Almost Coconut Cupcakes

Almost Coconut Cupcakes
Add 1 1/2 tsp coconut extract and increase the amount of mixed-in coconut for a true coconut cupcake. Or omit the coconut completely for a good-textured vanilla cupcake! The coconut milk doesn't add much for flavor, but I think it makes the cakes more moist.

1 c (237 g) unsalted butter, at room temp
2 c (397 g) sugar
2 eggs and 3 egg whites at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2 c (250 g) cake flour
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 c (237 ml) coconut milk
1/2 c shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line 3 cupcake tins (you may need fewer, I baked two six inch cake layers + cupcakes). Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the two whole eggs, one at a time, and reserve the remaining three whites. Add the vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then sift half off them into the egg and butter mixture. Beat until almost completely combined, then add half of the coconut milk. Beat until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of bowl, then sift in the remaining dry ingredients, beat, and add the rest of the coconut milk.

In another bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold into the batter along with coconut, and divide into pans. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Seven Minute Frosting
2 egg whites
1 1/2 c (298 g) sugar
1/3 c (78 ml) water
1 tsp vanilla

In a double boiler, combine all ingredients but vanilla. Beat for one minute. Boil water and cook 7 minutes, whisking/beating (I would recommend an electric beater. I did it by hand and it took AGES) constantly until it forms stiff peaks. Remove from heat, beat in vanilla, and allow to cool before spreading on cupcakes. Dip in coconut, if desired.
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