Malibu and Coconut Cupcakes and the Great Cupcake Debate

There is something in the world that means that cupcakes are looked down upon. For a while, they were fun and flirtatious and people would have swapped their grandmothers for some twirly and whirly confection or fought each other on the streets over the best buttercream. And now, they are as unfashionable as Juicy Couture tracksuits, although I do know some parts of Britain where those tracksuits reign supreme, and it makes me wonder what did the cupcake do wrong and why was it’s ascendence so brief.

I think this is in part due to the badness of cupcakes out their on cake shop shelves, all but very few cupcakes I’ve ever eaten, and that includes the most expensive out there, have been pretty bland, dry or miserable tasting. Then there’s the topping, the overexcitable swirl atop a cake is great if you like whipped icing or buttercream and if it’s brilliantly made but when it tastes like fluff and the butterflies made from sugar also taste of nothing, it’s not so fun. And this, I think, is the root cause of the public’s sudden shunning of cupcakes.

I, unlike the nation, am always slow on the uptake of what is ‘in’, for one reason, whatever is ‘in’ in London has yet to be invented in Liverpool, which isn’t at all saying Liverpool is backward, just London seems to streak ahead of us all in wild new trends like tea with bubbles in it (which actually looks quite cool). And so rather than liking cupcakes and now having no time for them, I used to dislike them intensely and having cracked what makes a great cupcake, I now like them very much. Not all of them, still not the dry ones or the ones with bad icing but good ones, bring them on!

And on this note, I also think some of the best cupcakes are the ones with the most simple looks but a good punchy flavour from the icing and so this is how this cupcake was born. Think of it as a kind of ‘Beach Barbie’ cupcake, one that wouldn’t look out of place sat next to a Playboy bunny or a real bunny or better yet, a Malteaster bunny (if you haven’t tried one, do!) This is a pretty simple recipe and isn’t my usual cupcake recipe but is a good quick one and so I’ve provided it for that reason. Also a freestanding mixer makes this the most horrendously simple thing in the world, if you don’t have one, an electric whisk will work brilliantly but you’ll just have to do more mixing. I’ve named my mixer after Daisy the Kitchen Maid in Downton Abbey, because I’m cool.

I would drink this with some kind of wicked and wild cocktail but a lemonade punch or a cup of lovely Earl Grey would work well too. I have an idea that these would be lovely for a hen party with gin and tonic macaroons and champagne cream scones.




Malibu and Coconut Cupcakes

for the cupcakes:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g butter, softened
  • 100ml milk
  • 50ml coconut milk
  • 1 free-range egg

for the icing:

    • 175g butter, softened
    • 500g icing sugar.
    • 50ml doconut milk
    • a dash of Malibu
    • dessicated coconut to decorate

First, my golden rules of cupcakes, the butter must be soft, leave out of the fridge well in advance, the bowl should be large so you’re not struggling to stir your mix, the butter and sugar must be creamed and I’ve never heard of a cupcake that has gone wrong because it’s been creamed for too long, the whiter and fluffier, the better.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases, I use muffin cases because you get a bigger cupcake.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl or freestanding mixer and cream until very white and fluffy, add the rest of the dry cupcake ingredients into the bowl and mix well.
  3. Stir the egg, coconut milk and milk together and add to the mixer. Allow this to mix at a medium speed for about 2 minutes or until well combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into your muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and goldeny brown. Remove from the oven and leave to one side to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. While they are cooling, make your icing by adding the icing and sugar in the mixer or a bowl and beating until well combined. When combined, pour in the coconut milk and allow the whisk or mixer to whip this for up to 5 minutes. The longer whipped, the fluffier the icing.
  6. At the very last minute, add the Malibu and allow it to combine.
  7. Spoon the icing on top of the cooled cupcakes and spread.
  8. While still wet, roll the tops of the cupcakes in dessicated coconut.

2 thoughts on “Malibu and Coconut Cupcakes and the Great Cupcake Debate

  1. Mary Wallace says:

    When my children were younger I invested in a petitfours baking tin – gives you 24 teeny cupcakes ( altho’ here in Ireland we call them buns!). No more leftover buns with just the tops bitten off at birthday parties. These magical little buns were a hot favourite. And there isn’t as much fiddling with the icing than you might think; a little extra time.

    Now that my boys have grown up I make them normal size. Most popular topping – butterfly wings made by slicing off the tops, cutting in two and replacing at an angle into buttericing. For really special finish make tiny antennae with meklted chocolate!!

    More recently I have discovered baking using vegetables like carrots, courgettes, beetroot, etc. The veg add wonderful, subtle, texture and moistness. A more grownup sophistication to the humble bun. Your tempting recipe today Ells brings the cupcake to another level altogether! Many thanks! I’m gonna try this one next time they’re all home….

    • girlwiththewoodenspoon says:

      Thanks Mary, it’s always great to hear stories about food. I used to love my best friend’s birthday parties because she had butterfly cakes but I never did. My mother always made the most beautiful birthday cakes but I wanted a shopbought cake more than anything! x

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