Let’s bake! What do you say? When too much time passes without any baking I get antsy!
I was bouncing some ideas off Edwin recently for what to bake, but he didn’t seem to interested in what I was coming up with. I understand his hesitation; typically baking experiments either end in sweet and wondrous success or abject failure!
I had some leftover ricotta in the fridge from a batch of ziti. Too many times these things go to unused and I find myself throwing away expired whipping cream, ricotta, sour cream and buttermilk. Not this time!
I’d also been thinking about coconut cake lately. I visited Alton Brown’s recipe, but he suggests coconut milk, coconut extract, coconut cream and coconut water. I don’t even know what coconut water is, but it sounds like an unwanted road block to me!
I turned to a Cooking Light coconut cake recipe and adapted it to make one dozen cupcakes. I didn’t have cake flour on hand, so I looked up an interesting adaptation to make all-purpose flour more like cake flour. I also put some shredded coconut in the food processor to make it as fine as possible and then added it to the batter. And of course, I experimented with adding 1/4 cup of ricotta.
You can’t pick out the ricotta, but it does give it some more flavor complexity and adds to the texture. I have a bad connotation with the word “dense” so I definitely wouldn’t call them that, but they’re more on the substantial side than flimsy and airy. I decided to pair them with the kind of frosting you’d find on a German chocolate cake – golden, full of coconut and sweetened with evaporated milk almost like Dulce de leche. I also made a batch of coconut buttercream frosting for half of them, but I much preferred the German chocolate cake frosting. The buttercream was just too sweet for the cake, I thought.
I think these cupcakes are very different from what I’m used to, and I am loving them!
Cake recipe adapted from Cooking Light
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
1.1 cups all-purpose flour (one cup plus a little less than half a quarter cup) + 2.5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3/8 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut, pulsed in a food processor
1/4 cup part skim ricotta
Drop paper wrappers into cupcake pan. Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine flour + cornstarch, baking powder, salt, shredded coconut in a medium bowl with a whisk.
Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric beater or stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs one at a time.
Alternate adding flour mixture and coconut milk to the bowl while beating; begin and end with the flour mixture. Add ricotta. Beat until combined.
Using a tablespoon, drop two tablespoons of batter into each cupcake wrapper. Divide any extra evenly so that wrappers are 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 18 minutes.
6 fluid ounces evaporated milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
In a large saucepan on medium heat, combine evaporated milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for approximately 10 minutes. The frosting should be thickened and golden. Remove from heat and cool completely before frosting cupcakes.