Imagine soft, moist and decadent vanilla coconut cupcakes with a luscious chocolate orange buttercream frosting. These cupcakes can very easily be dressed up for Easter with a cute frosting egg nest and toasted coconut as well!
Speaking of Easter treats, this Easter I'll be making vanilla custard buns and cinnamon rolls, bakery style rhubarb muffins and a 6 inch lemon blueberry cake with meringue buttercream. Maybe some of these could be of inspiration for your Easter break too?
These vanilla coconut cupcakes have simple ingredients, but together they form this moist and fluffy perfection.
Butter: Creates both the fluffy texture and a delicious buttery flavor. Oil will create a denser texture, which isn't ideal here as we also use coconut milk.
Sugar: To sweeten the cupcake and to aerate the cupcake alongside the butter. Sugar keeps the cupcakes soft and moist.
Vanilla extract: Vanilla and warming spices work really well with coconut. I didn't want this to overpower the chocolate orange frosting so I stuck with only vanilla extract.
Eggs: Give both volume and acts as a binder to keep the cupcakes together.
All-purpose flour: Important to give the right texture and structure to the cupcakes.
Baking powder: Gives rise to the cupcakes.
Salt: Enhances flavor and should not be omitted!
Shredded coconut: Or desiccated coconut, to give an interesting texture in addition to increasing the coconut flavor of the cupcake.
Coconut milk: Acts as both a liquid and a fat in this recipe, but also a delectable coconut flavor!
Chocolate orange buttercream frosting
Chocolate orange is one of my very favorite combinations, which is why I have it in fudge, hot chocolate and layer cakes too! It is fluffy buttercream frosting, mixed with melted dark chocolate, orange juice and orange extract.
I didn't get the pungent orange-y flavor I wanted without orange extract, so I succumbed and I do not regret it. This chocolate orange buttercream frosting tastes of rich chocolate and sweet orange in perfect harmony.
To make it you need to beat room temperature butter until pale, light and fluffy (2). Beat in the powdered sugar, orange extract and orange juice (3-4). Pour in slightly cooled melted chocolate and give it a good mix (5-6). Add to piping bags and it's ready to be piped!
How to make Easter egg nest frosting
To make cute Easter egg nests with your frosting is super easy. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of the cupcake, just a butter knife is fine. Then add the frosting to a piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe the frosting along the edge of the cupcake.
That's really all there is to it! However, it could be cool to add some toasted desiccated coconut to make it look more like a nest with little twigs.
Bonus: If you really like the Easter egg nest idea, I'd recommend these pavlova nests with lemon curd and blackberry sauce too. They are even naturally gluten-free.
Toasted desiccated coconut
To toast shredded coconut, add shredded coconut to a nonstick pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once they brown nicely, they are done! Let them cool a little before adding to the cupcakes so that the frosting doesn't melt.
You can also do it in an oven, of about 325F° (160C°) for 3-5 minutes, stir midway through baking. Keep an eye on it, it's done once it has browned to golden perfection.
When freezing cupcakes, I prefer to freeze the muffins separate from the frosting, but both are very freezable. Keep the muffins in a ziplock bag and the frosting in an airtight freezer-friendly container.
If you have frosted cupcakes, they keep well for a 2-3 days in a cold room. The frosting acts as a seal to keep the cupcakes moist, but the frosting can dry out a little (then again, the toasted coconut also helps keep the frosting fresh). I would recommend keeping them in a cake box, though but it's not a deal breaker.
Avoid curdled batter
So this muffin batter is quite easy to curdle, but it's so good I don't find the need to alter the ratios. It is fluffy, moist and flavorful so why should I? However, to avoid it it is crucial that you keep the ingredients at the same temperature - room temperature.
Another thing is to slowly pour the liquid into the creamed sugar-butter. If you add the liquid too fast, it can curdle. That is why I prefer to whisk my eggs beforehand so I can add just a tiny amount at the time.
Tips for room temperature ingredients
I very often don't have room temperature ingredients. To cope with this, your eggs can be heated in a bain-marie. Whisk the eggs together in a glass bowl and add the glass bowl on top of a small saucepan with simmering water. Whisk and cook until it reaches room temperature 70F° (21C°).
The liquid, such as coconut milk, and fat, such as the butter, can be heated in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Do not go overboard, all we want is room temperature.
Make the cupcakes
Pre-heat the oven to 325F° (160C°) and line a cupcake tin with muffin liners.
These easy coconut cupcakes starts with a basic creamed butter and sugar. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat softened butter for about a minute, then add in the sugar and beat for another 8-9 minutes on medium low speed, until light and fluffy (2).
In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder salt and shredded coconut. In another bowl, quickly whisk together the eggs (3). Slowly pour the eggs into the creamed sugar-butter while constantly mixing (4). Add the coconut milk slowly too while constantly mixing (5).
Then add in the dry ingredients with a spatula, carefully avoiding over mixing (6-7). Fill the muffin tins ⅔ (8), and bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out relatively clean (9).
Top with the chocolate orange buttercream frosting as mentioned above. Enjoy!
And for Christmas, why don't you try these gingerbread cupcakes with cranberry filling, for summer these lemon lilac cupcakes or lemon meringue cupcakes with lemon curd, and for fall I really love pumpkin white chocolate muffins or chocolate coffee cupcakes.
Another spring classic (which I think is more fall but anyway) are these carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. So many choices!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more Easter recipes for you:
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