October 25, 2015

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes

Almost a year ago, my friend Jenn and I saw Ina Garten during her Make it Ahead cookbook tour's stop in Denver.  It was so much fun to see Ina live!  Ina brought up her acclaimed coconut cupcakes during her visit and joked about the large amounts of butter in those cupcakes.  Jenn and I talked about how we needed to try those coconut cupcakes.  Ever since then, I had Ina Garten's coconut cupcakes on my must bake list.  As a chocolate lover, I give desserts with chocolate preference on the baking list, and so the coconut cupcakes just lingered at the bottom of the list.

When I was flipping through my Ina Garten cookbooks on a Saturday afternoon (one of my favorite afternoon activities is going through cookbooks with a cup of tea), I was reminded that I really needed to make those coconut cupcakes.  Since I hadn't made cupcakes for far too long, it was time to bump these cupcakes up on the baking list.

Now, if you're going to make cupcakes, go big, or go home, right?

I say "go big, or go home" because these cupcakes have 1 1/2 pounds of butter in them.  That's 48 tablespoons of butter.  It's also equivalent to 6 sticks of butter.  I'm not sure which sounds better: pounds, tablespoons, or sticks.  Bottom line, these cupcakes have a whole lot of better, but they are so worth it.

While we're referring to ingredients in pounds, I suppose it's a good time to bring up that these cupcakes also have a pound of cream cheese.

As you might expect, these cupcakes are pure dessert nirvana.  They are fluffy, buttery cupcakes with a nutty vanilla flavor with coconut baked into the cupcake.  The cream cheese frosting makes these cupcakes absolutely delectable and incorporates the same vanilla and almond flavors with shredded coconut.  

Ina's recipe called for filling the cupcakes up to nearly the top of the liner.  Most cupcake recipes call for filling them 3/4 of the way.  However, I wasn't going to question Ina Garten, so I filled them to nearly the brim.  The cupcakes did not rise very much, so don't be concerned about filling them so high.

I made the cupcakes and froze them (after they finished cooling) overnight and frosted them the next day.  I find that it is easier to frost cakes (and cupcakes!) when they are frozen.  Freezing cake also helps keep the moisture in the cake.  By doing it the next day, it also gives the dishwasher time to clean the bowl of the stand mixer. ;-)

There is a lot of frosting in these cupcakes, and truth be told, you could probably even half the frosting.  In my humble opinion, frosting is the best part of a cake, so I made the full frosting recipe so that I could generously frost the cupcakes.

Calling these cupcakes "divine" seems almost to be an understatement.   All I can say is go make them.    For Thanksgiving, break up all the pumpkin desserts and throw in something different with these coconut cupcakes.  

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes
Yields 18 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
24 tbsp. / 3 sticks / 3/4 lb. butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
12 3/4 oz. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
7 oz. shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened

For the frosting:
24 tbsp. / 3 sticks / 3/4 lb. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
1 1/2 lbs. confectioner's sugar
7 oz. shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners, and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed for about 5 to 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Then, with the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time.  Then, add the vanilla and almond extracts, and mix well.

In three parts, alternatively add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter.  Mix until just combined, and then fold in 7 ounces of the shredded coconut.  

Fill each cupcake liner to the top with the batter.  Bake for about 25-35 minutes, until the cupcake tops are golden brown.  After baking, allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before moving to a baking rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts.  Then, add the confectioner's sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Source: Ina Garten


  1. I missed Ina last year and was SO sad; I had a cold that turned into walking pneumonia and just knew it would not be appreciated if I coughed nonstop during the event. But I do love me some coconut along with some Ina so I need to try these don't I? We could make them and then judge them. :)

    1. Barb, you must try these! Something tells me you could come up with the perfect coconut cocktail to go with it. Cupcakes and cocktails!

  2. Holy cow I've gained 2 pounds just reading the ingredients list. With that much butter and cream cheese, how could they not be amazing!! :)


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