Tonight we had dinner at Evan’s sister’s house. They’ve just moved back into town recently so we were really looking forward to going for dinner and not having to drive 4 hours to get there. It’s so nice to spend time with the kids and babies while eating some delicious homemade lasagna and Caesar salad made by the Super Mom herself, Kristi.
All day I was thinking about what I should do next for the blog. When Kristi texted me and asked me to pick up a dessert I was suddenly inspired to make cupcakes for dessert. I found a classic cupcake recipe here and decided to double it and do 1/2 classic for the kids and 1/2 with coconut for the more adventurous types. I had bought almond extract back during the holidays and forgot to use it so I added it into the recipe as well. I came up with the icing just by looking in my cupboards and fridge to see what I had. I came up with a chocolate peanut butter icing with a touch of almond.
This is my adaptation of the recipe (note: I doubled the original recipe. This version yields 24 cupcakes)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut + 1/4 cup for garnish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with liners. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a large bowl mix the eggs, butter and sugar. Add the milk and then follow gradually with the rest of the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix the batter. If it is lumpy that’s ok.
Fill the muffin tin with the batter and bake for 20-25 minutes (check with a toothpick: stick it in the middle and pull it out, if it comes out with batter on it bake for a few more minutes. If it’s clean it’s done!). While the first batch is baking, lightly fold the coconut into the remaining batter.
When they are ready, let them cool on a wire rack. Line the pan again, and fill with the coconut batter and bake them the same way as the first batch. Once they are cool, decorate any way you like!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup chunky natural peanut butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave (about 1-1/2 minutes). Add the peanut butter and nuke for about 20 seconds to make the peanut butter easier to mix. Add the icing sugar and mix. Use the milk to make the icing thinner if you need to. Use your judgement, if it’s too thick add some more, and if its too thin add more icing sugar or pop it into the fridge for a bit. Since I don’t own a piping bag I put it into a large freezer bag and cut the corner off. It works great and it’s the easiest way to ice a cupcake. The classic cupcakes were topped with dinosaur sprinkles and the coconut ones were topped with…well, coconut.
Many of you out there have probably heard someone say something like “you can’t mess around with a baking recipe, it’s a science.” Well I want you to know that for the most part, that person was wrong. You can absolutely substitute and alter almost every part of a baking recipe. Keep in mind that baking soda and powder are used to create the rise in things like cookies and cakes so you won’t want to substitute those. You can sub out some of the flour with coco powder for a chocolate cupcake. You can use some sour cream or yogurt instead of milk to create a moist and tangy flavor. Add puree fresh fruit or use some honey instead of all of the sugar to make it a bit healthier (note: you will have to add a tiny bit more flour to make up for the extra liquid in the fruit and honey). Have fun with this recipe, you can really create something unique and delicious.