Individual Coconut Cakes {Bake!}

It was Kayte‘s turn to pick our Twitterbake recipe this week, and she surprised us all by choosing something other than a lemon-based recipe. Of course, once I read the ingredients, which included grated lemon zest, I was no longer in shock. She loves coconut, too, so I guess it’s the perfect recipe for her to have chosen.

This seemed like a strange recipe to me as I read over it. For 24 mini-muffin size cakes, it only calls for 1/2 cup flour. There are four egg whites, so as first I thought it would be more like a meringue. But as I read the recipe, I saw that the egg whites are only lightly beaten, not whipped into peaks. Puzzled but curious, I started to mix up the ingredients.

In one bowl I mixed sugar, flour, and coconut. The recipe called for unsweetened coconut. I looked in the cupboard and had no less than six bags of coconut, all sweetened. I wasn’t about to buy more coconut until I used some of this up, so I used what I had and cut the sugar back a bit.

In a separate bowl I whisked the egg whites and a pinch of salt until smooth, then mixed in lemon zest and melted butter. After this was well mixed, I whisked in half of the flour mixture, then folded in the rest. I spooned the batter into mini muffin pans. I got 24 minis, each about 3/4 full. After filling the tins, I topped each cupcake with a pinch of shredded coconut.

I baked the cakes for 15 minutes at 375°F, until they were slightly puffed and the coconut was nicely toasted.

These mini cakes were delicious! I didn’t measure the lemon zest — I just zested the lemon right over the bowl — and I think I probably ended up with more than the recipe called for, as my cakes were more yellow than those pictured in the book. But I didn’t mind the extra lemon flavor at all. Combined with the coconut, the lemon gave these cupcakes a wonderful, fresh flavor. It was lighter than I expected and paired perfectly with a cup of afternoon coffee.

Our Twitterbake is a casual affair. Several of us who have Nick Malgieri‘s most recent book, Bake!, get together virtually every week or so to try a new recipe from the book. We bake. We Tweet. Sometimes we blog. Mostly we just have fun trying new recipes. 

If you have Bake! and want to join us, jump right in. We’ll even let you pick your first recipe.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes {MSC}

This month’s selection for the Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club is Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, featured on page 138. I’m a huge Snickerdoodle fan, which could be good or bad when it came to these cupcakes. I knew I would like the flavors, chiefly cinnamon and sugar. But just because a dish is fashioned after another dish doesn’t guarantee that it will live up to the original.

So, with mixed feelings, I set out to make this month’s cupcakes. As with most of the recipes in this book, I decided to make a half recipe, as the full recipe yields 28 cupcakes, and I don’t need that much temptation in my house.

The recipe calls for AP and cake flours. I didn’t have cake flour in the cupboard, so I improvised by adding a bit of corn starch to some all-purpose flour, with a ratio of two tablespoons corn starch per one cup flour. The easiest way to do this is to measure the corn starch into a dry one-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup the rest of the way with flour.

I mixed up the batter and filled the cupcake pans. In the past, I’ve found Martha’s recipes to be very generous — if the yield is supposed to be 15, you almost always end up with 18 cupcakes. So I was surprised when this recipe, which I expected to yield at least 16 cupcakes, ended up making only 12.

I baked the cupcakes for about 20 minutes. They smelled a lot like snickerdoodle cookies while they baked. And they came out looking something like them, too.

After the cupcakes cooled, I made the Seven-Minute Frosting on page 303. This is a meringue-type frosting, in which egg whites are beaten together with a sugar syrup cooked to the soft-ball stage.

The frosting is supposed to be piped onto the cupcakes using a Wilton 1A tip. I didn’t have the tip, and although I admit to looking for it at one store, I ultimately decided to stick to my self-imposed, although infrequently followed, rule of not buying a new piece of cooking equipment until at least the second or third time I need it. So I frosted the cupcakes without a tip. To do this, I used a disposable piping bag and cut a fairly large chunk off the end. And I have to say, it worked pretty well.

A little sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar was all it took to finish them off. The cell phone picture above doesn’t do justice to these cupcakes. They were easily the most professional-looking cupcakes I’ve ever made.

So, how did they compare to “real” snickerdoodles? Quite favorably, I’d have to say. I would be proud to serve these to company or, as I plan on doing, contribute them to a school bake sale.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes {MSC}

This is my first month baking with the Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes Club, and I was excited to start with this recipe for Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes chosen by Nina. I bought Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes a few months ago with a 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s, but until now I hadn’t baked anything from it. Suffice it to say, I’ll be baking more from this book, and not just once a month with the Club.

My daughter actually saw this recipe before she knew I had joined the Cupcakes Club and asked me if we could make them. Oreos and cheesecake baked in a cupcake, who could resist?

We cut the recipe in half, in part because I don’t have 30 muffin cups, but mostly so we wouldn’t eat that many cupcakes between the four of us.

This was a very easy recipe to make. In the time it took my daughter to line the muffin pans and put an Oreo in each cup, I had mixed the batter, which consisted of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, eggs, sour cream, salt, and crushed Oreos. I was afraid the cheesecakes would be too rich and sweet, but there wasn’t much sugar in the recipe, and the sour cream cut the richness. All in all, I would call this a perfectly balanced recipe.

After we baked them, I put them on a cooling rack on the table to cool. The recipe said to cool them in the pans, then put the pans in the refrigerator for at least four hours before eating. I wasn’t sure I could wait that long. As it turns out, neither could Bailey, our three-year-old beagle. I heard something in the dining room, and went to check only to find him standing on the table, enjoying his third cheesecake, paper and all. This wasn’t his first foray into the culinary arts. I only wished I had thought to take a picture of him before I shooed him off the table.

I decided the cheesecakes were cool enough, so I put one pan in the refrigerator and the other, smaller pan in the freezer. After about 45 minutes, we sampled the ones from the freezer. They were delicious. Sweet and crunchy, with a nice tang from the cream cheese and sour cream.

We will definitely make these again. And I’m sticking with the Club, my waistline be damned.

Triple-Citrus Cupcakes {MSC}

This evening, in the time it took for the rest of the family to decide what they wanted for dinner, I mixed up these wonderful cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.

The batter consisted of butter, sugar, lemon, orange, and lime zest, eggs, flour, and salt. The butter and sugar whipped up really light and fluffy, and the batter ended up having the consistency of fresh whipped cream. By the time I put the batter in the pan, we had decided on dinner and called in our order.

The cupcakes were finished in 20 minutes, just in time for me to go pick up our dinner. By the time we were done eating, the cupcakes had cooled and were ready to be glazed.

I mixed up the glaze, which consisted of powdered sugar, lime zest, and fresh lime juice. I dipped the cupcakes in the glaze, then sprinkled them with lime zest.

These cupcakes were really delicious. They weren’t overly sweet, and the citrus gave them a nice depth of flavor. Although I’ve only baked a few recipes out of this book, so far I’m impressed with what I’ve tasted.