Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lamingtons to Cupcakes

When searching one day for a delicious home-made udon recipe I discovered the blog of Seattle women who is so good at baking and cooking that she puts me to serious shame ( Seriously, who makes cookies that look like Wii remote replicas? That said, I do have a full time job and only have a few precious hours every day to bake, unlike her who as far as I know (she probably won't ever read this....even though I gave her this site....dammit) has all day and all night to fritter away baking. Sorry. I wish I was able to do that, but then again maybe I don't because I think I would be so frustrated and stressed out baking all the time and having no one to eat it but myself and would probably be huge and angry and stressed. Not good. I'll keep my job thank you. Also, she has a kid, so maybe we are square but even still, she definitely schools me in the baking department.

These were and are still my thoughts on the matter, but my baking self-esteem soared to new heights after making these delightful mini coconut cupcakes. Part is borrowed, part is my own, and the sum is f-ing fantastic. Really.

If you are a fan of coconut, which I hesitate to even call myself that because I'm borderline obsessed with it, then you will LOVE these. Or if you like white cakes, or vanilla, or just sweets in general, these are incredible.

So I borrowed the recipe from the Seattle blogger who BORROWED it (HA! she gets recipes for her stuff too! I'm not bitter, no not at all) from Rose's Heavenly Cakes cookbook which I must say is the most amazing cake batter/cake ever. Ever ever ever. So moist and crumbly and so flavorful.

The story begins with me trying to imitate Seattle blogger's (a.k.a. Not So Humble Pie-my title's better no?) lamington recipe from which she used the coconut cake recipe from Rose's cookbook. I tried really hard to do my own thing. Instead of coating the mini cakes (which is really all these "lamingtons" are) in a white chocolate ganache and then dusting them with coconut, I attempted to frost each side of each cake then roll them in coconut. I quit after two. Way too difficult to frost since the cake is super moist and crumbly. Not going to happen. I caved, made some ganache, ended up sopping it up with the cakes on a piece of wax paper (yea...not my finest moment, but it actually worked pretty well) and then rolling them in coconut on a plate. This was so much easier and they actually turned out pretty well, in a sort of chaotic way.

The next day I decided to try again. Why? I'm not sure. But this time I made the batter and turned them in to mini cupcakes. What could be cuter? and whipped up the same frosting which was my standard buttercream with a 1/2 tsp (I think it's safe to add a full tsp. in retrospect) of coconut extract (the most amazing culinary creation ever. How did I live without you before?!). Used a large tip on my pastry bag and piped a big dollap (I love the way it looks, simple and cute). Now, where I start to school Mrs. Not So Humble Pie! (ok maybe not...) I took about a cup of coconut and toasted it in a frying pan on the stove. Then I took a pinch of it and placed it ever so carefully (not really) on the top of each mound of buttercream. Really pretty simple and cute. And I must say so not fussy like the lamingtons. I hate fussy desserts, they just make me angry. The thing is to make it look fussy but only make it if it's not.

Here is the recipe for the best coconut cake ever: (this annoys me because the blogger actually finds the grams useful. Really? This is a little insufferable. So, for the record: 180g = ~5 egg whites and 400g = ~6.3 oz (or a smidge more than 2/3C). See now aren't I nice and helpful? Please, who uses grams? I'm a a scientist and use grams pretty often and this doesn't work at all for me. Again, sorry, God I hope she doesn't read this....I just deleted my comment with my blog website. But dammit, it just says it was deleted but my username is still there. Oh well. Like she's going to check....(?!)

Rose's Heavenly Southern Manhattan Coconut Cake:
180 grams egg whites at room temperature
1 1/3 cup canned coconut milk, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
400 grams all-purpose flour (or cake flour) sifted
400 grams super fine sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

And here is my old friend, the buttercream recipe now turned into coconut buttercream (which I really think would be good on anything you would frost with normal, vanilla buttercream. It's so subtly coconutty. So delicious and really enhanced the vanilla buttercream taste. really).

1/4C softened unsalted butter
2C powdered sugar
~4-6 Tbs heavy cream
1tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract

If you want to make something quite simple but beautiful and cute make these! Love them.

Photos by Collin Monda