Friday, June 29, 2012

Dare To Be Different

Only 2 more weeks to go, YES! I've been counting down the days left until THE trip of my life. I've been daydreaming about all the things we will do or the places we will visit and after what seemed like an eternity, I will finally be able to see Mr. C again. This is the first time I am going on a trip somewhere I've never been to without planning like crazy. Sometimes, I have a little tendency to become a bit obsessive with the planning. This time, I'm just going to take the backseat and enjoy the ride. I still can't believe that we got the Schengen visa to Europe! I don't think it will ever quite sink in until I am there, standing in the midst of it all in real life. Thank you for all the blessings, Lord!

Now on to the cupcakes! Some people may love the combination of chocolate and coconut, others may not. It's not for everyone. A male colleague thought the coconut frosting was strange. Most of them liked it though found the topping a wee bit too sweet. I've paired the coconut-walnut frosting (I didn't have pecans on hand.) with my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe from Chef Chloe.

Personally, I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor and I love it! There's just something so addictive about this caramel-y coconut + nut topping. Oh my gosh, it is SO good, I think you don't even need the cupcake! The real star here is the topping. Whoever created this coconut nut topping is a GENIUS! Seriously, coconut, butter, nuts, sugar, milk, vanilla...into one lovely, caramel, gooey mess! Restrain from eating ALL the frosting by yourself!

chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from Chef Chloe and frosting recipe adapted from Get Me Cooking

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk until combined. 

Stir the coffee into the milk. Whisk the milk, canola oil, vinegar and vanilla extract together in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Whisk until just combined. Do not overmix.

Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan immediately and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. To frost the cupcakes easier with the caramel coconut frosting, use a small ice cream scoop. 
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
pinch of salt

1 1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup walnuts or pecan nuts, chopped

Mix the egg, milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat until well blended.Add in the butter, sugar and salt. Stir continuously for about 10-14 minutes until the mixture turns golden brown and is thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut and chopped walnuts/pecans. Mix thoroughly. Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the ganache.

6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

whole almonds for topping

Put the chocolate chips in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and add to the chocolate chips. Let stand for 1 minute and then stir gently until the chocolate is melted completely and is smooth and glossy. Let it cool to room temperature. If the ganache is still too soft, put the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes or a little longer, until thick enough for piping. Pipe on top of the caramel coconut frosting. Top the ganache with a whole almond in the center.