Sunday, November 27, 2016

Baker's Corner: Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Coconut Buttercream

Off late, I've gotten into the habit of making cupcakes whenever I have guests at home or have been designated as the person to bring a dessert during potlucks. They are not only universally liked but also look so dainty and come together without much effort. I have a go-to recipe for vanilla cupcakes which I follow with minor tweaks depending on what I feel like and then play around with the frosting (usually buttercream or whipped cream).

My girls love flavoured yoghurt and one of their favourite flavours is raspberry-coconut. This unusual combination has been stuck in my head for a while and I've been meaning to extrapolate it in a dessert. This time round when I made cupcakes to take to a friend's house, I decided to go with a raspberry-coconut buttercream. In general, my gripe with buttercream is that it is overly sweet so I figured using tart raspberries and an earthy creamy unsweetened thick coconut cream would be a good way to mask the sweetness. 

This frosting is definitely sweet but it isn't too much to handle. The consistency of the buttercream is a little on the runny side because of the wet ingredients that are incorporated into it. Yet it does hold its shape during piping (not obvious from the photograph of the finished cupcake because I took forever to do the job and it was so unbearably hot that day that the frosting started to melt). But I really did like the flavour combination and will be making it again for sure. My little ones will also be waiting for another chance to greedily sink their teeth into it! I did not adorn the cupcakes with toasted coconut flakes because children were among the dinner guests and I didn't think they would fancy it but I do recommend it for additional flavour and texture.

You can see for yourself how simple the recipe is so go ahead and color the day a pretty pink 😊

Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Coconut Buttercream

Preparation time: 20 mins; Baking time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Makes: 12 medium-sized cupcakes
Recipe category: Dessert/Western
Recipe level: Easy


For the cupcakes:
1 & 1/3 cup cake flour (you could substitute with all-purpose/plain flour)*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vanilla flavored yogurt (or you could substitute with plain yoghurt)
1/2 cup whole milk 
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

For the raspberry coconut buttercream:
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp raspberry puree (blend 1/2 cup fresh/frozen raspberries in a blender and then strain the puree)
2 tbsp coconut cream (coconut milk may thin out your frosting too much)*
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp good quality vanilla extract

To decorate: (Optional)
Fresh raspberries
Toasted coconut flakes

*refer notes


1. Before starting, bring all the ingredients to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar very well for at least 5 mins on medium speed until the mixture turns white. You may have to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times while doing this.

4. Add the egg and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

5. Add the yogurt, milk and vanilla and stir together with a spatula (if your milk and/or yoghurt is cold, the mixture will curdle....not to worry, this will sort itself out later). Then slowly add in the dry ingredients in batches. Fold with a spatula until smooth. Try not to over mix.

6. Fill the paper liners 2/3 of the way using a spoon/scoop and bake in the centre of the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cupcakes slightly cool in the muffin pan for a minute or two and then remove and place on a wire rack to complete the cooling process.

7. To make the buttercream, puree the raspberries in a blender and pass through a sieve/strainer to remove the gritty bits. Whip the butter and icing sugar together until combined. Add the strained raspberry puree, coconut cream, salt and vanilla, mix until thoroughly incorporated and free of lumps. 

8. Pipe the buttercream on to cupcakes that have completely cooled down. Or else you can just slather it on with a spatula. Decorate with fresh raspberries and sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top if desired. 

  • Cake flour has a lower protein content than traditional all-purpose flour, which results in a more tender, delicate crumb in the finished product. To make cake flour at home - measure out the amount of flour needed for your recipe. For every 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tbsp of flour. Now replace it with 2 tbsp of cornstarch. Sift 5-6 times and it is ready-to-use cake flour!
  • If you want to add extra flavour to the cupcakes, you can use coconut flavoured yoghurt or raspberry flavoured yoghurt instead of vanilla. If you want to avoid yoghurt altogether, you can substitute with sour cream
  • Coconut milk has the liquid consistency of cow's milk and is made from simmering one part shredded coconut in one part water whereas coconut cream is much thicker and richer. It is made from simmering four parts shredded coconut in one part water. The cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk is also considered coconut cream.
  • Slightly tart raspberries work well in this recipe since they cut through the intense sweetness of the buttercream 
  • You can also use raspberry coulis or raspberry jam (heated and strained) as a substitute for raspberry puree
  • If the cupcakes are still warm, the buttercream will melt so make sure the cupcakes have cooled down completely before frosting
  • The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The cupcakes are best served at room temperature.


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