Each year, the December issue of Southern Living magazine features a white frosted cake on the cover.  The cake often contains coconut because it’s traditional for Christmas in the South.  I’m not exactly sure why coconut only makes its appearance around Christmas in the South—if anyone knows, please fill me in.  Since December is already here, let’s start it off right with coconut cupcakes.

Coconut Cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes
Yields 4 cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CUPCAKES:
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/16 teaspoon baking soda (a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup packed (1.75 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut
  • FOR THE FROSTING:
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Place 4 cupcake liners along the outside edge of a muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the oil, sugar and salt together with an electric mixer for at least 4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, coconut milk, vanilla and almond extracts and beat another 15 seconds.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda on top of the mixture and beat just until combined—do not overmix. Finally, stir in the flaked coconut.
  5. Divide the batter between the cupcake liners (it will come almost to the top). Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, beat together all frosting ingredients (except coconut) and frost cupcakes.
  7. Toast the coconut in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove when golden brown and use to garnish the cupcakes.