March 13, 2011

Pig-tailed Coconut Cupcakes

Pig-tailed Macaque

In Southern Thailand and Malaysia there are schools that train the Pig-tailed Macaques to harvest coconuts. I was pretty surprised to learn that these medium-sized monkeys could be trained to do such a thing.  There are even yearly competitions held in Thailand and Malaysia in search of the fastest harvesting monkeys.  So, does the monkey get the reward or the trainer?  Hmm... I hope both!

I was tickled at the possibility of one of those little guys having picked the very coconuts I was using for my luscious coconut cupcakes.  This is one of my favorite cupcakes.  You'll notice that I've sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on the top of the cupcake. The sesame seeds add an extra layer of nutty, unique and exotic flavor to compliment the intense sweetness of the coconut butter cream frosting.  Delicious.

For the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/ cup vegetable oil
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups coconut milk

Preparation:  Preheat oven 350 degrees F, line standard muffin tin with paper liners
1. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, and egg whites.
3. Divide flour into 3 additions; divide coconut milk into 2 additions.  
4. Beginning with flour, alternately whisk flour and milk into sugar mixture until smooth.
4. Divide batter into paper liners.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until done
6. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool on wire rack

For the frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

For garnish
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
4-5 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1. In large bowl, beat butter until smooth.
2. Add sugar, salt, coconut milk, and vanilla extract.  
3. Beat on medium-low speed until well blended.
4. Scrape sides of bowl and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy
5. Once cupcakes completely cooled, frost and generously top with flaked coconut.  
6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.