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


  1. Hi :) *Waves*

    Gorgeous cupcakes.

    (P.S. I emphasize weights over volume because 1 cup of flour doesn't always equal 1 cup, but 100 grams always equals 100 grams.

    Did you know, that depending on how you fill the cup (scooping vs. say filling with a spoon) can mean the difference of 30 grams per cup? There can be even grater variation given the degree of aeration between brands, or even individual bags, of flour. It all adds up...)

  2. Oh, Al. You kill me. When I read your post on FB re: Lamingtons, I was like WTF is a Lamington? Sounded like some British family or town. Anyway, when I realized they were that deliciousness I tasted on Monday, it all became clear. I thought they were delicious.

    Granted, this comes from the girl who once enjoyed Twinkies without an ounce of shame nor regret, but please do keep the treat samples coming.

    Ms. Humble, that goes for you too, should you ever require a taste-tester.

    Just saying.

  3. Hi Ms. Humble,

    I'm totally cringing right now. I'm the insufferable one. It comes from jealousy, promise. hahah, it's all in good fun I hope! You totally school me in everything baking/cooking so I have to fight back some how right? Even if it's totally passive aggressive. Sincere apologies. But I really still can't believe you read this?? With 1500 followers how do you have the time? I still dilligently read your blog and know that I couldn't even make half of the stuff on there without having a nervous breakdown so bravo to you for you patience and determination. Hopefully we can still be amiable at least on the web? Sorry again, I'm such an ass.....

  4. A fellow biologists who bakes? Of course I read your blog!

    I was thoroughly amused by the post, no worries.

    Ms. H.

    (Oh and I got a email last night from Malaysia complaining that I don't do all my measurements in grams. I can't win! Heh)

  5. haha! The people are very demanding....

    I wont complain about the grams anymore. I mean, how hard is it to do a simple conversion? Especially when they have those handy ones online. I just like to complain I guess....

  6. You should have entered those lamingtons into my competiton!

    And just to add my opinion: grams make the world go round. Well, maybe not, but they do mean you get consistent results, unlike stupid cup measurements.

    And: your cupcakes are bee-yoo-tiful. :)

  7. Thanks! Mr. P I wasn't aware of the lamington competition, that would have been fun! Although I'm not so sure mine would have been up to snuff. Taste wise, definitely, but looks wise, they still needed some more refining. I know I should embrace the grams, perhaps someday I wont be so resistant to it.

  8. But your lamingtons are really pretty! Have you SEEN mine? I have found them to be the single-most difficult thing to beautify in the world (Ms. Humble did a great job, I must say!). I caved and used garnishes. Don't care, won't care.

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  10. I will just have to enter next time. I'll vote at least though!