If I had a kitchen muse, I would have to say it's Ina Garten
With her, baking and cooking are labors of love, and what is not to love about her amazing recipes (or her fabulous Hamptons house?). I have been watching Barefoot Contessa for years and while her dishes are not as easy to make as some other Food Network cooks, they never fail to please.
Ina's Coconut Cupcakes
This FABULOUS recipe comes from Ina Garten's "The Barefoot Contessa" cookbook, which features recipes from her hugely successful New York take-out store, also named The Barefoot Contessa
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 7-ounce package flaked sweetened coconut, divided
Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Line 16 muffin cups with paper baking cups, and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and set oven racks at top and lower middle levels.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat again briefly.
Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold in only 1 1/3 cups of the coconut.
Fill each muffin cup almost full with batter. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 11 to 14 minutes on the top and lower-middle racks of oven, then reverse the positions of the two cupcake pans (putting the one from the top on the lower middle rack and vice versa), and bake another 11 to 14 minutes or until the cupcake tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, and then top them with cream cheese icing. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. If you want to freeze these, store them unfrosted in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
To serve unfrosted cupcakes that have been frozen, allow to thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving, then ice and serve them. Makes about 16 cupcakes.