Toasted Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
These rich cupcakes are packed with coconut flavor and aroma from coconut milk, coconut extract, and sweetened flaked coconut. When using canned coconut milk, be sure to shake the can several times before opening it. This will combine the rich, white coconut cream that rises to the top of the can with the thinner coconut milk. Full-fat coconut milk contains more coconut cream than the reduced-fat kind, but both types can be used in this recipe—although we prefer using full-fat for maximum flavor. These Toasted Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes are made with eggs that are beaten separately, a small extra step that makes the cake more light and tender. When making the batter, fold in the whipped egg whites as gently as possible so the batter does not deflate. Toasted coconut has a deep, caramelized flavor and crisp (rather than chewy) texture. The easiest way to toast coconut is in the oven. Spread flaked coconut evenly on a baking sheet and place in a 325˚ oven for three to five minutes, or until the coconut turns golden and just begins to brown. Watch the coconut carefully once you put it in the oven—it doesn't take long for it to overbrown, and even burn. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer the coconut to a plate to cool. (If it cools on the hot sheet pan, it will continue to cook and possibly overbrown.) The luscious Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting is flavored with flaked coconut, for sweetness and added texture. Pecans and coconut are a classic Southern combination and we love the toasty sweetness the nuts add to these cupcakes. Toast them well for the most flavor and sprinkle them on top of the creamy frosting for a deliciously crunchy finishing touch.