Back at it and not in it.....

I love Hot Chip. I want to zone out in my imaginary perfectly stocked catering kitchen, baking oddly flavored (and of course, deliciously mindblowing) pastry confections.

This past weekend was the first time I got to "free bake." Free baking is what I do when I let my taste buds speak and jot down every possible combination with one main flavor. Coconut is where my head's at on this one. Not a fruity coconut, but a creamy and dense pound cake texture. And lime. And cream. And a simple color scheme. Where did I end up.....

Take a look.

Coco loco summer love.

I have to give credit where credit is due- a perfectly simple cookbook I found browsing at the library. Yes, I am a proud library card holder. And I would love to tell you the name of that cookbook, but it's in my car. (Will fix that later..)

Of course I added a few things, took a few things out, and made it my own. My cupcake creation was a coconut pound cake filled with tangy lime curd and topped with whipped coconut cream cheese icing. I accented with a touch of crystallized ginger and shaved coconut pieces.
Candied ginger is a spicy contrast to the cool coconut cream.
I would not be telling the truth if I said this recipe was a complete success. Was it irresistible after I took one bite? Yes. Visually, it did not match my sketches of what it should have been, but I guess I'm bound to fail once in awhile. I pictured tall swirled pillowtops of icing, while the actual icing would not tighten as it should. I blame the Florida humidity. I am so very pleased to give you a recipe after 3 months of just pictures of baking school.

Coco Loco Cupcake
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
7 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350. Line your cupcake tins. Cream together the butter and sugar in the mixer with a paddle attachment or by hand with a spatula. It should look like a paste. Add the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl (dry mixture). In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla and coconut milk (wet mixture). Alternate adding in the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry, until just incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the cake batter until just mixed. Use a scoop to portion into cupcake tins. Baking time varies.. give them a glance around 22 minutes. They should spring back when you touch the top and be lightly golden. Let cool completely. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Lime Curd Filling 
3 egg yolks
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
zest of 3 limes
6 tbsp unsalted butter

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients except the butter. Place the bowl over a water bath on the stove. Whisk about 8-10 minutes, or until thick. When lime curd becomes thick, remove from heat and immediately whisk in butter. Strain in cheesecloth to remove all of the zest. Cover and chill overnight.
*Can be made in advance. I made mine 2 days in advance.

Whipped Coconut Cream Cheese Icing 
1 stick butter
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz cream of coconut
1 tbsp vanilla
4-5 cups confectioner's sugar
16 oz heavy whipping cream

Cream together the butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer until completely combined. Add the cream of coconut and vanilla. Mix. Slowly add the sugar while using the hand mixer. Be careful not to "antique" yourself. Icing should come together but still be a bit soft.

In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into icing. Chill overnight.
*Can be made at least 2 days in advance.

Garnish with tasty bits. That's it. Coco Loco summer lovin cakes.

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