Sometimes, for no apparent reason, the baking bug bites me. Usually, I leave the baking up to my sister
who is amazing at her job of being a pastry chef at a top-rated restaurant here in Chicago.
Sometimes, when I bake, I end up with shapeless globs of oat-based something that taste good, but don't look so great, like my little tea cakes.
Sometimes I stick with breads and make challah
like I did last spring break. This year though, my first baking endeavor of spring break featured some of this
and about 15 of these
and 3 trips to the grocery store, one to a housewares store, and lots of work... and all because I had this inexplicable desire to bake something. I don't get it. Usually I just like cooking, and how I can eyeball my spices and everything comes out fine. Baking is HARD. Things have to be measured no matter what. Too much of one ingredient and not enough of another makes for the wrong texture and there's really no fixing it!
After incessantly polling on twitter
about what to make, I was referred to a bunch of amazing cake recipes by none other than Ina Garten. BethT
, I owe you a thank you! While looking for the carrot cake recipe you referred to yesterday, I found what I ended up making!
I bring you Coconut Cupcakes with Key Lime Frosting a.k.a. "Lime on the Coconut Cupcakes"
by Ina Garten
Makes 18-20 cupcakes (I got 20!)
* 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used one vanilla bean)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
* 3 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
I used this recipe for the icing, based off of the recipe from Hostess with the Mostess
. Hers called for lime juice and margarita mix, but I used more lime juice and no margarita mix at all.
Key Lime Buttercream Frosting
8 Tbsp butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp lime juice (approx 2 fresh limes)
1 tsp lime zest
5 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
cane sugar & fresh limes (for garnish)
In a large bowl (or in a mixer), combine butter, cream cheese, lime juice, and lime zest. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and continue beating until smooth. If icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar, a couple tablespoons at a time.
I used a pastry bag (from the housewares store) to frost most of them, but I got tired of the mess and ended up using a knife for the last few. You just get to see the pretty ones! I used slices of key limes and rock sugar to decorate them.
We got this amazing cake/cupcake caddy for a wedding gift from Heidi, and I'm so excited to have an excuse to use it! It's sitting, full of these amazing cupcakes, in our fridge. I'm using every excuse in the book to get rid of them so they're not lurking in our house... any takers? My hairdresser got one... two friends got a couple... which leaves us with way too many!
Oh right. THIS is why I don't bake...