Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Samoa Cupcakes

I was recently asked to make cupcakes for an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts.  As a former girl scout myself, I jumped at the opportunity to help celebrate.  Since I knew it was going to be a lot of work, I wanted to have the perfect recipes ready to go.   I had tried out most of the recipes before, but I had never made samoa cupcakes.  Originally, I was going to just simply make chocolate cupcakes with caramel frosting... or coconut cupcakes with caramel.. or chocolate frosting... or chocolate with coconut?  I didn't really know.   So once I googled, I came up with some good flavor combinations that made for a great batch of cupcakes. I also know the importance of practicing before making large cupcake batches, so while I have a couple weeks before the event, I decided to practice.

And man was I glad I did!  These cupcakes did not turn out exactly as I wanted so now I have plenty of time to tweak before the "big event".   I wish the cupcake was a little more "coconutty" and the frosting a little "lighter".  I had to add a LOT of powdered sugar to the icing to get it to be not soupy.  I'm fairly positive it was because of the fact that I used milk rather than heavy cream.   Why didn't I use heavy cream?  Well because I didn't buy it and was far too lazy to go back out and get more.    I just wanted to finish the cupcakes!  I should have known that if Paula Deen says to use heavy cream--- you use heavy cream!
But I think the icing would be much better had I used the heavy cream.    I also could have added it to the chocolate drizzle and made it a little thicker.  The drizzle definitely didn't want to "stick" to the cupcakes.    All good things to know :)

One other thing is that almost all recipes I saw for samoa cupcakes used a meringue buttercream.   I chose not to do this because I knew I was going to be stressed out while preparing to make the 100+ cupcakes and I was trying to make it as easy as possible on myself.  However, if I was to make these just to make them, I think I would definitely use a meringue butter cream.

Overall, I was really pleased with the cupcakes.  My 92 year old grandma called them "Delightful!" (Then again, I'm her only granddaughter so I can do no wrong....) and with a few minor tweaks, I think that they will be the perfect addition to the Girl Scouts 100th birthday party!

Samoa Cupcakes
Makes 12 

For the Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and coconut extract until fluffy and light, at least 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  5. With mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the milk beating just until combined.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. 
  7. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely
  For the Caramel Icing
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as necessary
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • semisweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup)
  • sweetened coconut (about 1/3 cup)
  1. Melt butter in saucepan.  Add brown sugar and cream.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl. 
  3. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  
  4. If frosting is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream at a time until consistency is right
  5. Once they have been iced, drizzle melted chocolate (or a chocolate sauce) and sprinkle with sweetened coconuts
Cupcakes inspired by and chocolate coconut cake recipe adapted from Sweet Little Details
Caramel Frosting adapted from Paula Deen 

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