Saturday, August 28, 2010

Drum roll please!!

So it turns out that coconuts are not only for Monty Python to make horse clop noises after all!

When I was younger I lived in Germany with my family. Military brat :-) One happy memory I have is going to Globus and dad would buy these awesome candies. They were called Raffaello. There were three little confectionery bits of heaven in a wrapper and I always got one of them. After reading a blog from Willow Bird Baking I had an awesome idea. This idea involved making a cupcake to feature this fantastic candy.

First I will say if you have not checked out Willow Bird Baking to go do that, seriously, finish reading this blog and then click as fast as your fingers will click and go check out her site. This site has some awesome recipes and makes even the novice baker feel like she can make amazing things like croissants.

For these cupcake I used her "Ugly as Sin" cake recipe and the pastry cream that went with it. The flavor was amazing. I did use Splenda instead of sugar as both my hubby and father are diabetic (so bad when there is a baker in the family haha)

On top I also used the cream cheese frosting that I got from the Joy of Baking site that I have used with my red velvet cake. This was WONDERFUL!!

So while this all tasted amazing there were a few things I would do differently next time. The actual cake batter while very yummy and tasty did not work so well as a cupcake. I don't know if it was the fact that I used Splenda or what but the cupcakes did not rise as well as I had hoped. It was also difficult to get out of the cupcake wrappers. Next time I will most likely use a different cake recipe.

The pastry cream was absolutely AMAZING!! In fact I used to be able to buy this phenomenal coconut pie but the store I got it from discontinued it. What I liked was that it was not the traditional custard pie and it had such great flavor. Well this pastry cream is IT!! I am sooooo going to use this as a pie filling as well. So be looking for that post.

Lastly, here are the recipes used. Please don't forget to go check out Willow Bird Baking.

Cake :
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
13 1/2 ounces (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature (I left this out accidentally; still worked great)
6 large egg whites, at room temperature

To bake the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle of the oven. Grease and line with parchment two 9×3-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Mix the coconut milk and vanilla, set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes (scrape down the bowl). Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add half the coconut milk and mix thoroughly. Continue to add the flour and coconut alternately, ending with flour. Add sour cream and mix until incorporated. Set aside in a large bowl if you don’t have a spare bowl for your mixer.

Beat the egg whites in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment (if you are using the same bowl, be sure it is VERY CLEAN or the whites will not whip up. Any fat on the bowl will prevent the whites from foaming). Beat the whites on high speed for 2-3 minutes, until it forms soft peaks. Don’t overdo it or the whites will get too stiff and not fold into the batter smoothly. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it. Gently fold the remaining whites into the batter.

I got about 36 cupcakes from this recipe. I baked them for about 10 minutes at 350. While still warm I scooped out part of the cake from the top (just enough to put the cream in later)

Coconut Pastry Cream :
1 can (14 fluid ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
pinch kosher salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup whipping cream

To make the coconut pastry cream: Heat the coconut milk, sugar, salt and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and corn starch. Once the cream is hot, remove the vanilla bean, scraping out any remaining seeds and returning them to the cream. Add 1/2 cup of the hot cream slowly to the yolks, whisking as you add. Then pour the yolk mixture into the pot of hot cream and whisk. Continue to whisk with heat on medium-high for 3 more minutes. The mixture will turn thick and bubble. You need to continue to whisk for the full 3 minutes or the pastry cream will separate once it is cool. After the 3 minutes, whisk in the butter. Add the coconut flakes. Pour into a shallow dish to cool.

Cover with plastic wrap pressed right against the pastry cream. This will prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface. Refrigerate for at least an hour or freeze for 30 minutes. Once it is cold, stir the pastry cream to loosen. Whip the 1/2 cup cream to medium peaks. Stir in 1/3 to the pastry cream to lighten. Fold in the remaining cream until the pastry cream is nice and light.

Once this is done spoon into the cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting :

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 1/2 (360 ml) cups heavy whipping cream

1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature

1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

Step one:

In your food processor, or with a hand mixer, process the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and process until smooth. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Step two:

Then, in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. With a large spatula, gently but quickly fold a little of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining whipped cream, in two stages. If the frosting is not thick enough to spread, cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour, or until it is firm enough to spread.

The end result looks like the picture above.

I put this in a decorators bag and this spiraled it onto the cupcakes and over the pastry cream.

Last step is to top with a Raffaello candy!!

ENJOY, I know I did :-)


  1. Amy, these are BEAUTIFUL and sounds so amazingly tasty!! I'm sorry to hear the cake didn't translate into cupcakes well -- I feel like I've tried that before and was similarly disappointed? I can't remember; have to go back through the files! But perfect cake or not, these are such a WONDERFUL idea! Cannot wait to post about it on Facebook and show people what you've done! May I post one of your pictures on Willow Bird Baking with credit and a link to your post?

    Thanks so much for sharing! Amazing!

  2. Absolutely Julie!! Without your post these would never have come about :-) I will definitely be trying again with a different cake.