Kumquat Coconut Cupcakes
The first day of March truly harkens of spring around here. The mounds of snow we’ve been buried under for a month are beginning to drip hypnotically as they melt in the fantastically warm sunshine. Oh that we would have seen the last of the white stuff for this year, but I haven’t let myself entertain such hopes seriously. After all, March has come in like a lamb, and you know what they say about its exit in such a case. I’m nearly frantic with the need to get into my garden to start preparing seed beds and fretting anxiously over my spring bulbs that would normally burst forth with blooms in just a few weeks.
So in acknowledgement that spring may have come or it may equally be far away, I’ve got yet one more winter treat for you. Kumquats hang heavy from the indoor trees here at the moment. They’ve reached the end of their season and need to be picked and used up. I was happy to oblige.
The tropical combination of coconut and kumquats seemed fitting for a creating a recipe that bridges the winter and spring seasons. It was awfully fun to create mounds of snowy coconut and roll sunny kumquats down them for this photo shoot. Sometimes it’s good to play with your food.
I should warn you that I’m still tinkering with this recipe. The cupcakes were rich and moist, but a bit too dense for my liking. Cake, cup-shaped or otherwise, should be fluffy, should it not? I suspect that it was the extra juice of the kumquats that I didn’t account for that weighed down the crumb so I’ve tweaked the amounts of liquid below but haven’t actually had a chance to test it again to be sure. Don’t mind my Miss Perfectionist attitude; those cupcakes from the first batch were gobbled down with rave reviews between greedy bites so there’s nothing to fear. I wanted to be sure to share this recipe with you before fresh kumquats sadly disappeared from your local market for another year, if they haven’t already.
If coconut’s not your thing but you’ve still got a pint of kumquats to use up, don’t forget about the delectable Cranberry Kumquat Cornbread recipe from a few weeks back. Or, if you really aren’t that fond of eating kumquats at all, D has found that they make very good eyeballs for snowmen.
Kumquat Coconut Cupcakes
A Straight from the Farm Original
3/4 C. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C. of sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 C. cake flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 C. coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 C. sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C. chopped kumquats*
4-5 whole kumquats, sliced very thinly
1/2 C. butter, room temperature
8 oz fat free cream cheese, room temperature
1/2-1 C. of powdered sugar
1/2 C. lightly toasted sweetened shredded coconut
*To chop kumquats, rinse them well in luke warm water. Slice in half and remove seeds. Place in a food processor and give them a few pulses until they are chopped into small bits. To toast coconut, place it on a cookie sheet in the 350 F oven while you are making the batter, being sure not to let it burn.
To Make the Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter until fluffy. Add sugar and mix until fluffy again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each. Add the vanilla bean scrapings and mix until well distributed.
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in a bowl or ziplock bag. Shake your can of coconut milk and then open it, measuring out a cup.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir, then add 1/3 of the coconut milk. Continue alternating until wet and dry ingredients are just incorporated; do not over mix.
Fold in the shredded coconut and chopped kumquats. Use a scooper or a set of spoons to divide batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, or when pressing lightly on the tops, they spring back.
Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar, taste as you go, adding sugar until you have reached the desired sweetness.
Spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle toasted coconut on top and decorate each cupcake with a thin slice or two of kumquat.