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Friday 27 January 2012

Baking for Beginners: Coconut Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream

My best friend turns 30 in March and we're planning a 1940s party at the gorgeous little village hall where she got married. It's going to be darling. However, whilst the theme may be wartime, the nibbles most certainly won't be; and I'm getting my practice in early to ensure her party is suitably decadent.

The first recipe under scrutiny are these yummy coconut and champagne cupcakes.

You'll need:

For the cupcakes:
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 175g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 120g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 60g desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lime
  • 120ml coconut milk
  • Pinch of cream of tatar
  • Tablespoon of baking powder
For the buttercream:
  • 450g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 780g icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of Champagne
Make it!:

The cupcakes:
  • Separate the eggs into two bowls.
  • Beat the butter and half the caster sugar together until smooth.
  • Lightly beat the egg yolks a little at the time to the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla essence and lime zest.
  • In another bowl, sift the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the coconut and blend.
  • Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to the butter mix. In between adding the flour add a little of the coconut milk. Blend in a figure-of-eight making sure you get plenty of air into the mix.
  • In a third bowl, whisk the egg whites, the rest of the sugar and the cream of tartar together until soft peaks begin to form.
  • Fold in the egg whites to the flour and butter mix with a plastic spatula, taking time to ensure it's blended but not over-mixed.
  • Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases and bake for 18 minutes, or until the cakes are risen and golden brown.
The buttercream:
  • Blend the butter in a bowl until smooth.
  • Add the icing sugar a cup at a time, sifting first.
  • Once you have a smooth blend, add the champagne a tablespoon at a time and combine.
  • Once the cakes are baked and cooled, ice the cakes with plenty of buttercream, using the back of a spoon. Hold the spoon and rotate the cupcake.
  • Once the cake is evenly covered in frosting, bring the spoon to the centre of the cake and pull the spoon away leaving a little frosted peak.
If you want to colour your buttercream then add the colour at the same time as the champagne. Don't forget that too much liquid colouring can cause a bitter taste so look into coloured gels if you're looking for really rich colours. Oh, and also don't forget that green liquid food colouring is a big fat waste of time - if you want green use one part blue to three parts yellow.

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