Coconut-Raspberry Cupcakes

My friend was quite fortunate to blissfully return home from school with a gorgeous four layer cake covered in coconut and raspberry (her two favorite things) and layered with buttercream and raspberry preserves .

My family, however, was not so fortunate. I began to hear rumors circulating the house that went like: “That cake would be so good now” or “too bad she didn’t make one for us”…So needing an escape from studying for finals, looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, and feeling sorry for my family’s stomachs empty of cake, the coconut-raspberry cupcakes were born! Despite being mini-versions of the grand cake I made before, the size doesn’t take away from the beauty (or the taste) of the original…in fact they’re even cuter.

recipe adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan:

Makes 24 cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 teas. salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teas. vanilla extract
1 jar of seedless raspberry preserves
1 7 oz. bag of Baker’s Sweetened Coconut Flakes

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place baking cups in cupcake/muffin pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together the milk and eggs in a separate bowl. Put sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl and using the whisk attachment, or a hand mixer, beat at medium speed until mixture is fluffy and light (about 3 minutes). Beat in vanilla extract, then add a third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed until incorporated. Next, beat in half of the egg and milk mixture, then beat in half of the flour mixture, with each addition mixing until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and egg mixture beating again until incorporated then add the last of the flour mixture. Continue beating for another 2 minutes until batter is very smooth and aerated.

Line cupcake pan with liners.  Fill baking cups 2/3 full with batter (I fill the baking cups using a small levered ice cream scoop so all of them are the same). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cupcakes are well risen, springy to the touch, and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack.

After the cupcakes have cooled, peel off the liners and carefully cut off the top of the cupcakes with a bread knife. Spread about a nickel size of seedless raspberry preserves on the inside and replace the top of the cupcake. If you worry about putting the top on exactly the way it came off, slice a tiny notch on the top edge of the cupcake, so when you replace the top, all you have to do is line up the notch (you’ll cover up the notch with frosting).

For the meringue buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teas. vanilla

Put the sugar and egg whites in a heatproof mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly for about 3 minutes. Make sure that the egg whites are hot to the touch and that the sugar is all dissolved. Transfer egg white mixture to a another large mixing bowl and using a whisk attachment on a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat on medium speed for 5 minutes until mixture has cooled. The egg whites should have about tripled its size and look like shiny marshmallow cream. Switch to a paddle attachment and beat in butter, first the full stick, until incorporated and then the half stick. Once all the butter is in, mix for 6-10 minutes to make the buttercream velvety. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Pile the tops of the raspberry preserve filled cupcakes with the buttercream, then sprinkle the coconut on top to completely cover the buttercream.

Place one raspberry in the middle of each cupcake…that’s it!  Enjoy!


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