Coconut Cupcakes

Posted by on Jul 6, 2012 in Desserts | 3 Comments

When Clara died, she expected clouds and harps, the whole bit. She thought she’d be greeted by her grandpa and her old dog Joe, maybe a mate or two who had gone up before her.

She was not expecting to open her eyes and find herself in a bakery. She was not anticipating that it would smell so lovely and warm and yeasty like bread from the oven, which was certainly the reason for the smell of this heaven, or that when she looked down, there would be a cupcake in her hands, the bottom just cooled, the pillow of icing in the most perfect curl she’d ever laid eyes on.

Or that when she glanced up from the sweetness of the treat in her hand, she would find a woman, too large and joyous for the tiny wooden chair that held her, regarding her with a wide smile.

“Well, well, well. Clare is it?” the woman said and her voice sounded like a laugh. “We’ve certainly been waiting a long time for you, my dear.”

Full disclosure: I was supposed to post this before the 4th of July holiday. As you can see, it is after the 4th of July. It is now the 6th of July.

You guys, it feels like Nicole has been gone for YEARS. Not that it’s my excuse or anything. Except it kind of is- I feel a little bit like Dad when Mom’s away- standing at the counter in his pajamas, hair standing up on end, surrounded by kids who demand breakfast, wondering where we keep the damn cereal.

(My apologies to all of you stand-up Dads out there, the ones who know precisely where the cereal is and also the bowls and spoons. Clearly, I’m channeling my own father here. Except when it comes to the hair.)

(My apologies to my father.)

There will be no apologies for these cupcakes. None.

I love Ina Garten recipes. I love reading the words “a pound of cream cheese.” Sometimes, you just have to lean into it. You have to go full tilt into sugar/fat madness. You need to grab a few bowls, a few million pounds of butter and put on your favorite blue denim shirt (we love you, Ina!) and go to town. Coconut Cupcake Town.

If these babies look familiar, it’s because we featured them in our free July desktop calendar this week. Can you blame us? They’re like little cupcake angels with their spiky caps.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to stand at the metaphorical window and wait impatiently for Nicole to come home.

Coconut Cupcakes

Source: Barefoot Contessa Cookbook | Makes 18-20 Cupcakes | Print Recipe


3/4 Pound (3 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Cups of sugar
5 Extra large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 Teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 Teaspoons of pure almond extract
3 Cups of flour
1 Teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon of kosher salt
1 Cup of buttermilk
14 Ounces of sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

1 Pound of cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 Pound (3 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 Teaspoon of pure almond extract
1 1/2 Pounds of confectioners’ sugar, sifted


1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

3. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

4. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well.

5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

6. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined.

7. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

8. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter.

9. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

10. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

11. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

12. Frosting: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts on low speed.

13. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

14. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.


  1. Concetta Cutrone
    July 7, 2012

    Nice. Jubits

  2. Madonna
    July 8, 2012

    I always thought I was an inadequate cook until I started using Ina’s recipes. Turns out I had been using bad recipes. I will put these on my list for next week, only I always have to scale the recipe down because I do not need 20 cupcakes now. Thanks for the fun read.

  3. Jenny
    July 9, 2012

    They look sensational – my mouth is watering!


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