Wednesday, February 15, 2012

coconut vanilla bean cupcakes

I made these cupcakes days ago but I'm still eating them. I'm not gonna lie, they're kind of stale now. But they're still so good! I'm all alone, my other half has left me to go to a conference in Banff and I have nobody to help me out. Seriously. I've eaten lots of cupcakes. The thing that's saving my waistline is that, without Adam here, and facing an impending due date for a final project, I've been eating nothing but tofu stirfries and apples. And cupcakes. Ugh.

Can I tell you what I love so much about these cupcakes? They're flavoured with reduced coconut milk. That's right. You boil up some coconut milk in a pot for about 45 minutes until it's nice and thick. It's a coconut punch in the face. That's a good thing. If you even think about putting any other coconut flavouring in here, I will rain judgement down upon you so hard. Just trust in good quality coconut milk. Trust in its goodness. It will not fail you. It will provide you with moist, coconutty cupcakes. Substantial in their cakeyness (cakiness?), but also described by one guinea pig as "light." Good - all those sticks of butter fooled you!

coconut vanilla bean cupcakes
Adapted from
makes 18 cupcakes

reduced coconut milk
2 cans good quality coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1 cup reduced coconut milk, room temperature

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup reduced coconut milk, room temperature
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1/8 teaspoon salt (I forgot this, it was fine)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted for sprinkling

  • reduced coconut milk: On medium high heat, bring coconut milk to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and reduce for about 45 to 50 minutes. Keep an eye on it. The original recipe said it would be about half an hour. It should be reduced down to approximately 2 cups or a little over that. Remove from heat and allow to cool (I did this using a cold water bath and the fridge).
  • cake: Preheat oven to 350ºF and line your muffin tray(s?) with 18 liners.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Using an electric beater (mine is handheld), beat the butter in a separate large bowl until it has lightened in colour and is smooth. Add sugar and beat for 2 minutes or until well creamed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Scrape down the side of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated. Throw in the vanilla seeds and give it another quick whiz.
  • Add half the flour mixture and fold it in with a spatula. Pour in the reduced coconut milk and incorporate, then fold in the rest of the flour. 
  • Fill the liners 2/3 full and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Note: If you overcook these even slightly, they will be dry and crumbly. On the advice of a reviewer, I took them out when they were slightly underdone, and after sitting a couple of minutes off the heat, they were perfect. Allow to cool.
  • icing: In a medium bowl, combine butter, icing sugar, reduced coconut milk, vanilla bean and salt. Frost your cupcakes and eat them immediately.

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