My dad's birthday was this week, and if you ask me, there's no better way to wish someone a happy birthday than by giving the gift of butter and sugar. Throw in some coconut, and you run the risk of having your family members glare at you for one-upping their gifts.
Ina Garten may not have been much help with my Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies, but she does know a thing or two about coconut cupcakes. Let's be honest, I usually only make cake so that I have something to put frosting on, and if it ever becomes socially acceptable to eat frosting with a spoon, I may never bake a cake again.
Unless it's this cake. This cake is life-changing. In fact, a good portion of the batter never reached its full potential because I couldn't stop "tasting" it.
Just kidding. I never do that. Gross.
I did, however, eat one as soon as it came out of the oven. It was warm and vanilla-y and almond-y and coconut-y. A-mazing. Even more a-mazing than the cream cheese frosting that came later, which tells me two things: 1) This cake is really something special, and 2) I'm becoming a frosting snob.
It was bound to happen eventually.
Adapted from Ina Garten
For the cupcakes:
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
For the frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
24 ounces powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In an electric mixer at medium speed, cream the butter for about 1 minute. Add the sugar, and continue creaming until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
2. Reduce the mixer to low speed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each one. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Fold in half of the coconut with a spatula.
4. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, and divide the batter evenly between the cups. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. To make the frosting, cream the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and cream for 1 minute more. Reduce the mixer to low speed, and gradually add the powdered sugar until fully incorporated. Increase the mixer to medium speed, and beat for 2 minutes.
6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost as desired and top with the remaining coconut.