Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegan Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Toasted Coconut 5/5 Spoons

Finally back to review!

So I tried to make these ALL vegan but my local grocery store does not carry Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (jerks). I definitely have cut down on my dairy consumption in the last week or so and I'm pretty proud of myself for that. I'm avoiding cereal so I don't use skim milk, have been making smoothies with almond milk and soy yogurt and want to make dairy-free calzones this week.

(Photos courtesy of Everybody Likes Sandwiches)

It was my birthday on May 1st and I turned 29. I won't get into birthdays because I think I take a much more cynical view than I should. It has nothing to do with getting older, it has more to do with the pressure of doing something awesome on your "special day" and other things. Typically I would have made some chocolate concoction but as soon as I found these vegan coconut cupcakes, I was ready to rock.

Here are my notes:

-- I used 3/4 c. sugar instead of a full cup. I think next time I could cut down a tad to 2/3.
-- As any baker has done before, I forgot a major ingredient. THE SALT! I was so mad at myself when I realized it but honestly I don't think it was the worst mistake ever. It might have been nice with it but it was still nice without it.
-- Instead of white vinegar I used apple cider, it's pretty much what I always use.

This cakes were tender and chewy but I wouldn't necessarily say overly coconut-y. I think next time I will toast the coconut that is added to the batter but overall, these were totally wonderful. And heaven help me, I will remember to only fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way to the top. It is one of my bad habits.

Another wonderful thing that came out of this recipe was being able to finally perfect my cream cheese frosting. It is crazy easy but does something that you wouldn't expect! Here we go:

1 8 ounce container cream cheese, cold (Not room temp! It is a much firmer frosting that way. I used low-fat, you could really use non-fat or full fat, whatever you wish here.)
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temp (This definitely needs to be soft.)
2/3 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

Cream the cheese and butter with a hand held mixer on low to start (don't get it all over yourself!). Up the speed until you get a nice cohesive creamy thick looking mix. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate. Then add the sugar 1/3 c. at a time until all looks well and it is nice and thick and well integrated.

That was easy, huh? Toasting coconut is even easier. Take about 1/3 c. of coconut and place it in a dry skillet over med-low heat. Do not crank the heat or you will have a gross burnt mess. Stir every 30 seconds until the coconut is almost all brown but specks of white still show through. It should take about 4 minutes. Let it cool before sprinkling on top of your cupcakes.

Obviously I think you know how to put a cupcake + frosting + toasted coconut all together. When these are finished they are so beautiful. I almost wanted to take all kinds of food porn pics of them but decided against it because the smell was too intoxicating.

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