Vanilla Bean-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

After several years of wanting one, Jess and I finally got ourselves a stand mixer.  Our birthdays are only about two weeks apart, so we figured instead of each of us getting the other something small, we’d get something we’ve both really wanted for quite some time.  It’s nothing fancy, just a basic Kitchen-Aid model, but it’s a good feeling to know that the next time we come across a recipe that advises us to use our paddle or whisk attachment – well, we’ve got that covered.  After it came in, our only problem was figuring out just what exactly we wanted to make with it first.  We knew we wanted to make cupcakes (and judging by our most popular posts, you all want to READ about cupcakes), but we weren’t really sure what flavor we were in the mood for.  After poking around our cookbooks and the internet for awhile, Jess came across this recipe for Vanilla Bean-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting on the Bon Appetit website, and we both knew we had found the perfect recipe – and if everything we use our new mixer for turns out this well, it’ll be a great investment indeed!

Vanilla Bean-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting
(from Abigail Johnson Dodge at Bon Appetit magazine)

  • 2 – 13 to 14 ounce cans of coconut milk, reduced to 1.5 cups
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2.25 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract.  We splurged and went for the vanilla beans because we wanted that speckled look (and the flavor was great).  After you’ve scraped the seeds, you can pack the empty seed pods with white sugar in a glass jar to make a delicious vanilla sugar.

Ahead of time, reduce your two cans of coconut milk in a saucepan until you have somewhere between 1.5 and 2 cups.  Bring the milk to a boil and reduce heat, stirring occasionally.  This should take around half an hour, but perhaps longer.  Don’t be scared when the coconut milk begins to separate – you’ll be able to stir it all back in together before you use it. You’ll want this to be chilled before you use it.

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your cupcake pan with your liners. beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in seeds from vanilla bean and remaining egg. Add half of flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk; mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake your cupcakes until a toothpick comes out clean; about 20 minutes. Place on a cooling rack.

Coconut Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup of the reduced coconut milk
  • Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 1.5 teaspoons extract
  • 1.5 cups shredded coconut, toasted and used for garnish

Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, seeds from vanilla bean, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy.  Pipe your frosting onto the completely cooled cupcakes (or just smear the stuff right on) and top with the toasted coconut.  We’re trying to learn how to use frosting bags to make all those nifty icing designs, and it’s certainly harder than it looks!

These cupcakes were a lot of fun to make (especially with the new hardware) and the flavor was outstanding.  The reduced coconut milk really adds a lot of richness and flavor to both the cake and the frosting, and using vanilla beans gives everything that nice speckled look like you get with good French vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean-Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

  1. This vanilla bean-coconut cupcakes looks D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!! Can’t wait to try one. You guys are doing a “great job”.

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