August 23, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Curd

I think most people have a love/hate relationship with coconut.  Which side are you on?  Me, I'm definitely pro-coconut.  But I caveat that by saying I absolutely love coconut in sweets, not savories.   Oh gosh, not in the savories please.  

These cupcakes have a refreshing tropical flare to them.  The white cake is tender and moist with just a hint of coconut.  The mango curd has a silky texture and a bit of tartness from lime juice, which is a great contrast to the cake and swiss meringue buttercream frosting.  

Just seeing the mounds of coconut piled on top of the cupcake brings a smile to my face.  If you weren't pro-coconut before I challenge you to try this recipe.  Who knows, you just might change your mind.  

Coconut Cake (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

Yields 24 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 oz)
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 oz)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbl unsalted butter (6 oz), softened but still cool

2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut (decoration after the cupcakes have been frosted)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.

Pour milk, egg whites and extracts in a 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment at slow speed.  Add butter one tablespoon at a time.  Continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.  

Add 1 3/4 cup of the milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 90 seconds.  Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 45 seconds more.  Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl.  Return mixer to medium speed and beat 30 seconds longer.

Fill each muffin liner 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely.

Mango Curd

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbls cornstarch
1 cup pureed mango (from about 2 ripe mangoes)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 Tbls fresh squeezed lime juice
6 egg yolks, beaten

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, mango, butter and lime juice in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly.  Stir 1/2 of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to temper.  Return egg yolk mixture back into saucepan and bring just to a boil.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Take off heat and pass thru a sieve into a clean bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb unsalted butter cut in to pieces, at room temperature

Place sugar, egg whites and salt in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.

Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla extract, and beat just until combined.

Cupcake Assembly

With a sharp paring knife or apple corer, cut out a small well in the center of each cupcake.  Make sure you don't cut through the bottom.  Save the cake bits or eat them as a snack!

Fill each well just to the top of the cupcake with mango curd.

Pipe swiss meringue buttercream over cupcake, making sure that it covers the mango curd.

Sprinkle the cupcakes with sweetened, flaked coconut.


  1. Anonymous8/24/2010

    Beautiful! And I'm definitely pro-coconut--sweet and savory!

  2. Anonymous8/24/2010

    Looks yum! How do the cakes 'have a hint of coconut' when there s none in there?

  3. I'm not a fan of coconut & have spent most of my life pretending to be allergic to it so no one would expect me to eat it! haha But I have to tell you that these photos are gorgeous! Great shots!

  4. The hint of coconut in the cake comes from the coconut extract that's used.

  5. These look and sound fantastic, loving the flavour combo x

  6. Your photos and cupcakes are beautiful! I've never really liked coconut, (especially not in savory foods), but I'm bookmarking this recipe because it looks way too good to pass up!

  7. Oh I am SO pro coconut! And pro mango! Totally making these!

  8. Yeah, huge PRO coconut fan here. And definitely loving this recipe!

  9. These cupcakes really look great!! The only time of year that I bake cupcakes is Valentine's Day. I make these Be My Valentine Cupcakes for my special someone! These would be perfect for my niece's birthday. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Oh my gosh, this look delicious! And so beautiful! Your photographs are gorgeous.
    I've recently launched my own blog, I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think :)
    Thanks, and Happy Cooking!!!


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