May 8, 2012

Hummingbird Bakery Coconut and Pineapple Cupcakes Recipe (Adapted for High-Altitude)

"Coconut and pineapple gives these cupcakes a tropical flavor. Grated fresh coconut can be used instead of desiccated coconut for an even better flavor."
- The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

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Ingredients

For the Coconut-Pineapple Cake Base:
(makes 10 - 12 cupcakes)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • a scant 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons for sea-level)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut milk, at room temperature (decrease to 1/2 cup for sea-level)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 9 canned pineapple rings, chopped into small pieces
  • shredded coconut, to decorate

For the Coconut Buttercream Frosting:
(enough for 12 cupcakes)
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk, at room temperature
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The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook's Coconut and Pineapple Cupcakes Recipe 
(Adapted for a high-altitude environment of approximately 5,000 ft)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 (F) -- this is a 50 degree (F) increase from the recipe's original bake temperature of 325 (F).

  2. Put 1 cup flour, scant 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

  3. Mix the 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then beat into the flour mixture on medium speed until well combined.

  4. Add the egg and beat well, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

  5. Divide the chopped pineapple between the paper cases. Spoon the cupcake batter on top until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the cake bounces back when touched.

  6. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out into a wire rack to cool completely.
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The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook's Coconut Buttercream Frosting Recipe
(For All Altitudes)
  1. Beat 2 cups confectioner's sugar and 5 tablespoons unsalted butter together using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or, use a handheld whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

  2. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in 2 tablespoons coconut milk.

  3. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed and continue beating until the frosting is very white, light, and fluffy. This should take at least 5 minutes. 
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Tips & Addendums

  • If pineapple's not your thing, feel free to leave it out! Pineapple's not my favorite fruit and I've made these cupcakes without the fruit without any problem. Simply omit the pineapple and follow the recipe as stated above.

  • Coconut milk is available in the Asian section of most supermarkets. I used regular, canned coconut milk from an Asian brand. You can also use fresh coconut milk, which I've seen available at Whole Food's dairy section by the regular milk.

  • All spoon measurements are level and unsifted, unless otherwise specified. To level the ingredients, take the back of a knife and run it across the top of the measuring cup until the excess ingredients are scraped off.

  • Liquid and dry measuring cups are different; please make sure you use the appropriate measuring cup for each ingredient.

  • After adding the coconut milk and eggs to the flour mixture, don't overbeat as this will overwork the flour and make the cake dense -- simply beat until the milk and eggs have just been incorporated. In my opinion, making sure you don't overbeat the batter is one of the hardest parts about baking.

  • Make sure you add the pineapple pieces into the bottom of each cupcake case before spooning batter into them! If you add the pineapple pieces after you've already added the batter (that is, putting the pieces on top of the batter), the batter will not rise evenly and you will have deformed cupcakes.

  • I like to use a 1 tablespoon-sized cookie scoop to divide the cupcake batter evenly between cases. For this recipe, I put 2 tablespoons of cupcake batter in each case.

  • Do not put too many pineapple pieces in your cupcakes; doing so will result in slightly soggy, mushy cupcakes that easily smush in at the base.

  • Do not open your oven until at least the minimum time recommended has passed. Too much cold air coming from a frequently opened oven door causes irregular oven temperatures, which then affect the baking process.

  • These cupcakes might need a longer baking time than other Hummingbird Bakery cupcake recipes posted in this blog. The pineapple in the recipe contains moisture which leaches out into the cupcake batter during the baking process -- this extra moisture requires more time to set in the oven. Try baking the cupcakes for 25-30 minutes if you run into this problem.

  • If your first batch of coconut-pineapple cupcakes resulted in burned pineapple pieces at the bottom of the cupcake, you can "sandwich" the pineapple pieces between batter. That is, first put one scoop of batter in each cupcake case, followed by pineapple pieces, followed by a second scoop of batter. The first scoop of batter will help prevent the pineapple pieces from burning.

  • Specifically for the coconut buttercream frosting: the longer you beat the frosting, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

  • Again, to ensure consistency, I like to use a 1 tablespoon-sized cookie scoop to measure out 1 tablespoon of frosting for each cupcake.

  • Frost your cupcakes immediately after you have made the frosting. If you let the frosting sit out too long, it will start to crust and you will have a hard time frosting your cupcakes. However, make sure your cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting, or they will get soggy.
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6 comments:

  1. Hi! These cupcakes look delicious! I found your blog on Foodgawker. I'm very excited to find someone else who is dealing with high altitude baking, I live in Boulder. I also have a blog. We should chat sometime about baking/blogging. My email address is takingmysweettimeblog@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Hi Heather, thanks for reaching out! I love talking to other local bloggers/bakers about the challenges of baking at high-altitude. Feel free to email me at michellelo2009@gmail.com.

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  2. Very pretty cupcakes. I love the texture of the tops of them.

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  3. Hi Michelle, this cupcake recipe looks great. I wanted to try it out for a party we are having this Thursday. Could you please tell me what changes I would have to make to make it at sea-level? I am from India and at the moment its monsoons here with some humidity and heat in the air. Thanks so much for your help.

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    1. Hi Shika,

      The sea-level quantities are actually in the recipe:

      - increase the baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons
      - decrease coconut milk to 1/2 cup
      - decrease oven temperature to 325 (F)

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

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