More Dessert

I realize this is the second posting in a row concerning baked goods, but I just can’t help myself. I told my sister that all I wanted for Mother’s Day were those unbelievable coconut cupcakes she makes, and she delivered. Let’s just take a look, shall we?

They really are like little drops of heaven. Now that I’ve sufficiently licked my computer screen, let’s get down to business.

First of all, I’m sorry to report that, unlike my last dessert commentary, these have nothing to do with healthful eating. In fact, they’ll probably take a year or two off your life. But, as Paula Deen says, if I get hit by a truck tomorrow and die without ever using all that butter, I’ll be mad. You’re seriously going to have to do about 20 extra Tracy Anderson sessions after these, but they’re worth it.

Secondly, these babies are a process. Abby gets up at the crack of dawn to start sifting the flour and doesn’t drop the final coconut sprinkle on until sundown later that day. Ok, so it doesn’t take that long, but I would allow several hours to craft these little gems.

And finally, here is the recipe. I believe it’s a Barefoot Contessa original, so Ina, if you’re listening, thanks for making us all really fat. Enjoy!

Coconut Cupcakes

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one 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 three 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 cup 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. Frost with cream cheese icing and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

It is very important that the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature and that the confectioners’ sugar is sifted to ensure no lumps in the icing.

Makes 18 to 20 large cupcakes.