{everyone needs a side of sparkle}


strawberry cupcakes + coconut frosting {= yum}

During my hurricane Irene induced web-surfing I landed onto uncharted blog territory; how sweet it is is a wonderfully composed food blog that just so happens to have a recipe for cupcakes that combine two of my favorite flavors: strawberry and coconut. Usually the stuff of smoothies, strawberries and coconuts rarely couple up in a recipe. Thus, my love of the two tastes compels me to share this recipe with you. We are in the thick of canning season and I intend to splurge on some organic strawberries just for these (and I simply must have some pink sprinkles to decorate the tops). 

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped strawberries
1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add flour, baking powder and salt with the mixer on low speed, then gradually increase speed. Add in chopped strawberries and beat on medium speed until the strawberries break down – about 1-2 minutes. At this point, the strawberries most likely have enough liquid that you don’t need to add any milk to the batter. If you batter seems dry and is not like typical cake batter, then add milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time, beating until incorporated.

Pour into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way full, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake is set. Let cool, then frost.

Note: I would not suggest using frozen strawberries because of the high water content. If you must, make sure they are completely thawed and as dry as possible. Even the fresh strawberries have a high water content, so if yours seem very wet, blot them with a paper towel. Also, if you can get your hands on some strawberry extract, it would probably be delicious in these. You can also add some food coloring if desired to give it the bright pink look.

Coconut Frosting
2 sticks of butter, softened (1 cup)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar + more if needed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of coconut extract (if you don’t have this, no big deal)
1-2 tablespoons of lite coconut milk
3/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixture until completely smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar slowly. Gradually increase mixer speed and add vanilla and coconut extracts, then beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl. If frosting is too thick, add coconut milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. If it’s too thin, add powdered sugar gradually until it thickens. Fold in shredded coconut and mix until just combined.

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