I'm sharing a special recipe with you, my mom's coconut cake. She used to make this every Easter, and it was my favorite dessert by far. I have many happy memories of her baking this cake, cutting the layers perfectly, and making the whole thing look beautiful. When I attempted it myself a couple of years ago, the result was disastrous, and I started to understand the work she used to put into all of the special meals our family shared together. I'm still not up to doing the layered version of this cake, but I think I nailed it as far as making two-bite cupcakes. These are much easier to decorate, and I don't have to worry about my layers sliding around. If you make these, enjoy, and just know you're getting a very special recipe from a very special lady.
Coconut Cupcakes with Sour Cream Icing
1 classic white cake mix, plus ingredients for egg white version
8 oz. sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 oz. Cool-Whip, thawed
8 oz. frozen coconut, thawed
8 oz. shredded, sweetened coconut
Prepare cupcakes according to package directions.
Combine sour cream and sugar, stirring well. Fold in Cool-Whip and frozen coconut. Top cupcakes with icing, and finish with shredded coconut.
(For layered cake version, bake two 9-inch cake layers. Cool completely, and slice each layer in half. Ice with sour cream icing, and top with shredded coconut.)
My copy of this recipe is in a cookbook my sister made me a few years ago. She and Mom conspired behind my back to collect several family favorites, and the result was the best gift I've ever received. This cookbook is on the top of my if-the-house-was-on-fire-and-you-could-only-grab-one-thing list.
The cake batter is just a mix, which is great if you bake it correctly. Most people over bake cakes and cupcakes, and that's why mixes get a bad reputation. It's really not that bakeries' recipes are that much better; it's just that professionals know not to bake the life out of their confections. We all know how I am about prep work, so here's what's going on: Small Batter Bowl with Egg Separator, water in the Measure-All Cup, oil in an Easy Read Measuring Cup, cake mix in a Stainless Mixing Bowl with the Small Mix 'n Scraper poised for action. Everything is on the Large Cutting Board, smooth side up.
Separating eggs is typically a gross job, but it's no problem if you have the right tools. The Egg Separator has a ridge in its handle to hang on the side of bowls. How handy is that? I promise this company blows my mind with product design! This is the Small Batter Bowl, but the separator will fit on others as well.
Talk about a beautiful, fluffy cake batter. This is in the 4-Qt. Stainless Mixing Bowl, and I'm using the Small Mix 'n Scraper to get everything from the sides.
When I do two-bite cupcakes, I put the wrappers directly on the Cookie Sheet. It holds 24 perfectly, as does the Large Bar Pan. These are my two go-to pieces for these recipes that yield 48 treats. Stop, pause, breathe... Medium Scoop. I can't say enough about the scoops. The medium is perfect for these cupcakes, and it keeps my fingers out of the batter. Consistent sizing is always a good thing when you want a pretty presentation, and the scoops deliver time and time again.
Let's make some icing! This is a wonderful, simple recipe, and it's good enough to eat with a spoon. A cupcake base is ideal, but I'm just saying... I took this picture to show you frozen coconut. Some of us had to be shown what this was, but it does exist. And it's FROZEN. Thaw it with the Cool-Whip before making the icing, or you'll have a bit of frustration. I wouldn't know, of course. The sugar is measured into an Easy Read Measuring Cup, and that's the Dots Oval Platter underneath.
I made these cupcakes while my best friend was dying Easter eggs, so she got a picture of me pouring sugar from the Easy Read Measuring Cup into the 4-Qt. Stainless Mixing Bowl. One great thing about this icing is that it's not thick enough to require a mixer. I can just use the Mix 'n Scraper to rock it out. In fact, this isn't icing so much as it's fluffy cream topping.
Isn't baking at home fun? I love making things and feeling like they were worth the time and effort. To decorate the cupcakes, just put a dollop of topping on each one, and spread it around a little. This isn't the kind of icing you can fancy up with tips, etc. It's just going to be a blob, which is why you finish each treat with a bit of sweetened coconut. Well, that and the fact that you should finish each treat with a bit of sweetened coconut.
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