Coconut Cream Cupcakes

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

I admit it– I’m not a huge coconut fan.  I feel like you might as well take a bite out of a huge bowl of string, as eat coconut.
However . . .
There are many, many people who love this tropical taste.  My Mom’s very favorite pie is coconut cream.  This past weekend, I made coconut cream cupcakes for a friend’s birthday, since Coconut Cream is his favorite flavor.
So, if you love coconut, then . . . wowza.  You will love these.  This is a coconut flavored cupcake with a coconut cream pie filling and cream cheese whipped frosting with toasted coconut on top.  So channel your inner Hawaiian and make these for the coconut (edible string?) lover in your life.
What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

(adapted from Beyond Frosting)

Cupcake Ingredients:

1/2 box white cake mix (232 grams)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1.5 egg whites (45 grams of cartoned egg white)
6 tbsp. coconut milk (86 grams)
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cupcake Filling Ingredients:

1/2 package instant coconut cream pudding (1.7 grams)
6 tbsp. coconut milk (86 grams)
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
(*the whipped cream ingredients, below, should be mixed separately and then folded into the pudding mixture after they thicken)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Cupcake Frosting Ingredients:

4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 pack)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar


Combine cupcake ingredients and beat until combined.  Divide into 6-7 cupcake papers, in a muffin tin.  Bake at 350 degrees for roughly 17 minutes, until cupcakes are golden brown and spring back when pressed. 

For filling, combine pudding, coconut milk, and coconut extract.  Whisk until combined.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream and powdered sugar with the whisk attachment of  your mixer until it becomes fluffy and firm.  Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture and refrigerate until cupcakes are cool.

To make frosting, beat the cream cheese, alone, until it is light and fluffy, with no lumps.  Add in powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.  Slowly add the heavy cream and mix until combined.  Switch to the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until the mixture turns into a light and fluffy frosting.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

It sounds a lot more complicated than it is.  There are multiple steps, but they are easy peasy.  You can do it– I promise 🙂  Let’s take a look at the process in pictures.

First, you are going to need some ingredients that you probably don’t normally have in your pantry.  The first time I tried to find coconut milk at the store, I had to ask 3 employees before one was able to help me find it.  I found this in the Asian section, but I have occasionally seen cans of it in the Hispanic foods, section, as well.  Check those places, first.  When you open the can, it will have kind of a thick white layer of coconut oil on top.  Just stir the thick stuff back into the liquid at the bottom until it becomes all liquid.  Set it aside. Dear coconut milk . . . your call is important to us . . . and we will be with you . . . momentarily.
To start with, I didn’t want tons of coconut cupcakes.  I only wanted 6 or so.  If you want a dozen cupcakes, use the entire cake mix.  I am using only 1/2 of a cake mix, because I didn’t want as many.  Feel free to double the recipe if you want to use your entire cake mix.
So how do you know how much “half a cake mix” is?  Well . . . the easiest way to tell is to use that handy dandy kitchen scale I’m always telling you about.  You definitely need a kitchen scale to make macarons (like our Mint Chocolate Macarons that we made, here, the other day)  I simply measured the weight of my particular white cake mix, and then I measured out half the weight.  Half of my cake mix was 232 grams.  I measured that amount into a bowl, using my scale, and dumped ‘er in.
Go ahead and add all the other cupcake ingredients to your mixing bowl (coconut, egg whites, coconut milk, oil, sour cream, coconut extract, and baking powder).  Mix everything together on medium high speed until combined.  Divide your batter (preferably using a cookie/muffin scoop so that all the cupcakes will be the same size) into 6-7 muffin cups, depending on how large you want your cupcakes to be, and bake them at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes until they spring back when touched and have a beautiful, golden brown color.  Place them on a cooling rack to cool while you prepare the rest of the magic 🙂
Now, while those cupcakes are baking (don’t they smell good?), go ahead and get your cupcake filling started.  To start, put 1/2 of a coconut cream instant pudding mix (using that kitchen scale, again, to measure exactly half the package) into a bowl and whisk in 6 tbsp. of coconut milk, as well as your coconut extract.  Just whisk until combined and set it aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, combine your 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 tbsp. powdered sugar.  We are going to make homemade whipped cream. You’ve never tried homemade whipped cream?  What????  You haven’t lived!!!!!  Well, don’t you worry.  Soon, you will taste the magic, for yourself.
Beat the cream and powdered sugar, with your whisk attachment, for a few minutes until it starts to look like . . . well, like whipped cream.  It will be nice and thick and hold stiff peaks when you remove your whisk from the mixture.
Your cream should stick straight out, in a stiff peak, like this, when it’s done.  Go ahead and taste it to make sure it’s right.  Taste again.  We want to be sure.  😉  Sigh.  Isn’t that perfection?
Use a whisk to gently combine your ingredients.  You don’t really want to “whisk” them– just stir, gently, and let the mixture flow through the holes in the whisk.  Alternatively, you can fold in the whipped cream with a spatula, but I had better luck with gentle whisk stirring, because there isn’t much filling, and it’s hard to “fold in” such small amounts.  Just don’t be too rough and tumble, or you will destroy the nice fluffiness you just worked so hard to create.  Place this mixture into the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Now, since your oven is on, anyway, go ahead and toast some coconut. Say what?  Oh yes . . . toasting ingredients really brings out their flavor.  Toasting nuts makes them so much tastier.  And toasting coconut does the same thing– it really intensifies the flavor, and it’s super pretty, too. To toast coconut, simply place a few tbsp. of shredded coconut into a small baking pan (I used 8×8) and place it in your 350 degree oven, with the cupcakes, for a few minutes.  After a few minutes, stir or shake the coconut gently to make sure everyone gets a fair share of the heat and no one gets too toasty.  Watch the pan, closely, since this process only takes a few minutes, and we don’t want to burn anything.
When your coconut is nice and brown, it’s done.  Take it out of the oven and let it cool until you’re ready to use it.
After your cupcakes have cooled, completely, you get to pretend it’s Thanksgiving and “enjoy stuffing.”  Thanksgiving . . . stuffing . . . get it?  Never mind.  Weak.
Basically, use something to “core” your cupcakes.  I used an apple corer to reach down into the cupcake (without actually going all the way to the bottom) and pull out the center. Save your plugs, too, since we will use those, in a minute.  You can use a spoon or knife, as well, to get the centers out of the cupcakes.  It doesn’t matter if they look super round and pretty, since we will be covering the scars with icing, later.  Icing makes everything better, right?
When all your cupcakes have been cored, go ahead and fill them with that coconut cream filling we made.  It has been napping in the fridge, but time to get out of bed and get to work.  I used a piping bag to fill these, but you can easily fill the holes using a spoon, also.
Remember those cupcake cores we saved?  Now is their chance to shine.  Break the very top off a cupcake plug and seal it over the hole that you just filled with coconut cream. Isn’t that pretty neat?  You just made filled cupcakes.  Easy peasy.
Now, for our cream cheese whipped frosting.  Start by placing your cream cheese into the mixing bowl and creaming it, by itself, until all the lumps are out and it’s nice and creamy.  Add in your powdered sugar and mix, again, until fluffy and combined.
Now, this part seems a little weird, but stick with me and it will all make sense.  With your mixer going on slow, gradually pour in your heavy cream.  Don’t turn up the mixer too high, or you will find yourself the proud owner of a milk bath.  The mixture will look nothing like icing– it will be super runny with weird chunks in it.  Gross.
Switch to your whisk attachment.  Start on slow speed and gradually turn up your speed, as the mixture thickens, to beat the frosting.
Something magic starts to happen.  Your liquid starts to disappear.  You start to see beautiful, majestic white peaks of sweet loveliness.  Your cream has . . . well . . . become whipped cream.  It should be unbelievably light and fluffy (and taste out of this world– you better try some . . . in the name of science).  Stop your mixer and scrape the icing out of your whisk.
Using a large cupcake piping tip (I am using Wilton 1M), make yourself a pretty little swirl of icing on top of your cupcake.  See?  Your beautiful swirl covered that little plug.  No one will ever know how in the world you got that icing in there.  You are certainly the clever one . . . breaking and entering and then covering your tracks.  Remind me never to play Clue with you.
Sprinkle a little of your toasted coconut over the top of the frosting.
Coconut Cream Cupcakes
Sigh.  I admit– even this non-coconut lover thinks these little beauties are pretty gorgeous.
So have yourself a cupcake.  Carve out 5 minutes of the day just to sit and savor.  You deserve it.
Because you did it. And I’m just so proud of you.


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