This is the picture of indecision. This is also the end result of me getting home from work, not taking off my shoes, bee lining to the kitchen, and making kumquat coconut cupcakes and 5 different types of frosting. Five may seem excessive but you have to understand that I originally had planned for 8. Except I ran out of butter. I silently cried and moped around for a bit…until I dreamed up another suitable replacement frosting: melted dark Callebaut chocolate with orange zest.
5 hours later, the clock struck 12 AM. Food photographs completed and the best part of the night finally started: TASTE TESTING. And of course to make it official, a cup of milk to cleanse the palate in between each tasting.
The verdict on my favorite frosting for these cupcakes?
- A healthy dose of powdered sugar
- Coconut buttercream
- Melted dark chocolate with orange zest
- Coconut buttercream with bits of shredded pineapple
- Cream cheese frosting
3/4 C. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C. of sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 C. cake flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 C. coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 C. sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C. chopped kumquats*
4-5 whole kumquats, sliced very thinly (for optional garnish)
*To chop kumquats, rinse them well in luke warm water. Slice in half and remove seeds. Place in a food processor and give them a few pulses until they are chopped into small bits. To toast coconut, place it on a cookie sheet in the 350 F oven while you are making the batter, being sure not to let it burn.
Frosting Options (adjust proportions accordingly)
- Powdered sugar – no explanation here. Make it snow powdered sugar!!
- Coconut buttercream (for pineapple coconut version, add in 2 tbs of pineapple juice and add in 1/8 cup of mashed/shredded fresh or canned pineapple)
- Dark chocolate ganache and grate some orange zest on top
- Cream cheese frosting
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter until fluffy. Add sugar and mix until fluffy again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each. Add the vanilla bean scrapings and mix until well distributed.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in a bowl. Shake your can of coconut milk and then open it, measuring out a cup.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir, then add 1/3 of the coconut milk. Continue alternating until wet and dry ingredients are just incorporated; do not over mix.
Fold in the shredded coconut and chopped kumquats. Use a scooper or a set of spoons to divide batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, or when pressing lightly on the tops, they spring back.
To frost the cupcake, make frosting and frost the cupcakes when they have cooled.