Sunday, February 15, 2009

Time for ValentiMes!

Happy Belated Valentine's Day everyone! This post is two weeks late, since I made these cuppies while (not) watching the Super Bowl. *Gasp!* I think something like the History Channel was on in the background. There's something about that narrator's voice that soothes me and puts me in "the zone" for decorating and assembling baked goodies.

So what do you think of my latest cavity-inducing creation? Such an effective use of sugar-on-sugar technology, is it not? Well make that sugar-on-sugar-on-sugar technology, if you count cupcake-frosting-cookie. My plan was to have the cookie on top as a removable edible decoration, but alas-- the cookie stuck so firmly to the frosting that attempts to dislodge it only resulted in the complete removal of frosting from the mini cupcake top. And a bare cupcake is a sad cupcake, so the logical solution to the problem was to take a giant bite of all three components. Sugar buzz, anyone?

Speaking of cavities, I just got the sweetest set of sparkly tooth earrings in from the talented Komodokat, a Houston-based artist. Check out her Etsy Store and buy something!

P.S. This was also the perfect opportunity to use up some of the mini cupcake liners my aunt so generously sent me. Thanks, Aunt B.! Love ya! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Purists Beware...

Alright boys and girls, repeat after me: "There is nothing wrong with using boxed mix and canned frosting." That is, if done correctly. (You can stop scoffing at me now) Case in point: the coconut cupcake.

Could I have made this from scratch? Sure. But why take a chance on some recipe "from the Internet" when good ole' Betty has stood the test of time? From-scratch baking can produce (for some people, myself included) wonderful but sometimes unexpected results. Baking is, after all, an exact science. Do you only bake from scratch and love it? And never experience epic FAIL? Good for you. I envy you. 1,000 points and a high-five for ya! :)

Coconut Cupcakes
(Yields 21-24, depending on how generous you are. I was greedy with my batter scoop and only got 21. 24 can easily be had though.)
  • Cupcake:
  • 1 box Betty Crocker® White Cake Mix
  • 1-1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut bits*
  • Frosting:
  • 1 tub Betty Crocker® Whipped Cream cheese icing
  • 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Sweetened Coconut flakes for top, if desired
* I used some I found in the natural snacks section of my local grocer, but frozen varieties are also available. You can also use the sweetened flaked kind, but keep in mind the texture will be coarser.

Preheat oven to 325°F and place paper baking cups into muffin tins. Combine all cupcake ingredients and blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape bowl down, then turn mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Portion batter into muffin tins Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and tests done. Cool completely before frosting.

For frosting, blend softened cream cheese with vanilla until well incorporated. Fold in tub of icing until combined. Frost cupcakes (you'll probably have some leftover), then top with coconut flakes if desired. And trust me, you DO desire. How much coconut? I started with a 7 oz. bag which claims to be 2-2/3 cups, and after topping 20 cupcakes I had maybe 2/3 cup left. You may use the whole bag if you make 24 cupcakes.