Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Mocha Cupcakes

These cupcakes are the perfect combination of chocolate and coconut. Now, I know coconut scares a lot of people (why, I don't know), so if you are weary of coconut, try these out. It will be like a baby step. Maybe I will even get you to start adventuring out with coconut. Just maybe. 

I should probably tell you that although I like coconut, it's not usually my #1 craving when it comes to desserts. When it's paired with chocolate, well, that's a whole other story. I have a mild weakness for german chocolate cake (hello carmel-y coconutty topping) and chocolate dipped macaroons. There is just something about coconut and chocolate that is so delicious. Nutty, sweet and just a bit salty. That salty and sweet will get me every time. Darn it!

Now to the reason I decided to make these bad boys - Matt's birthday! His wife, Lauren, decided it would be fun to throw him a surprise birthday BBQ at their place. I thought she was going to tell him right before we came over, but she decided to make it a true surprise and not tell him at all. You go girl! You should have seen his face when the captain and I came through the door! It was a great afternoon of friends, wine and BBQ. I couldn't have asked for a better afternoon and was so glad we were able to help him celebrate his last birthday in the states (they are moving back home to England in a couple of months, SAD). To send him off to the last year in his 20's right and to put the perfect sweet note to the end of the night, I thought these cupcakes would be the best way to fulfill the birthday boy's love of coconut. I think they did just that - a soft chocolate and lightly scented coconut cupcake topped with mocha frosting and toasted coconut. Is your mouth filling up with saliva yet? Mine is. 

As much as I loved these, I will say that I had one complaint. No one else seemed to care about this, but I sure did. I am anal about my cooking though. I am sure you already figured that out. The base of this cupcake comes out so light and airy that the dense frosting kinda smooshes it. You would probably never notice, but I felt obligated to tell you this. Now you can't say I didn't warn you. Nevertheless, you must try these. So good. So delicious. 

toasted coconut - place in an oven for 350 and stir every five minutes until golden brown

mixing the batter

look who I caught licking the bowl! here is your first glimpse of the captain. isn't he cute? I think so.

ready to bake

frosting all whipped up!

cupcakes ready to eat. please don't lick the screen.

Chocolate Coconut Mocha Cupcakes (

For the Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1-3 teaspoons coconut extract (use more or less depending on how coconutty you like it)
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used instant decaf, but use fresh and fully leaded if you have it!)

For the Mocha Buttercream

4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 cups powdered sugar
3-5 tablespoons cold coffee (I used instant decaf, but use fresh and fully leaded if you have it!)

For the Garnish

1 1/2 cups coconut, lightly toasted (see recipe notes below)

For the Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add in the coffee and mix until just combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The batter will be thin. Using a large scoop (about 3 tablespoons), distribute the batter into the prepared muffin tins -filling about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes (check at about 15), or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove them onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

For the Mocha Buttercream

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until creamy. In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and mix at low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated, add in 3 tablespoons of cold coffee. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat the buttercream for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. If you want your frosting a little thinner, gradually add in more coffee, 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Frost your cooled cupcakes and garnish with toasted shaved coconut.

Please note that this recipe makes 24 cupcakes - 24 perfectly delicious cupcakes. You can always halve the recipe and make just a dozen, but if you are going to make a mess in the kitchen, make a mess  (wise words of the captain) and make all of them. Bring the extras to work, bring them to a neighbor, or make them for yourself!

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