Saturday, April 19, 2008

It’s Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry…

I won’t dance around the issue: I’ve been busy. Like monumentally, running-around-like-a-headless-chicken busy. I’ve already told most of my close friends and family members that if I EVER utter so much as a word about wanting to get another degree, they all have permission to physically detain me from going through with it. None of this, however, is an excuse for neglecting my readers (I know there are at LEAST three of you out there—Hi, Mom!—who have been disappointed by my recent hiatus) and going into something referred to in the culinary world (or any world for that matter) as a black hole. I won’t bore you with the details of the countless bowls of cereals, because I think you’ve already been patient enough. Borrowing the immortal words of Chicago allow me to say:

After all that we’ve been through,
I will make it up to you,
I promise to.
Luckily, I’ve got an ace up my sleeve. This coconut cupcake is guaranteed to put you in the good graces of anyone, no matter what sort of awful person they might (mistakenly) think you are. I challenge anyone to reject this cupcake and a sincere apology. It’s that good. It is based on the legendary coconut cake served at Comfort’s in San Anselmo, California, with a little of Ina Garten for good measure. I’ve swapped any cream or buttermilk for coconut milk, backed off the sugar in the cake itself and jacked up the vanilla too. As Ina would say, “How bad can that be?” Well, I’m willing to bet it wouldn’t hurt…

Coconut Cake
For the cake:
¾ lb. butter, softened
2 C. sugar
5 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond or coconut extract
3 C. flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 C. coconut milk
14 oz. shredded sweetened coconut (optional)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 oz. butter, softened
2 C. powdered sugar
½ C. shredded sweetened coconut, for topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 170 degrees C/ 325 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond/coconut extract. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the coconut milk in two or three stages, trying not to overmix. Fold in the shredded coconut, if using. Pour or scoop into cupcake pans lined with paper. Bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cook on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the cupcake pans and allow to cool further.
To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix completely. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, spread with the frosting, sprinkle with shredded coconut, serve immediately and say: “I’m really sorry.”