With a lightly coconut-y cake and a generous dollop of caramel-y frosting, coconut cupcakes with caramel frosting are the perfect dessert for any occasion.
Caramel frosting is snarled in my hair right now and I’m so OK with it. Because however sticky my hair is, really I’m just grateful that I was able to capture these beauties on film. (Figuratively speaking. I know what century this is.)
A couple of weeks ago I had a near-death experience. For real. I was very close to dying.
OK maybe not quite. But my camera seemed near death and therefore I had a mild heart attack palpitation. But it was a very scary palpitation. (I’ve said before that I have a reputation for exaggeration right? See also: every time I’ve ever thought I had cancer. Or a stroke. Or hantavirus.)
I was setting up to take pictures of a batch of cookies but when I inserted the memory card into my camera’s first memory card slot I got an error message. So I stuck it in the second slot. Still got an error message.
No problem, right? Memory card failures are simple to deal with. Get a new one, problem’s solved. Right? WRONG!
A brand-shiny-new card didn’t work in slot one either. And that’s right about when my heart stopped. I squiched my eyes shut, said a little prayer, and stuck it in slot two. And it worked. No error message. Thank goodness!
But the mystery remained: what the heck happened with the first slot? The good people at Nikon told me to take it to a repair shop to have my poor camera diagnosed. They were pretty sure the repair shop would be unable to fix the problem and I’d have to send the camera in for repairs. And no, they couldn’t give me an estimate of how long I’d be camera-less.
But fortunately Nikon was incorrect and the repair guy fixed the problem while I waited. I was so happy the only thing I could think to do was bake cupcakes. Hence, the coconut cupcakes with caramel frosting you see here.
In the not-even-two years I’ve been blogging my camera has become like an extension of myself. A limb I couldn’t imagine living without. And the knowledge that all my limbs, camera included, are healthy means life is good.
Life is so good that we can eat coconut cupcakes with the smoothest caramel frosting ever. (It’s like edible, caramel-flavored silk or something. OMG! I can’t explain how silky-smooth it is.) And we can take pictures of those cupcakes and post them online, along with the recipe, so you can make them too. And you should. They’re perfect.
Coconut cupcakes with caramel frosting are a celebration of tropical flavor, caramel-y sweetness, and camera repair people everywhere.
- 1 (14-ounce) can full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 to 1 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- shredded coconut and additional caramel sauce for decorating (if desired)
- Place coconut milk in a large saucepan set over medium-high. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once coconut milk boils, reduce heat to medium-low and boil, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened and reduced significantly; this will take about 10 to 15 minutes. (It boils pretty violently so keep a close eye on it as it’s reducing.) Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Once coconut milk has cooled, pour it into a glass measuring cup. Add enough whole milk to make 1 1/4 cups liquid. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat for 2 minutes more. Stop mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat in vanilla and coconut extracts.
- Add dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Continue mixing until flour is just incorporated. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes, until just golden brown. Cool completely before frosting.
- Whisk milk and flour together in a medium saucepan until no lumps of flour remain. Place pan over low heat and bring to a slow boil, whisking constantly. Allow mixture to boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Mixture will be very thick and smooth.
- Transfer to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap down onto the surface of the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature. (If you don’t let it cool it will melt the butter in your frosting and you’ll end up with soup.)
- Once mixture has cooled, place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until very light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt and caramel sauce and mix to combine. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then turn mixer to high and beat for 5 to 10 minutes, until frosting becomes extremely smooth and very fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. (If frosting is too thin to work with easily, refrigerate for 20 or 30 minutes. Beat in mixer again until it becomes a spreadable consistency.) Decorate with additional coconut and caramel sauce, or as desired, then serve.