COCONUT CUPCAKES WITH COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Recipe courtesy of Judy's Kitchen (http://judyskitchen.blogspot.com)
Adapted  from Coastal Living Magazine 
Rating:  10 out of 10


CUPCAKES:

3/4 cup unsalted butter

6 large egg whites

3 cups low-protein flour, such as White Lily all purpose flour**, or cake flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/4 + 1/8 tsp. Diamond kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp. table salt) 
1-1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract)

1/2 tsp. coconut extract*** (1-1/4 tsp. if using Spices, etc. brand

1 cup + 3 Tbsp. lite coconut milk*, divided

1 Tbsp. coconut-flavored rum, plain rum, or amaretto


COCONUT-CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

1 (8-oz.) package Philadelphia cream cheese****, softened

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1/8 tsp. Diamond kosher salt, or pinch of table salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla powder, or pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. coconut extract*** (3/4-1 tsp. if using Spices, etc. brand

up to 3 cups powdered sugar 

1 Tbsp. coconut milk, coconut cream or heavy cream, if needed 


GARNISH:  1 to 1-1/2 cups large-flake unsweetened coconut, toasted


*Regular coconut milk will make a denser cupcake. 
**Do not use White Lily self-rising flour.  Read package carefully. 
***Amount of coconut extract will depend on brand.  Taste batter/frosting to determine if more should be added. 
****Regular cream cheese works better for this frosting. 

MAKE CUPCAKES:  Set out butter and egg whites and 30-45 minutes before baking to bring to room temperature.  Whisk flour, then lightly spoon and level 3 cups onto wax paper.  Add baking powder and salt; sift together into medium bowl.   Set out muffin tins for 18 cupcakes; line with paper baking cups, then spray insides with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat oven to 350F.


In large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy and creamy.  Gradually add sugar, vanilla and coconut extracts, beating until well blended.  Add egg whites, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.  Add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture alternately with 1 cup coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour.  Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition.  By hand, stir batter with spatula to be sure mixture is smooth.  Divide batter evenly among paper cups, using about 1/4 cup for each.  Bake 18-22 minutes, or till batter is set but centers of cupcakes still look slightly wet.  Do not overbake.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.  In the meantime, combine rum with remaining 3 Tbsp. coconut milk, stirring well.  Spoon or brush mixture evenly over tops of warm cupcakes.  Cool completely before frosting.


MAKE FROSTING:  Beat cream cheese, butter, salt and flavorings at medium speed with electric mixer until smooth and well combined.  Gradually add up to 3 cups powdered sugar while continuing to beat on medium.  (If you like a sweeter frosting, add the entire package of powdered sugar, adding about 1 Tbsp. coconut milk or cream to make frosting spreadable.)  When all ingredients have been added and mixture is smooth, turn mixer on high and beat till fluffy.  If desired, garnish cupcakes with toasted coconut.