This past December I went to my cousin’s wedding which I can safely say was the most stunning event of my lifetime. Granted, I have not been to many weddings so I would not consider myself an expert. However, I believe these pictures give me considerable credibility. The wedding was on a small remote island off another small remote island and took 3 planes and a boat to get there. The last plane only held capacity for five passengers including the pilot, a very important fact omitted when I booked the flight on cheaptickets.com. If there was ever a time to obey the turn off your phones rule, it was on this plane and I would have punched out an Alec Baldwin at first glimpse of an iphone.
One of the most remarkable features of the island, besides the ridiculous views and secluded white sand beaches, was the intensive fruit garden. Taking a tour of the premises, I found myself led by the gardener through rows and rows of coconut, pineapple, mango and avocado trees. He insisted on cutting me down a coconut and pulled out a massive machete for the task. After gingerly climbing up the tree and shimming down with the fruit, he set up the coconut on a stump. With one smooth motion of his machete, he effortlessly sliced off the top. Clearly not new to awing his guests with fresh coconut, he pulled a straw from his back pocket for me to use. I almost hoped for a tiny umbrella out of the other pocket.
Since this trip, I have been wanting to find a recipe that encapsulates the sweet lush garden of the island. I found exactly that in these pineapple cupcakes with coconut frosting. The cupcakes are remarkably moist due to the addition of the whole can of crushed pineapple, juice included. I decreased the sugar slightly since I wanted the strongest taste to come from the natural sweetness of the pineapple juice. The cupcakes reminded me of a pineapple upside down cake without all the work. This might be the simplest cupcake recipe short of boxed cake mix. But the coconut frosting is the real showstopper of the dessert. The coconut milk makes for a very creamy and flavorful frosting. And paired with toasted coconut flakes. Just like heaven.
Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting
Adapted from catesworldkitchen.com
Makes 15-20 cupcakes
10 oz (canned) crushed pineapple in juice
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the baking soda, baking powder, flour, sugar and salt.
3. Add oil and eggs to flour mixture, mixing after each addition until fully incorporated.
4. Add crushed pineapple, juice included. Mix thoroughly.
5. Pour into the prepared cupcake tins, and bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cupcakes should be golden brown on the edges.
6. Remove from tin and cool completely.
1 stick butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 300. Spread coconut flakes evenly onto a baking sheet. Toast for 8-10 minutes or until just golden. (Check coconut frequently so as not to burn. I would first check at five minutes since the flakes cook so fast and a few minutes could be the difference between toasted or blackened flakes.)
2. Once golden, remove and set aside to cool.
3. Using an electric hand mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Add coconut milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting has a smooth, creamy consistency.
4. Frost cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.