let the easter play – coconut cupcakes

let the easter play – coconut cupcakes

About this time of the year, the world of food bloggers world is flooded with Easter related posts. We barely got through the preparation for Passover and now it’s onto the finish line for pastels, chicks, and bunnies.

I grew up not observing either holiday. In Hong Kong, unless you were Christian, Easter as well as Christmas was more commercial Hallmark-like holidays than true religious observances. Until I came to the States, Easter meant an annual extravagant buffet luncheon with the family.

Another thing I associate Easter with is craft projects. I clearly remember my excitement about learning how to dye and paint eggs in grade school. It was only a decade ago that I learn how to make a sugar egg from a friend and decorated it.

Even since I started my blog, I resisted on the topic of Easter because there are just so many fantastic posts already. This year, however, I’ve fallen under the spell of cuteness and have an urge to play with my food.

Coconut Cupcakes

yield: 12 cupcakes


2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish
1 bag of speckled chocolate eggs ( I used M&M)

8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
1-1/3 cups (6-3/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, from a can
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Coconut Buttercream, recipe to follow


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place unsweetened coconut on a baking tray, bake for 7-10 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from oven, set aside to cool completely.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla, almond and coconut extracts and mix well.

4. In 3 parts, alternately add the flour mixture and the coconut milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in shredded coconut.

5. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 24-26 minutes, until the tops are slightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Coconut Buttercream

yield: enough for 12 cupcakes


2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter (10 ounces), softened
2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk


In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low, add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl, add both extracts and coconut milk, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl during the process if necessary.


1. Set aside 1-1/2 cups of buttercream and place the rest into a piping bag fitting with a star tip (1/2- inch in diameter)

2. Using a small off-set spatula or a knife, spread a generous tablespoon of buttercream in the center of the cupcakes. Then pipe a ring around the edge.

3. Press toasted coconut lightly onto the ring of buttercream. Do not worry if it gets in the center. Decorate the center with 3 eggs.