This past weekend I had the privilege of co-hosting my best friends bridal shower with her mother. Knowing that the bride and groom are almost more excited about their honeymoon than the wedding itself, I decided to go with a honeymoon shower, instead of a traditional bridal shower. Luckily, my best friend made things easy because they’re going to St. Lucia! And while research on “food of St. Lucia” turned up some vague answers, her mother and I were at least able to come up with some traditional Caribbean recipes that we knew would please a crowd. We had a variety of food including plantain chips, jerk chicken, pulled pork island BBQ, island rice & beans and more! My favorite contribution to the shower were the two coconut cupcake recipes I discovered – one that was traditional coconut and the other, a chocolate coconut. Even though I know not everyone likes coconut (sorry mom), I figured these would be a hit, so long as they turned out pretty!
As we know, I’m not typically a cupcake or cake type of baker, usually leaving those tasks to the more creative, patient people in this world. However, in lieu of doing a large cake for the shower, I wanted to try my hand at these cupcake recipes. I was mostly motivated by the fact that I managed to find toothpick flags of the flag of St. Lucia and once those were ordered, it was time to research recipes – clearly the flags were the more important part of this endeavor. Keeping in mind that not everyone loves coconut, I wanted to be sure to find a traditional recipe and one that involved chocolate, because I imagined people who don’t love coconut probably do love chocolate. Maybe not the best assumption, but hey, I had a lot of flags coming and needed a way to use them.
I managed to somehow make the cupcake-baking a multi-day process, making cupcakes on Tuesday/Wednesday evenings, then bringing the icing ingredients with me to my moms house, whipping it up on Friday night. Then I got up the morning of the shower to ice and coconut them, finally getting the opportunity to use those adorable little flags! And the best part (besides the flags of course)? Using my new cupcake carrier that our friend Justin gave us (aka me) as a wedding gift. All weddings, all the time. But no really, it’s adorable how it pops up into a cupcake carrier from being a normal cake carrier. Every serious baker should own one, even if they aren’t a cake/cupcake queen.
Anywho, enough about cupcakes. I had a blast planning this shower with the brides mom and I think all who attended enjoyed the event. We played fun games like “Find St. Lucia on the map” (actually really difficult) and “Bridal Mad Libs,” in addition to opening some non-traditional honeymoon-related gifts and stuffing our faces with all the delicious food. Everyone left with a goodie bag of rum and a feeling of joy for the upcoming nuptials of the bride and groom….which now need to include things about unicorns, if they follow our Mad Lib-inspired vows that we wrote for them. Here’s to the final countdown to the big day in September!
Baking Notes for Coconut Cupcakes: I eliminated the coconut extract from the cupcake recipe. I used the icing from the chocolate cupcakes listed below, for this batch of cupcakes as well. For some reason I always end up with extra icing! Otherwise, as is norm for me with baking, I followed the recipe to a “t”! I did end up with almost two dozen cupcakes, though….
Coconut Cupcakes (adapted from The Baker Chick; ~2 dozen cupcakes)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 packed cup of sweetened, shredded coconut
*Icing – see recipe below
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners – set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until ingredients are combined, making sure not to overmix. Fold in the coconut. Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter, then bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Ice following instructions below, including rolling in coconut. Add decor and enjoy!
Baking Notes for Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes: I skipped the coconut extract found in the icing recipe and I added shredded coconut to the cupcakes themselves. This recipe made 18 very large cupcakes for me. They were also super moist, even after being frozen for a couple days. Also, the icing made plenty of frosting for both cupcake recipes – yay! However, I will say the chocolate cupcakes were slightly more difficult to frost because of their puffy/moist structure.
Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes (adapted from Your Cup of Cake; makes 18 large cupcakes)
1 box Devil’s food cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with cupcake liners. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl, gently whisk oil, eggs, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract. Pour cake mix into wet ingredients and mix. Fold in shredded coconut. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
*For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter for 5 minutes, beginning on a low speed and increasing the more they are combined, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and beat again. Slowly add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until your reach your desired consistency and sweetness, scraping down the bowl as necessary. For easier application, make the frosting the night before and refrigerate to stiffen. Remove 30 minutes before needing to ice cupcakes. Spread icing on cupcakes, then roll in shredded coconut. Add any final decor and enjoy!