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Monday, August 15, 2005

Recipe: Lychee-Coconut Cupcakes with Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting, Candied Ginger Sprinkles, and Sugar Decorations

The lychee and coconut flavors in these cupcakes are subtle, but decidedly tropical. The cake texture is crumbly and moist. The chopped lychee and coconut provide interesting texture variation. The unfrosted cupcakes are delicious and not too sweet, perfectly yummy on their own.

The frosting was fantastic as expected, when is cream cheese frosting not? I added about a tablespoon of fresh ginger which provided some texture, but added more and more ginger powder until I was happy with the bite. I can't say exactly how much I added, but its best to just add to taste. The burnt caramel sugar decorations added a nice crunch and another layer of flavor.

Overall, these cupcakes tasted pretty special... very multi-dimensional and flavorful. The recipe should be a good starting point for any combination of tropical flavors.

24 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
25 grams coconut cream powder (1/2 pack) dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces canned lychee fruit, drained and chopped
1 cup fresh coconut, grated (see note below on dealing with the fresh coconut)

1. mix flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium sized bowl
2. in a separate small bowl, beat eggs to break up
3. add oil to the eggs and mix to combine
4. add eggs/oil to the dry ingredients, mix to combine
5. add vanilla, lychee, and coconut to the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine
6. scoop into lined cupcake tins with an ice cream scooper
7. bake at 350 degree oven (325 convection) for ~20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean

Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground ginger (the spice)

1. bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
3. beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
4. add 4 cups of the sugar and beat until combined
5. add gingers and beat until combined
NOTE: If you are not sure how much ginger taste you might like, start by adding half the amount and taste/adjust until you get the ginger flavor you like.
6. add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

[optional] Sugar Decorations

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon glucose

1. put everything in a small saucepan over medium-high heat
2. stir until sugar dissolves
3. let boil until it reaches 320 degrees F, use a candy thermometer
4. brush down the sides with water as it boils (to prevent crystallization), don't stir
5. prepare a small bowl of cold water to dip pan in once temperature is reached
6. transfer pan into bowl and quickly drizzle sugar syrup over a silicon mat or mold


1. chop some candied ginger to sprinkle on the cupcakes
2. scoop a dollop of frosting on to each of the cooled cupcakes
3. sprinkle candied ginger on top
4. place sugar decoration on top of that

[note] Ah, The Coconut

There was to be only one option, fresh coconut. Fresh is always superior to dried, no? First I took an ice chipper and a hammer and poked a couple of holes into the coconut.

fig. 1 poking holes

I set the coconut over a plastic container to drain.

fig. 2 draining

Then I took the coconut, wrapped it in a towel, grabbed a hammer, and relocated to the front stoop. There I preceded to bang on the coconut until the darn thing gave. That took some brute force. It had been a while since I cracked a mature coconut and it proved to be mildly frustrating.

fig. 3 cracked

The cracked coconut and I returned to the kitchen where the flesh was separated from the shell with a butter knife. The brown skin was peeled off the flesh with a vegetable peeler. The flesh was rinsed in cold water and 4 ounces was weighed into a tared bowl.

I opted for using a food processor to grate the coconut flesh. Given the amount of time I had already invested in the coconut, hand grating with a box grater seemed extravagant. I grated in small batches in the hopes of getting at uniformity. It worked out fine. I am not sure just how much better the fresh coconut is compared to bagged, as I didn't try the second option. I can only hope it was worth the effort.

Printable, PDF-version of the recipe.


Blogger Cupcake Queen said...

This is so beautiful....who could eat such a work of art? Congratulations!

8/14/2005 6:58 PM  
Blogger Cupcake Queen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/14/2005 6:58 PM  
Blogger Chin Ru said...

i am so amazed at your cupcakes! They are absolutely beautiful! Do you sell them anywhere? i am starting to experiment with cupcakes and really want to make a wide variety! Thank you - you are certainly an inspiration!

8/15/2005 1:06 AM  
Anonymous jenne said...

oh my goodness. i happen to have some fresh lychees on the kitchen counter right now. this is the dreamiest combo of flavors i need to make this! thank you for posting this recipie!

i do have one stupid question. what is coconut cream powder? is it something i can find in the baking section or more like at a asian market?

8/16/2005 12:15 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Wow...the sugar decor is awesome! Great way to top such spectacular cupcakes.

8/16/2005 7:22 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

hey, jenne. i got the powdered coconut cream at an asian market. you can use the powder or the can of coconut cream. if you only have a can of coconut milk, that should be fine, but take the top thick layer of the can.

chin run, i barely sell them. i am usually too busy with my actual job and i find i prefer to make them for myself. baking for money is stressful.

8/16/2005 8:44 AM  
Blogger Chin Ru said...

another question - what do you use to top the icing? do you use one of those piping bags with the cones? i have used a pallette knife to smear the icing on, but it just looks messy! if interested, you can see the pic on www.sweetoven.blogspot.com!

8/17/2005 2:44 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Your pink cupcakes are cute! I use a piping bag with a large #3 star tip. Next time I do some frosting with a piping bag, I will have someone take pictures and post a 'how-to'.

Often I will just smear the frosting on with a pallette knife. The key is to scoop the frosting with a big spoon and transfer it to the cupcake so its kind of even (or a small ice cream scoop). If you dip the scoop in hot water first (then dry it) the frosting will slide out easy. From there you smush it down with the pallette knife and even it out. You can also dip the pallette knife in hot water, wipe dry, then smooth down the frosting.

8/17/2005 9:57 AM  
Blogger chockylit said...

Argh, I meant #6 star.

8/17/2005 6:52 PM  
Blogger latifa said...

A creative cupcake. Well Done

8/20/2005 1:48 AM  
Anonymous sweets said...

this is such a great site. i can't stop looking ^-^

1/23/2006 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Fantastic recipes - I'm really blown away. Another good way to get coconut out of it's shell is after draining place it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 - 25 minutes or so. The shell will crack and pop open and then you can remove the flesh with a rubber spatula and peel off the brown stuff with a veggie peeler like you mentioned.

1/27/2006 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl -
I know my question is coming nearly a year after you posted the recipe, but do I mix the coconut cream in with the eggs and oil before adding to the dry ingredients?

Your creations are inspiring! Thank you -

7/03/2006 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there. I came across your blog just today as I was searching for some recipes for a lychee filling. Have you ever tried a lychee filling for your cupcakes?? I'm a pastry chef just out of school and a special request has been made and I don't have much experience with lychees.

7/11/2006 8:42 AM  

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