Chances are, if you’ve made it this far into the New Year, you’ve finally used up all that eggnog you bought for Christmas and New Year celebrations. If you live in South Florida, you made vats of either Crema de Vie or Coquito (add a can of coconut milk to your crema de vie or eggnog, and you’ve got “coquito”!). And your friends and relatives took care of that for you. Hey, spike anything with rum and coconut, and we’re there! It’s not too late, you know – in Miami, we like to keep the festivities going till Three Kings Day (Epiphany, to the rest of you), which this year is January 6th. Any excuse to keep that holiday feeling going as long as possible, right?
As happens frequently, however, I was inspired to take it in a different direction. Now, if you’re (one of) my regular reader(s), you might notice that I don’t really make cupcakes. It’s too intimidating these days, what with cupcakes having become a virtual art form. You’ve got Cupcake Wars on television, professional cupcake bakeries on nearly every corner or in every food truck rally, and it seems that the product of a modest home baker doesn’t stand a chance, right? I couldn’t possibly compete. Especially since I really don’t do “pretty food”. But, this one time, I actually had some Coquito leftover (I know! Unthinkable!), and I decided to get over my fear of frosting.
For you. I’m only doing this for you. And the rum.
(makes 12 regular-sized cupcakes)
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup coquita
Coquito Frosting Ingredients:
- 4 ounces butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup coquita
- Toasted coconut for garnish (optional, but recommended)
Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl (using either a stand mixer or hand mixer), cream the softened butter until light and fluffy. Slowly blend in the sugars, followed by the eggs, then the coquita, until well blended.
With the mixer on low speed, start adding the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until moistened (or you’re sure the mix won’t come flying out of the bowl), then increase the speed, mixing well.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners equally, about 3/4 full. Bake for 15 – 2o minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one, comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Or screw the frosting and just eat them. Tell people they’re muffins.
For the frosting:
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is completely incorporated. Slowly add the coquita and blend completely until you have a thick, creamy frosting.
Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with toasted coconut, as you like.
To toast coconut: Simply spread about 1/2 cup of shredded coconut on a small cookie sheet and bake in your heated oven for about 2 minutes. Check it after a minute and stir it around a bit. Watch it like a hawk, people! If you can smell it, you burned it. Make sure you have enough shredded coconut on hand to make another batch after you’ve burned the first one. You will. Trust me.
You can certainly make these flavorful cupcakes with Crema de Vie or plain ol’ eggnog, if that’s what you have. Is it spiked with rum? Even better! Just keep in mind that, while the alcohol will “burn off” during baking the cupcakes, it will still be there in the frosting, since that doesn’t get cooked. Best keep these for the grownups!
Never, ever, ever try to frost cupcakes (or anything else, for that matter) when it is warm and humid in your kitchen. While the frosting will set up, this is what will happen in the meantime:
Now, we turn the plate around and see the effects of frosting said cupcakes in a warm, humid environment. Don’t make my mistake! LOL!