Coconut-Cream Meringue Cupcakes

Surprise, it’s a party! Today we’re celebrating one of my very favorite bloggers, Audra, of The Baker Chick, who will be welcoming her first baby (a boy!) very soon. A group of bloggers and I got together to throw Audra a virtual baby shower today, and you’re all invited :)

audra-baby-shower

I’ve been reading Audra’s blog for years, and finally had the chance to meet her at a blog conference earlier this year. Let me tell you, she’s every bit as lovely and sweet as she seems on her blog. I’m just so excited for she and her husband to finally meet this baby!

Coconut-Cream Meringue Cupcakes

What kind of a party would this be without cake? I didn’t want to risk that possibility so I decided to make coconut-cream meringue cupcakes; I think they’re perfect for the occasion. Sweet, portable, decadent, and packed with lots of coconut goodness.

Coconut-Cream Meringue Cupcakes

So let me tell you what we have going on here. The base is a yellow cupcake that’s made with coconut milk; it’s light and fluffy with a tight crumb and just a hint of coconut flavor. The real treat is stuffed inside of the cupcakes – a thick, creamy pudding-like filling loaded with toasted coconut. I found it nearly impossible to keep my spoon out of the bowl after making it, I’m surprised there was enough left to fill the cupcakes! Atop the cupcakes is a fluffy meringue frosting that’s toasted to golden brown perfection.

I’ve made a lot of cupcakes, but these coconut-cream meringue cupcakes have earned a spot among my favorites. Audra and I share a love of all things coconut so I think these will put a smile on her face!

Coconut-Cream Meringue Cupcakes

Congratulations, Audra! I hope you enjoy your day :)

Don’t forget to check out the other fantastic dishes prepared for Audra’s party!

Cocktails:
Grapefruit Rosemary and Sage Spritzer from Nutmeg Nanny

Small Bites:
Sausage and Cheese Wonton Cups from The Spiffy Cookies
Honey and Tangerine Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini from The Lemon Bowl

Desserts:
Bananas Foster Cupcakes from Culinary Couture
Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Sea Salt from Eats Well With Others
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Brown Butter from Warm Vanilla Sugar
Chocolate Mousse Mini Cupcakes from Bake or Break
Cinnamon Nut Stuffed Persimmons from Running to the Kitchen
Espresso Salted Caramel Buttercream Brownie Bites from Keep It Sweet Desserts
Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread from The Dusty Baker
Mini Eggnog Bundt Cakes with Salted Caramel Icing from The Corner Kitchen
Mini Gingerbread Whoopie Pies from Table for Two
Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream from Baked by Rachel
Sugar & Spice Layer Cake from Girl Versus Dough

Coconut-Cream Meringue Cupcakes
adapted from Fine Cooking

{Note: I used the coconut milk you buy in a carton (you can find it near the almond milk in your grocery store) rather than canned. I’ve scaled this recipe back from a 9-inch layer cake but if you want to go that route instead check out the link above.}

Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature (light is fine)
3 large egg whites, at room temperature

Coconut Cream Filling
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup heavy cream, divided
1 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted
2 teaspoons (2/3 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt

Meringue Frosting
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup egg whites (about 3-4 large), at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk the coconut milk and vanilla extract together. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 4-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients in three additions and the coconut milk mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until combined. Add the sour cream and beat until incorporated.

Add the egg whites to a medium bowl and use a hand mixer to beat until soft peaks form. Add about 1/4 to 1/3 of the egg whites to the cupcake batter and stir to incorporate (no need to be too gentle, you’re just trying to lighten the consistency). Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter among the prepared liners, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4-full. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.

To make the filling: Add the sugar and flour to a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and the egg yolk, and whisk to combine. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Continue cooking, whisking almost constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl and whisk in the coconut, butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, add the remaining 1/6 cup of heavy cream to a medium bowl. Use a whisk or a hand mixer to beat the cream until it holds soft peaks. Once the filling has cooled, use a rubber spatula to fold the whipped cream into the filling.

To fill the cupcakes: Use a small paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with the coconut cream mixture, then replace the top portion of the cone (you’ll need to slice off the tip). {Note: you want to fill the cupcakes before you make the meringue because the meringue needs to be piped onto the cupcakes as soon as it is ready.}

To make the meringue: Whisk the sugar and eggs whites together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk constantly until the mixture is warm and the sugar has completely melted – you can check if it’s ready by rubbing the mixture between your fingers. When it’s ready you won’t be able to feel any grains of sugar.

Put the bowl on the mixer and begin beating on low speed. Gradually begin raising the mixer speed until it is on medium-high, and continue beating until the mixture is thick and glossy, and holds medium-firm peaks. Immediately transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and pipe frosting into a swirl on each cupcake. Use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the frosting (be careful not to set the liners on fire!).

{Note: the meringue doesn’t have a ton of staying power, so wait to make it and top the cupcakes until shortly before serving. The cupcakes are best served on the day you assemble them.}

Makes about 15 cupcakes