these are so, so pretty!

  29. October 15, 2010 4:50 pm

    Ooo, your cupcakes look and sound so delicious!

  30. October 15, 2010 7:20 pm

    Thanks lala and Joyti!

  31. October 17, 2010 9:44 am

    Love the frosting. I’m not so good at frosting and really *WANT* to be able to make mine look like this.

    I’ll look out for a 1m tip – thanks !

  32. October 19, 2010 9:29 am

    Thanks sarah-jane. Hope you find one!

  33. October 22, 2010 5:33 pm

    Hi Clare,
    This is so pretty. The pastel colour made it so sweet too!

  34. October 24, 2010 3:15 pm

    Thank you Jane!

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