Monday, April 13, 2009

what is it w all the coconut?

It was Easter and I had been resisting the urge to make cupcakes for several weeks. I missed the friend's birthday window of opportunity and was waiting for an Occasion. Easter was just me, so not sure it counted as an Occasion but I had all the ingredients, a few hours, and Pandora tuned to Krishna Das with Aria as variation (why is Trance music so suited to baking?) The recipe I have been reading daily for nearly a month is from Bon Apetite. Coconut vanilla bean cupcakes.
First you have to reduce the coconut milk. This requires a high sided pot b/c the coconut milk boils up and over. The recipe said that it would and it did. Then it took nearly half an hour to reduce by half and then it had to cool, in a bowl. Unlike my sister, I'm not a clean as you go person, so I just grabbed the first clean bowl I saw on the counter to hold the reduced coconut while it cooled. After the bowl was filled and waiting in the fridge, I realized/remembered that the bowl was clean b/c I had eaten my lunch out of it and then put it on the floor for the dogs to lick clean. Hmmm. It just smelled like coconut milk, and my dogs are healthy. So I left it alone.
The cake is a butter, sugar, eggs, seeds scraped from a vanilla bean cake. Only baking powder for leavening and dry is added in 2 parts alternating w the reduced coconut milk, all mixed just until combined. Don't overfill your litttle cupcake liners.
The frosting is butter, conf sugar, more seeds scraped from another vanilla bean and the rest of the reduced cocnut milk. The consistency was wallpaper paste and the taste was insipid and sweet. I added some lemon juice to soften the consistency and brighten the flavor. I then waited 24 hours bc after all that frosting tasting, I just didn't want cupcakes any more.
Really really good. I might try sour cream or cream cheese in the frosting next time. The lemon overwhelms the coconut flavor. I also want to try it as a cake, but it is quite moist and dense, so it may be too much as a whole cake. But I want to make it for a friend's birthday, to serve with Moroccan Chicken pie. And cupcakes some how seem like a party cop out.


Stellasmydog said...

How do these compare to the coconut cupcakes in the Barefoot Contessa? Are they worth the extra work?

wyatteal said...

way better, more sophisticated and more genuinely coconut flavored. I like barefoot but for an occasion, I would always go with these and other than reducing the coconut milk, which is mostly a hands off operation, not much more work.