I picked up a fresh coconut at the grocery store and wanted to make a treat for the kids with it. We had an interesting time opening it, but it wasn’t as hard as people make it sound! It did require a large chef knife and a hammer but hey, it’s all in a day’s work I guess! My husband opened it and my kids loved the fresh and cool water inside. Even the baby was downing it like it was going out of style. There was about 2 1/2 cups of water in the coconut so we drank a little bit, and saved the rest for the cake. I mentioned in my Whole Wheat Black Raspberry Shortcake post that my husband had picked up a Cooking Light Desserts magazine for me while he was at the grocery store. Although I don’t agree with their stance on substituting low-fat and potentially harmful ingredients (like Cool Whip) for the real deal, I did find a lot of inspiration in the magazine. When I make desserts I try to find a balance between super sweet and bland, and these cupcakes fell right in the middle, and were absolutely delicious. There is a perfect balance that can be achieved by using real and fresh ingredients, whole wheat flour, and a nice fluffy homemade meringue icing that doesn’t skimp on flavor. When you use real ingredients, you don’t need cups upon cups of sugar to make a dessert amazing. These are truly “from scratch bakery style” and can be made for far less then what you would pay at an upscale bakery ($2-3 EACH!). I wanted to show you exactly how I filled these cupcakes just incase you have never done it before. All you need is a melon baller or the underside of a piping tip. I simply press each end of the melon baller into the cupcake very gently, and when I have impressed a circle in the middle I scoop it out. If you are worried about messing up your cupcakes don’t sweat it, because nobody will see what is underneath the fluffy meringue icing. It took me a few tries to get a really nice circular hole in the middle of my cupcakes, so just keep in mind practice makes perfect when it comes to baking.
Nothing compares to the light fluffy meringue style icing on these cupcakes! It is truly the perfect icing for any dessert because it is not sickeningly sweet. It is so beautiful and glossy, and pipes very well. It holds up well in the refrigerator for a day or two, so these are a cupcake that can be made the day before your event. To make a meringue style icing you will need a sugar thermometer which can be purchased at a crafty store, restaurant store or online. The sugar thermometer just clips to the side of your sauce pan and allows you to see exactly what temperature your sugar is. You will be looking for about 250 degrees, or soft crack, for this recipe. I started whipping my egg whites about 3-4 minutes into cooking my sugar and the timing was perfect. The egg whites were reaching stiff peaks when my sugar was reaching 250 degrees, which is what is ideal. If your whites are at stiff peaks and your sugar isn’t to 250 degrees yet, simply turn them off until your sugar is ready.
Here is the meringue on the cupcakes before I put any garnish on them.
With this icing you can really garnish it however you’d like, or leave it as is which is pretty too! To garnish these I toasted the fresh coconut flesh in the oven in larger chunks. I decided I wanted to set these apart from all the other cupcakes I’ve seen that just use shredded coconut. I love the look of the slightly toasted coconut chunk and the fresh pineapple. The umbrellas can be found at Party City or online for pennies, so if you are planning a luau or party the umbrellas make an inexpensive and cute decoration. We recently had a luau for my baby’s 1st birthday so I have a whole box of umbrellas to use!
* You an find the items you might need to make these cupcakes here. 🙂
The Meringue Icing (Adapted from Cooking Light)
- 4 large egg whites + 2 Tbsp raw cane sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (or a squirt of lemon juice)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup raw cane sugar (I use Woodstock Brand)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- fresh toasted coconut flesh (for garnish or topping)
Directions: Combine 1 cup raw cane sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy bottomed saucepan and mix. Attach sugar thermometer to pan, and turn burner on high heat. Once you have turned your heat on, do not touch your sugar! Cook sugar to 250 degrees. While sugar is cooking put 4 large egg whites and 2 Tbsp raw cane sugar in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Turn mixer on medium-high speed and whisk whites to stiff peaks. While whites are whisking, sprinkle in 1/4 tsp cream of tarter (or squirt of lemon juice) and 1/8 tsp salt. I have made meringue without the cream of tartar or lemon and it will turn out just fine without this ingredient if you do not have it on hand! When sugar reaches 250 degrees and whites are at stiff peaks, continue whisking whites on medium speed and slowly pour sugar into whites while increasing the speed slowly to high at the same time. Make sure you are pouring sugar in a slow, steady stream. Some sugar may get stuck to your bowl, and that is fine. When your sugar is combined allow to mix for another 30 seconds-1 minute. Add vanilla extract to finish.
Fresh Pineapple Curd
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, diced small or pureed
- 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 large egg yolks (leftover from your meringue and cake)
- 2 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 Tbsp cold butter, in small chunks
Directions: If you’d like a smooth curd blend pineapple in a food processor, then strain through a mesh sieve. Also, omit water. Follow the rest of the directions the same. I left my pineapple in small chunks for a chunkier filling. Combine pineapple, sugar, lime juice, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves and pineapple changes color, about 8-10 minutes. When pineapple is tender and can be broken apart you may shred it if desired. Whisk egg yolks and flour in a separate bowl, and temper yolks using your pineapple mixture. Do this by adding a little bit of pineapple mixture to your eggs at a time, while whisking continuously. When eggs are warm, add eggs into saucepan and continue to whisk until mixture is thick. If your mixture is not thickening, give it more heat. Pour mixture into heat safe bowl and add chunks of cold butter. Stir until butter is melted and combined. Refrigerate until ready to use. Be sure to place plastic wrap directly on top of curd or you it may develop a skin on top. *I can’t seem to attach a link but here is the original recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/fresh-coconut-cake-10000001973648/0
Pina Colada Cupcakes with Fresh Coconut
By July 12, 2014Published:
- Yield: 20 cupcakes (20 Servings)
- Prep: 30 mins
- Cook: 25 mins
- Ready In: 55 mins
Combine coconut water, fresh pineapple curd, fresh coconut, and meringue and you have these amazing cupcakes!
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups raw cane sugar
- 2/3 cup butter softened (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 1/4 cup fresh coconut water warm
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 6 large egg whites
- Combine softened sugar and butter in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl. Add flour mixture about 1/4 cup at a time to mixing bowl. Alternate between flour and coconut water until all ingredients are combined in mixing bowl. Add vanilla extract.
- Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks in clean, dry stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. When whites reach stiff peaks fold whites into the rest of the batter gently.
- Line cupcake pan with liners and add about 2 Tbsp of batter to each cup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until cupcakes are lightly golden brown on top and a knife comes out clean.
- Assemble cupcakes when cooled completely. Create a hole with a melon baller (described above), fill with pineapple curd, then pipe meringue icing on top using a pastry bag fitted with a tip or a ziplock bag with the corner cut. Sprinkle cupcakes with fresh toasted coconut flakes or chunks, and fresh pineapple.