June 14, 2012

Coconut Cupcakes with Pineapple Habanero Curd

Coconut flakes are gross.  They are chewy and get stuck in your teeth and taste artificial.  The texture had put me off to the flavor for years.  But recently, I have really warmed up to coconut due to my new love of all food Thai.  Coconut milk is the basis of a lot of Thai dishes and my pantry normally has 3-4 cans of coconut milk at any given time.  Curries, soups, and quick sides, I had yet to try any desserts.  Enter Ina Garten's coconut cupcakes!

Ina is my favorite so I thought I would give the flaked coconut one more try.  Sorry, lady, but I still hate the texture.  So I decided to improvise a bit and use reduced coconut milk, as suggested by Bon Appetit in April 2009, instead of the buttermilk in the recipe and left out the flakes.  Incredible.  The cupcakes have the scent of coconut and work perfectly with the pineapple habanero curd!

After injecting the curd in the middle of the cupcake, I topped the cupcakes with a thown-together lime and coconut cream cheese frosting.  They were a tropical treat!  I brought them to a barbecue as a kit: cupcakes, the curd loaded into a ziptop bag with a pastry tip in an air tight container, and a large ziptop bag of the frosting.  At the party I cut little x's into the center of the cupcakes, injected the curd, and then snipped a corner in the frosting bag to pipe the frosting on the top.

Special thanks to the ladies hosting as well as the guest-guinea pigs who were game for a dessert with habanero!

Coconut Cupcakes with Pineapple Habanero Curd

Reduced Coconut Milk
2 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk

Bring the coconut to a boil in a medium saucepan and reduce the heat to simmer.  Continue to cook on medium low, being sure to stir occasionally, until you have about 1 1/2 cups reduced coconut milk.  Let cool before using in the frosting or cupcakes.

Cupcakes - Adapted from Ina Garten
3 sticks (3/4 pound) unsalted butter - room temperature
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs - room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup reduced coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Begin by creaming the sugar and butter together with an electric mixer.  Using the mixer, add the eggs one at a time.  Finally, add the vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Assemble the batter by adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 parts, alternating the addition of dry with the coconut milk.  Mix each addition gently with a spatula.  Fill cupcake liners almost to the top.

Bake at 325 F for 25-35 minutes until the tops are puffed and golden brown.  Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes at then remove to a cooling rack.  While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the curd and the frosting.

Create an X in the center of the cooled cupcake with a paring knife.  In a ziptop bag, cut a hole big enough to fit a pastry tip and fill the bag with the curd.  Pipe the curd into the center of the X, squeezing until it starts to come out the top.  Top with the coconut lime cream cheese frosting and enjoy!

Pineapple Habanero Curd
3 6oz cans of pineapple juice, divided (about 2 1/4 cups juice)
2 habaneros, no seeds or ribs
6 egg yolks
5 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cups sugar

Begin by pulsing 1 can of pineapple juice and habaneros in a food processor or a blender until thoroughly combined.  Pour out into a large bowl and add the rest of the juice.  Begin the curd by thoroughly whisking the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium saucepan until slightly lighter in color.  Add the cornstarch one tablespoon at a time, whisking thoroughly.  Add the peppered pineapple juice to the egg yolk mixture and whisk over low heat for two 3 minutes, while increasing the heat slowly to medium.  Whisk for another 5-7 minutes until the mixture has thickened.  Remove from the heat and continue to whisk for another 5 minutes or so.  Let cool before inserting in the cupcakes!

Coconut Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese - room temperature
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter - room temperature
zest and juice from 1 lime
1/3 cups reduced coconut milk
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt, to taste

Using an electric mixer, combine the room temperature cream cheese and unsalted butter.  Add the lime zest and juice and coconut milk.  Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time.  Season with a little salt to taste.


  1. I want this soooooo bad!! I would lick that frosting off so fast haha thank you for the yummy recipe! http://abpetite.blogspot.com/

  2. Love this!! So creative and amazing flavor combo. These deserve top 9 for sure.

  3. I love the sounds of pineapple habanero curd stuffed inside a cupcake! Delicious use of flavors :)

  4. Umm I need these in my life ASAP. Amazing!

  5. OK...you had me sold at the first 2 sentences! I have said those exact words too many times to count!! I can not wait to try this recipe, the combination sounds unbelievably amazing.


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