Sunday, September 20, 2009

Go Coconut Crazy!

My most recent order was for a set of Red Velvet mini cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut flakes. I have to confess that I was a skeptic to my own design and had my doubts about the combination of flavors...BUT I was thrillfully surprised! Coconut can be most overpowering, yet used in the right proportion can give you the most delicious effect.

Coconut flakes are very moist and tend to be a bit oily. Toasting the flakes will relieve some of the moisture, giving the flakes a firmer body and more color. I gave the flakes a sprinkle of powder sugar to finish the look and to give the flakes a sweeter candied taste.

From this same order, I was requested to "copycat" a green coconut cake found locally at Van's Bakery. I've only tried the actual cake once and was never really taken in by it. The cake tended to be dry and spongey, while the coconut flavor lacked character and fell flat. For these cupcakes, I decided to use coconut milk, which contains a good amount of natural fat to help add moisture and a soft structure to the cake. The milk is creamy in texture and flourished with aroma, bringing warmth and dynamics to the overall flavor.

To make the green coconut flakes, I diluted a couple drops of green food coloring in about 1 teaspoon of water and then mixed it with the coconut flakes in a ziplock bag. To evaporate some of the added moisture, lightly toast the flakes. The cupcakes were then topped with a light fluffy frosting, garnished with pink heart quins and set in powdered sugar. To be honest, I'm not a fan of coconut flavored anything but these little green minis turned out to be very fun in flavor and color.

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