Cupcakes are cool!

Things I am obsessed with lately:
1. Katy Perry’s new song E.T.
2. Dropkick Murphy’s and anything Irish
3. BAKING!!

Soooo, how do I put this? I have a problem with cupcakes. That’s it. I said it. It’s not the kind of problem you might think…it’s more of a jealousy issue. A jealousy issue that extends to friends and family who may try to challenge my title (at least in my mind) with their very own “creations” (if you might call them that). As you can see, I am very bitter. And angry. Some days. Most days I go on with my life in beatiful cupcake peace, lest you ruin it by baking cupcakes.

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So, in the spirit of competition, even if it is only in my head (the “woman gene” as my boyfriend so lovingly puts it), I am posting this yummy recipe for coconutty cupcakes. I will say that they are not in the variety of super-sweet bonbon type cupcakes (although there will be more of that later, ohhh there will be more), they are more of a balanced and not-too-coyingly-sweet type. Of course they are yummy, and of course they are coconutty, but they are also something else entirely. That’s right, I’m throwing down the gauntlet…

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Coconut Cupcakes with Fluffy Cloud Frosting

1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature (salted or unsalted, the choice is yours although I
prefer the taste of salted butter in all my baked goods)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 (1/4 if using unsalted butter) teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift togetherthe flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in about half of the coconut.

Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Cut a small cone in the middle of each cupcake, leaving enough room for 1-2 Tbl of filling. Cut the bottoms off of each cone, fill each cupcake with enough filling to leave room for the top, and replace top. Frost the cupcake and sprinkle with remaining half of coconut, toasted (to toast simply put in a pan over medium heat until golden brown).

Coconut Custard Filling
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 eggs
3/8 cup white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the coconut and the vanilla extract.

Marshmallow 7-minute Frosting

Cupcakes from Ina Garten, filling from Allrecipes.com, frosting from Martha Stewart