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Saturday, January 27, 2007

The hazards of getting a little too creative....

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And perhaps a little too cocky as well. ;)

So I managed to have not one but two minor disasters in the kitchen today. All in the name of cupcakes.....very very sad. And a little sore. (more on that later).

Anyway, I'm heading to a close friend's birthday cocktail party tonight and asked if she would mind if I brought some cupcakes. Being a sane person, she accepted the offer (I mean, who doesn't love cupcakes). I'm a regular reader of the cupcake blog and when chockylit invited readers to participate in a cupcake round up, creating their own flavours, I was sold.

Except.....I'm not a baker. And I"m not terribly creative when baking is involved. And when it comes down to making up some sort of filling.....I'm a downright failure! So sad.

My initial idea was to make coconut cupcakes with pomegranate filling and coconut vanilla buttercream pomegranate filling never turned into filling. It stayed liquid. So I'm not sharing the recipe for it as it, quite frankly, sucked.

I was so dismayed....I even put it outside for a bit to try to help. I know, you're thinking....why not just put it in the freezer? But the deep freeze is merely -18C, which just simply can't compete with the -25C temperature outside (did I mention I'm wearing a COCKTAIL dress tonight? I'm going to FREEZE).....anyway....I luckily had an unopened jar of Bonne Maman 4 fruit conserves. Thank goodness. This is terrific jam (my absolute favourite is the cherry one) and thankfully it makes a more than adequate cupcake filling.....though I'd still like to explore the idea of a pomegranate curd at a later date.

So, while it's not the most original cupcake in the world, it actually tastes amazing. Surprisingly, it's one of the best cupcakes I've ever eaten - a very fine crumb, delicate flavour....totally rocks. Pain in the ass (chocklit, I don't know how you do this all the time! I spent all freaking day on these!!!!!!)

With no further ado...

Fruit-filled Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut-Vanilla Bean Buttercream frosting


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature (if you forget to take them out, just put them in a bowl of warm water for a minute or two)
1 t vanilla
1 t coconut extract
90 g coconut cream dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
2 3/4 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/8 t salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tins with paper liners (this made 30 'medium sized' cupcakes). In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat until fluffy.
Creaming Butter and Sugar

2. Add eggs, one at a time, continue beating until smooth.
3. Add vanilla, coconut extract and coconut cream/water mixture and beat until well combined.
4. In another large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the wet ingredients and beat until well combined.
5. Using a 1/4 cup measuring scoop, carefully spoon batter into muffin tins (I bake 1 tin at a time). Don't quite fill the cups.
6. Bake for 18 minutes (check with an UNUSED toothpick to see if they are done).
Cool the cupcakes.

Coconut Vanilla Cupcakes

Meanwhile, you could attempt to make filling. I did, failed miserably, and then raided the fridge.

To fill the cupcakes, use chockylit's trademark cone method - using a sharp knife, cut a cone out of the top of the cupcake.

How to fill Coconut Vanilla Cupcakes

Cut the tip off the cone, and put a small amount of filling in the middle of the cupcake.

Filled cupcakes

And then just put the cone back on top. Ice as normal.

Coconut Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (you could use shortening, but you'd have my eternal disdain....YUCK)
1/2 vanilla bean
1/3 c whipping cream
1 t coconut extract
2 T milk
3 c icing sugar
1.5 cups sweetened coconut

1. Using your mixer (and if you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, I'm SO freaking jealous!), beat the butter until soft. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean, into the butter (put the empty pod in with some sugar to make vanilla sugar!).
2. Add whipping cream and beat until fluffy.
3. Add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time and beat well. The icing will likely be too stiff, so add about 2 T milk (more or less to your liking) and beat until combined. Once the icing has a nice spreading consistency (you can't really pipe this stuff due to the chunky coconut - it clogs up all my tips!).
4. With a spoon, stir in the coconut. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.....this stuff tastes like coconut cream pie filling.....soooooooooooo decadent....
5. Ice your cupcake and top with desired decoration. :)

I used burnt sugar:
Iced cupcakes with burnt sugar topping

Burnt sugar messy topping:
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c water
1 t maple syrup

1. In a small pot on medium heat, combine sugar, water and syrup, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
2. Allow sugar to boil until it turns golden (at which point you should watch it like a hawk!). Technically, it should reach about 295-300F on a candy thermometer if you happen to have one (aka the "hard crack" stage....not to be confused with performing druggies....).
3. When the mixture is golden and not too burny smelling, immediately immerse the bottom of your pan in ice water to cool it down, and then drizzle the mixture on to a silpat (if you don't have one, try parchment paper - this stuff is VERY sticky and super hot). If you can, use a whisk to spread it out a bit to make cool designs.
4. WIthin a few minutes, it should have hardened and you should be able to break it into pieces to decorate your cupcakes.

ooooo....and when you're trying to pry hardened sugar off your careful. I was so exuberant in my attempts that when the sugar finally came off.....I managed to thoroughly slice open not one, but TWO fingers. Nice. Only I could do this.....

So....between the pomegranate soup and the burnt sugar slasher, I'm doin' great today........ ;)

THanks for reading! Looooooooooooooooooooove the comments. :)


Brilynn said...

I don't know what you're talking about, those look like pretty good cupcakes to me, even if they did take hours, you could have lied and said you whipped them up in a flash...

Kirsten said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and was in TEARS laughing at your cupcake post. Despite your "disasters" they look sooo delicious and beautiful. :)

BubblyBunny said...

I really like how your blog entries use up the span of the browser window. Mine always look kinda squished and I don't know how to make the post area wider. Can you give me a few tips? Thanks!! :)

doctor T said...

Did you use pomegranate juice for the filling or pomegranate molasses? I need to buy pomegranate molasses for some Turkish recipes but I'd like to use it for more than just a few meals , but I'd like to know if it's actually decent in baking beforehand.

The vegan recipes look yum. We're passing them on to some newbie vegans who seem to think they can only live on tofu, lettuce and brown rice.

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

brilynn - thanks! They did end up well, despite the issues involved in their creation.

kirsten - glad to be of amusement! i'm so clumsy that some days, I really shouldn't be allowed out of bed....and yet I persist....

BubblyBunny - I went into the template and changed the pixel width from 660 pixels to 800. I also changed the width of the main column from 410 pixels to 500 and something. My flickr pictures are 500 pixels wide, so I needed to adjust to take advantage of that. It still looks a bit squished on my monitor (it's a widescreen one), but I am happy with the change. It was trial and error though!

doctor T - in my "attempt" at filling, I used pomegranate juice, sugar, cornstarch and butter. Perhaps molasses would work better. I'm mostly sad because pomegranate juice is super pricey and I boiled away $5 of the stuff. d'oh! For your vegan friends, I recommend buying the Vegetarian Times mag (lots of vegan recipes) and checking out'll never be a vegan, but there's a TON of wonderful food out there!

Thanks for all the comments!

Anonymous said...

I just loved this post! I think the cupcakes are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Those cupcakes look delicous! I love the whole package--the filling, the frosting. Wish I had one right now!

Anonymous said...

Hey!! LOVE your blog! Will definitely have to try those muffins!! They look really yummy! Like ALL your recipes do! :) Keep them coming darling!


Anonymous said...

Sorry you cut your hands cleaning the rock hard candy off your spoon.
Im not much of a candy maker but as a child I would help my mother from time to time when she made holiday candys and suger after math can be a troublesome beast. From years of cuts and burns trying to quickly clean this rocky mess we dawned on a technic we got after making simple syrup. Once done with pan, and any thing you might of used the hot melted suger grab and put on the stove. Get some some hot water and place it all in the pot and heat it up, if you spoon is covered in suger soak it the water it soon wont be. This will make a simple syrup with our left over mess. Although you will probably not be using this blend in a cocktail with lil pathience you will has a nice blend of suger in water with the help of your burner on med low(pathience with heat even if not consuming: burning suger before desolved makes a terrible smell and an even harder mess). Once that happens have your sink set to hot pour syrup with the stream of hot water and quickly wash with a spong. This is now about as easy as washing a Kool-aid pitcher and your spoon will show no evidence of its candy past. This is so simple Im imberessed I tried cleaning it the hard way for so many years. Goes to so you the solutions that can be simple are sometimes the ones over looked. Hope this saves your hands from cuts in the future.

Dazy said...

Hey I too tried baking cup cakes and fairy cakes just after my exams got over. I go weak in the knees with a mention of muffins and cakes.

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