Coconut Lime Cupcakes with Spicy Chocolate Buttercream
Recipe 1: Hot Stuff Comin’ Through
I started out with inspiration from my friend Joanne–a fellow cupcake lover and budding photographer–when she asked, “have you ever heard of Mexican chocolate?” I was intrigued as I am a lover of chocolate and spicy foods of any sort. I went on a long internet adventure to find out what exactly Mexican chocolate was and I ended up in a spicy place. Instead of searching for a traditional Mexican chocolate recipe which is sweet and nutty, I searched for something with a little more kick. Once I found my spicy chocolate frosting recipe, I thought about all the spicy foods I like to eat (mainly Thai food) and decided that a coconut based cake would be the perfect pairing for my frosting. And it was!
Coconut Lime Cupcakes w/Spicy Chocolate Buttercream
COCONUT LIME CUPCAKES
Adapted from which was adapted from
1/4 heaping cup flaked coconut
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of one lime
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
Generous pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup coconut milk or cream
Juice of one lime
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (or 180 degrees C). Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Beat together butter, sugar and zest until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in egg. In a separate bowl, sift flour and salt together. Stir in flaked coconut and set aside. In another bowl mix together lime juice and coconut milk.
Alternating between the flour mixture and coconut milk mixture, add to the butter mixture beginning and ending with the flour.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven allow to cool for 1 minute. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.
CHILI CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM
Keep in mind this makes a lot. Even with cutting the recipe in half I still had a lot more buttercream than was needed for the 6 cupcakes I was making.
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 stick of butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp whole milk or cream
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each burst) or with a double broiler.
Cream the butter on high using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the sugar half a cup at a time along with the milk or cream. For stiffer consistency add more sugar and for a more smooth frosting add more milk.
Add in the melted chocolate and spices. Beat on high until fully incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Verdict: Where do I start? Well I have nothing but good things to say about the cake, it was moist and the flavors came through perfectly and the added texture from the coconut was a nice bonus. I added a bit more spice to the frosting than was called for because I like spice. The combination of the two recipes didn’t turn out quite as good as I had expected, a little more tweaking is needed for the frosting.
Recipe 2: Rainbow Ruins
I had been seeing beautifully colored rainbow cupcakes all over the internet and was dying to use my new when choice number two hit me. I was going to make RAINBOW CUPCAKES! It looked easy enough. Even though most of the multi-colored sweets I came across were made by adding color to cake mixes, I thought it would be just as easy–and a bunch more tasty–if I added color to a scratch cake. It was fool-proof, or so I thought.
Rainbow Vanilla Cupcakes w/Whipped Cream Frosting
THE ULTIMATE VANILLA CUPCAKE RECIPE
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salg
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid.
Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don’t own a cooling rack) to cool.
Verdict: This was definitely the best vanilla cake I’ve ever tasted but I certainly did not achieved the desired rainbow look I was going for. This is because of two things: I didn’t use enough batter and I cooked them too long. These bake dates are a great way to learn what works and what doesn’t. I’m not even going to talk about the epic fail that was my frosting you can see for yourself from the photos that I did at least try to save my cupcakes.
Lesson Learned: When you’re just starting out, stick with simple recipes and chose only one so that all your concentration is focused on one thing.