Sunday, 30 January 2011

Coconut and raspberry cupcakes decorated with coconut macaroons



If you spend as many hours a day pondering cake as I do most thoughts are of the “I could really eat a slice of sponge right now” variety. Some however, are slightly more creative, take root and won’t allow themselves to be forgotten. This recipe is such an example.


I came across a recipe for old-fashioned coconut macaroons – the sort of macaroons that ruled the bakery/patisserie counter before the more glamorous upstart macarons came on the scene. Much as the photo made me drool, I knew I didn’t want to make just macaroons…but, as a cupcake decoration….that was a different story!


Coconut and raspberry is one of my favourite flavour combinations and I wanted the flavours represented in both the sponge and Swiss meringue buttercream. Being a coconutophile (I have invented a word) I boosted the flavour in my cupcakes by adding coconut extract, but it’s optional.


The delicate pink of the buttercream contrasts beautifully with the macaroon decorations. While the flavours can be enjoyed by everyone, I think the finished look is rather girly!


Here are the sponges before they were decorated:


I piped a flat layer of b
uttercream onto the cake and pushed the raspberry into it; this was to ensure that the buttercream filled the cavity of the raspberry. I could’ve stopped here as they looked stunning...:


...but I didn’t, as that’s not my nature! I piped more buttercream to enclose the raspberry:


The raspberry added good support for the macaroon topping!

Incidentally, the macaroon recipe below will also work as a particularly fine coconut bakewell if you make a pastry case, line it with jam and then put this on top. The quantity set out in the ingredients makes more macaroons that you need for the cupcakes but I didn’t find that a problem! Why not dip the spares in some melted chocolate for a bite size treat?

Ingredients

For the coconut macaroons (this will make more than you need to decorate the cupcakes – if you only want enough for decorations with no spare consider halving the quantities):
100g caster sugar
2 egg whites
200g desiccated coconut

For the cupcake sponge (this will make 12 cupcakes):
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 tablespoons milk
150g fresh raspberries (if you prefer, you could put some raspberry jam into the cupcake batter after you’ve spooned it into the paper cases)

Swiss meringue buttercream (enough for 12 cupcakes):
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 heaped tablespoon raspberry jam (seedless)

Optional: 12 raspberries


Method

Start by making the coconut macaroons: preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Whisk together the sugar and egg whites until fluffy; you don’t need peaks but just something that is starting to hold its shape and look a bit whippy.

Stir in the coconut until the mixture is well combined.

Spoon teaspoon sized amounts onto the baking sheet, leaving a small gap between them. You can use the teaspoon and a knife to shape them into little balls.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the macaroons are just starting to brown, then remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack (remove the macaroons from the tray when cool - if you try beforehand they might break).

To make the cupcakes, increase the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Line a cupcake pan with paper cases.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, flour, desiccated coconut, coconut extract and milk.

Fold in the raspberries – some might break down but don’t worry.

When the mixture is smooth and well combined, spoon into the paper cases.

If you’re using raspberry jam instead of fresh raspberries, spoon a scant teaspoon into each cupcake and smooth a little batter over the surface so the jam won’t burn.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Mine took 13 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack and remove from the tin when cool enough to handle. (You can make up to this point a day before serving – simply store the macaroons and cupcake sponges in an airtight container. Make the Swiss meringue buttercream on the day you wish to serve the cupcakes)

Now make the Swiss meringue buttercream: Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir pretty much constantly to prevent the egg from cooking.

After 5-10 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved (when you cannot see any crystals on the back of the spoon), remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and whisk until the meringue has puffed up and is cool.

Add the butter and coconut extract to the meringue and whisk until the butter is completely incorporated into the meringue. At first it will look a disaster – it will collapse and look curdled but don’t worry – just keep going! Stop when the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.

Beat in the jam.

Pipe the Swiss meringue buttercream over the cupcakes in glamorous swirls.

If using, push the raspberries into the buttercream and cover with more piped buttercream.

Set the macaroons gently into the buttercream so that they will hold their position.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.

Eat.

20 comments:

Abbie said...

Good lord! They look AMAZING! xx

Lucy said...

Wow your cupcakes look immense! The cross section photo has made me hungry - love the flavours involved. Will definitely have to make some coconut macaroons now :)

Lisa said...

Wow, now that is a cupcake. You really went all out on that one and it looks absolutely delicious as a result. I have a linky party going on at my blog right now called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.

trash said...

'K so I know how I am spending Tuesday now.

Suelle said...

The cross-section view is most impressive! It sounds like a good flavour combination.

Maggie said...

The cupcakes look stunning. I have very fond memories of eating coconut macaroons when I was a child. Lovely combination.

I heart cupcakes said...

These look delicious!!! Love the raspberry in the middle - genius :)

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

These are amazing! I think they'd be the queen of cupcakes. I mean, they're loaded with icing and they've got a raspberry surprise inside! Plus, the coconut macaroon on top pushes it that bit further. Yum! I've been meaning to make coconut macroons for ages..

Cupcake Kelly said...

I LOVE these! Love love love the hidden raspberrry in the frosting. I think you could rival 'Bake it in a Cake' and start 'Hide it in Frosting'!

I wish I had a Kitchenaid. My hand mixer and poor arm can't get my SMBC to be as nice and firm as yours.

Hazel said...

The look sublime! I love the hidden raspberry in the cream. Delicious combo of raspberry and coconut!

Sarah-Jane - SiliconeMoulds.com said...

excellent.

I can imagine Oliver with one of these - his face would be covered in buttercream as he nosedived in !

pigpigscorner said...

Wow, very tall and amazing!

With Love & Confection said...

Hi! My name is Veronica & I just started following your blog. Your cupcakes look amazing! Follow my blog to see my Valentine Gingerbread House!
Have a sweet day!

jewelfire8 said...

yum yum yum YUM! I have got to make these a.s.a.p! Congratulations, these are a triumph

Cakelaw said...

Wow, wow, wow! I love these! Be still my girly heart - they are just perfect.

Lisa said...

I want to marry these.

Patty O. said...

I think I'm going to cry, I want to eat one of these so bad!

I just may have to make some cupcakes this weekend. Just the antidote for cabin fever and winter blues!

C said...

They look delicious - the cross section photo is fab! Love the extra mile you've gone with the decorations, that's where I usually lose interest!

coco cooks said...

Gorgeous!

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