I love cupcakes-more than making a whole cake, truthfully. I think it's because a large cake just feels like too much, somedays. You feel obligated to eat the whole thing eventually. With a family as small as mine, it seems like too much commitment to make a cake.
Cupcakes, on the other hand, are just little bites here and there. You can have one or four. Recipes can be halved, some can be frozen for later, and you can even bake a few different kinds if you are feeling fancy. Or possibly if you are like me and have a birthday coming, for which you need to provide the treats at your workplace. Not everyone loves chocolate (I know, it's sacriligious, isn't it?) and so on the hunt for a good alternative, I found these. The frosting is very sweet-almost too much so for me, but its light and fluffy, like a marshmallow topping. You could, if you were feeling decadent, substitute chocolate ganache topping and some chopped almonds to achieve something akin to an Almond Joy chocolate bar. See there I go again, wanting to dip everything in chocolate.
These bake up light and fluffy, and can stay on the counter iced for up to three days in an airtight container. That is, if they last that long.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar, divided (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
4 eggs, at room temperature, separated
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, lightly toasted
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
If you are making a layer cake, grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the egg yolks until well blended. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the butter mixture in three different portions, alternating with the coconut milk and beginning and ending with flour. Blend well. The batter will be very thick.
In a different bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until foamy, and then add the 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold half of the egg white mixture into the batter until not quite incorporated. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold until they are incorporated.
Spoon the mixture either into two 8 inch cake pans or into a muffin tin lined with paper liners. You should get about 18-20 cupcakes. Bake the cakes for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow them to sit in the tin for a few minutes to cool before removing to a wire rack and cooling completely.
Frost with chocolate ganache or a marshmallow-like seven minute frosting.
Adapted from Anna Olson