Coconut Cream Cupcakes
These cream-filled coconut cupcakes from TV chef Thomas Joseph are the perfect treat for any birthday party or special occasion.
For the Cake
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
- 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
For the Filling
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 large egg yolks
- Pinch of coarse salt
- 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Sweetened Whipped Cream
- 2 1/4 cup coconut flakes, toasted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds (if using) in a small saucepan over medium just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolk, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
In a saucepan, combine sugar, coconut milk, and 1/2 cup whole milk. Set saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and mixture comes to a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup milk and cornstarch; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and salt. Slowly whisk in one-third of the sugar mixture into the yolk mixture. Add yolk mixture to saucepan with remaining sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in cornstarch mixture and place saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and strain into a medium bowl; stir in toasted coconut, vanilla, and butter until butter is melted and mixture is well combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until set.
Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip. Insert pastry tip into the center of each cupcake and carefully fill. Top each filled cupcake with a large dollop of whipped cream; sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve, up to overnight.