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Do you like coconut? Not everybody does, which, I must admit, I find confusing. Like when people don’t like chocolate. It just doesn’t compute. Of course, I don’t prefer a number of things that other people swoon over (scallops, lobster, olives, flan…). And my second child gives me personal lessons on palate preferences when she turns down pretty much everything I make with her diplomatic phrase “this is not my favorite Mommy.”

Well even my beautiful picky Ellie will eat these lovelies. These are the cupcakes that people ask about year after year at my daughters’ school bake sales and these are the cupcakes that I make when I get that coconut cake craving. They are very coconutty, and sweet, but not too sweet. Nothin’ fancy about these, but they are delicious!

And despite my friends’ differing opinions on coconut, these cupcakes always manage to disappear when they are brought to any gathering.

My Favorite Coconut Cupcakes
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten

CAKE

  • 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
  • 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
  • 7 ounces shredded coconut, unsweetened preferred

FROSTING

  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
  • 7 ounces shredded coconut, unsweetened preferred

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. Divide the batter among the cups. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Take care not to overcook because there is a danger that the cupcakes may become dry. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

VERY IMPORTANT: Store at room temperature. Do not refrigerate!

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