Sunday, June 12, 2011

Today's program is brought to you by the letter C.

I've got the letter C on my mind lately because C is the first letter of the name we've chosen for our newest daughter. I also have cupcakes on my mind. Why, I do not know. But considering I had the opportunity to bring a dessert to a group dinner last night, I figured I'd make a go of a cupcake that has been dancing around in my head.

Coconut Cardamom Cupcakes 
(lots of C's up there, no?)

The cupcake itself is a vanilla coconut cake batter and the frosting is a standard cream cheese (more C's) frosting infused with cardamom.
But I decided to fill the cupcakes with a little surprise in the center.
The filling is a Saffron Cream. A sweet pastry cream with a twist.

The cupcake batter baked up really well and I cut holes in the centers in which to pipe in the saffron cream. 

After I topped the cupcakes with the cardamom cream cheese frosting I sprinkled some toasted coconut on top to add some color.

They were delicious!

Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes with a Saffron Cream filling and a Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  2. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  7. 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  8. 1 cup granulated sugar
  9. 4 large eggs, separated

Saffron Cream

  1. 1 cup milk
  2. 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  3. Large pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  4. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 4 large egg yolks
  8. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. 3/4 pound cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  3. 3 cups confectioners' sugar 
  4. 3/4 tsp ground decorticated cardamom 
  5. 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes

    1. MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 250°. Line your cupcake tin with papers. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk with the vanilla and coconut extracts.
    2. In a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well between additions. With the machine at low speed, add the dry ingredients in 4 batches, alternating with the coconut-milk mixture.
    3. In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the machine on, gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until the egg whites are thick and glossy. Scrape the beaten whites into the cake batter and fold until just combined.
    4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Transfer the cakes to a rack and let cool to room temperature.
    5. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SAFFRON CREAM: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, coconut milk and saffron and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in half of the hot saffron milk. Scrape the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until the saffron cream is thickened and just comes to a simmer, 4 minutes. Transfer the cream to a heatproof bowl and stir in the butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate.
    6. MAKE THE FROSTING: In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the butter until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and cardamom and beat well. Fill a pastry bag with a decorating tip of your choice and tefrigerate until chilled but still pipeable, about 10 minutes.
    7. Using a corer or a small serrated knife, cut holes into the cupcakes but do not go all the way through. Discard most of filling from hole but keep the top. Using a piping bag and a large tip, fill cupcakes with saffron cream. Place top of cake piece over hole to hide filling. 
    8. Pipe frosting onto cupcake. Less is more with this b/c of the cardamom flavor in the frosting. No need to go over board with the frosting.
    Make Ahead The unfrosted cake can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature overnight, or frozen for up to 1 week. The frosted cake can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.
    *Recipe adapted from Tyler Brown and Food & Wine.  

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