dark chocolate + coconut cupcakes with coconut buttercream

by amy on 27 September 2011

if you follow me on facebook, you saw that i asked for your advice on sunday. i made cupcakes on a whim on sunday afternoon + they turned out way more fantastic than i expected. but, we were scheduled to go to dinner at my in-laws’ house, which didn’t leave enough time to make buttercream, frost ‘em + still make it to dinner in time. so i asked, what should i do? show up 30 minutes late to dinner, bearing delicious sweets? or show up on time, bringing nothing? the vast majority of you said to show up late with the sweets, which is what i did (after calling, of course) + i’m so glad i did.

what inspired these cupcakes? looking in the pantry on sunday, i realized that i had all the ingredients to make these delicious dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. i wanted to try something different, though, + pulled out coconut + coconut extract to see if i could tweak the recipe to make a chocolate-coconut cupcake. i played around with the cupcake recipe + came up with a coconut buttercream recipe + the results were simply amazing. the cupcakes are moist, rich + delicious, while the coconut buttercream provides a luscious, creamy counterpoint to the decadent dark chocolate. add a little toasted coconut garnish + voila! the perfect sunday afternoon dessert!

dark chocolate cupcakes with coconut buttercream

makes 12 cupcakes, cupcake recipe adapted from cook’s illustrated, buttercream recipe adapted from martha stewart

ingredients for the dark chocolate cupcakes

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

directions for the cupcakes

adjust oven rack to lower-middle position + preheat to 350 degrees. (if using a non-stick muffin pan, heat the oven to 325 degrees.) line mini-muffin pan with baking cup liners.

combine butter, chocolate, + cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter + chocolate are melted + whisk until smooth + combined. set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

whisk flour, baking soda + baking powder in small bowl to combine. whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine. add sugar, vanilla + salt until fully incorporated. add cooled chocolate mixture, whisk until combined.

sift about 1/3 of flour mixture over chocolate mixture + whisk until combined, then whisk in sour cream. sift in remaining flour mixture + whisk until batter is homogeneous + thick. add in the flaked coconut + stir until well-combined.

divide the batter evenly among muffin cups. bake until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, about 12-14 minutes.

cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes, then transfer each cupcake to cooling rack. cool to room temperature before icing.

ingredients for the coconut buttercream

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut (optional)

directions for the coconut buttercream

beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
reduce speed to medium. add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (after every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high).

add coconut extract + beat until buttercream is smooth. if desired, add the flaked coconut to the buttercream + blend until combined. use immediately, or cover + refrigerate for up to 3 days. (bring to room temperature + beat on low speed until smooth before using.)

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ErinFoodFiles September 27, 2011 at 9:01 am

I love this flavor combo!

2 amy September 27, 2011 at 9:09 am

me, too – chocolate + coconut is just pure awesomeness.

3 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl September 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

These look heavenly–I love chocolate and coconut together. And I’ll bet your mother-in-law didn’t mind one bit having you show up late with *these* in hand!

4 amy September 27, 2011 at 10:05 am

isn’t it a great flavor combination? my mother-in-law definitely didn’t mind one bit that we were a few minutes late + she loved the cupcakes, especially the buttercream. father-in-law was awfully happy with ‘em, too!

5 Caroline @ chocolate and carrots September 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

Yay…that’s what I would have done too. Nothing’s complete without dessert! ;-) These look delicious…a great combination! It’s like almond joys in a cupcake form. Mmm!

6 amy September 27, 2011 at 10:29 am

glad you would’ve done the same thing! that makes me feel better. =) i love almond joys, so it’s no surprise that i loved these so much!

7 Jessica @ Cajunlicious September 27, 2011 at 10:38 am

Dark chocolate + coconut + butter-cream = yummy in my tummy!

8 amy September 27, 2011 at 10:49 am

amen to that! i couldn’t have said it better myself. =)

9 Shannon September 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

Yum. Love the toasted coconut on top. :)

10 amy September 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

the real miracle was that i managed to toast the coconut without burning it. more than once i’ve turned my back for a minute too long + boom! burned coconut, smoke-filled kitchen. this time i got it right!

11 LeAndra September 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm

These are just in time for a cupcake war we are having at work next week. I think I may have found my entry!

12 amy September 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm

first of all, i want to work where you work! cupcake war? that sounds amazingly fun. i can’t wait to hear what you make, whether it’s these or another one of your wonderful creations!

13 Renee September 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm

*swoon* If you only knew how much I love Mounds candy and you made a Mounds cupcake. yum x 10

14 amy September 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

i love ‘em, too + if you like mounds, you’ll looove these. swoon indeed!

15 The Waspy Redhead September 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I can’t wait to try your coconut buttercream recipe! I usually find buttercream too sweet, but I think the coconut flavor would add some interest for me.

16 amy September 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm

the coconut definitely cuts the sweetness but it still might be too sweet for you – you could add in some fresh lime juice or even some rum to reduce the sweetness even more.

17 Ally Garner September 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm

It’s odd, but since the cupcake craze hit, I rarely ever see a good dark chocolate cupcake. Lots of milk chocolate, but rarely ever my favorite dark chocolate. Except here :) And I really like the pairing of coconut. The roasted coconut on top is especially pretty! Did your in-laws love them?

18 amy September 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm

agree – i’m much more a dark chocolate person than a milk chocolate, so i use it in lots of baking. the in-laws loved ‘em! in fact, my father-in-law said, ‘this might be the best dessert you’ve ever made.’ but i swear he says that after every new dessert i make. ha!

19 Mommyof2Girlz/StephD September 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I remember that FB post, and I voted be late bearing tasty goodies…lol I would have been thrilled if you were late to my house with these awesome cupcakes! The coconut buttercream sounds heavenly *wiping drool of keyboard* :)

20 amy September 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

yes! i’m so glad you voted to be late with sweets – it was definitely the correct choice in the end!

21 Emily September 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm

These sound great. I love this combo, and have been meaning to make something like these for a while. I like that you use sour cream in the batter, there are too many dry chocolate cakes in the world!

22 amy September 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm

i agree, there’s nothing worse than a dry cake! moist + rich is where it’s at. =) hope they turn out wonderful for you!

23 purabi naha September 28, 2011 at 4:33 am

Amy, you have a lovely space! I loved the idea of coconut buttercream! The recipe and the pictures look great!!

24 amy September 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

thank you so much, Purabi! i’m off to check out your site – i’m excited because i see on your about page that you grew up in India, which is where my brother lives now. i love making any sort of India-related connections these days!

25 Rachel @ The Avid Appetite September 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

These are simply beautiful! I never thought to make dark chocolate cupcakes. I love when my pantry inspires me to create something new :) Love the gorgeous toasted coconut on top.

26 amy September 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm

i prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate or white chocolate (although let’s be honest, i’ll eat any chocolate you put in front of me), so i tend to do mostly dark chocolate-centered desserts. they tend to be pretty rich, which i adore! i love a pantry-inspired meal or dessert, too – they always make me feel both creative *AND* economical. =)

27 New York Diaries September 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Amy these look soooooo good! You’re making things to fast for me to try them!!!! (but please, obviously, DON’T STOP!)

28 amy September 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm

you have no idea how much your comment just made me giggle. thanks for making my day, girl! =)

29 Simply Life September 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

wow, I have no idea how you do it but these need to be in a bakery window. pronto.

30 amy September 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm

aww, that is so sweet. i’m working on my frosting/piping skills — they still have a long way to go, but they are getting better!

31 Marina September 29, 2011 at 1:12 am

Girl, this looks amazing! Wow, I love it!

32 amy September 29, 2011 at 6:25 am

thanks so much marina! if you ever come to nashville, i promise i’ll make some for you. =)

33 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts September 29, 2011 at 9:35 am

Gorgeous cupcakes! I want to be able to pipe frosting so pretty! Love the idea of coconut with these. And I agree with you, show up late with treats!!!

34 amy September 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

i’m going to bring sweets any time i’m late now – it definitely makes up for it! =)

35 Jen January 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I am so excited to make these! When do you add in the flaked coconut to the cake part? I am assuming that you added it to the dry ingredients? I swear I read this 15 times and never saw when you added it in. Maybe I am crazy?

36 amy January 12, 2012 at 1:23 pm

hey Jen! you are definitely not crazy. =) that’s the problem with adapting recipes + adding my own changes – i forgot to write them in! you add the coconut as the last step in making the batter. i just added it into the recipe. thanks for pointing it out + i can’t wait to hear how they turn out for you!

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