Friday, February 8, 2019

A Taste of Hawaii, Right in Time for Valentines Day!

And when it comes to flavor, this  packs quite a punch! Mark Hagen, who's the editor of Taste of Home Magazine told Tonia's Kitchen about a recipe for Aloha Cupcakes, also called Pineapple and Coconut Cupcakes.  He says the star here is tropical flavor of the cupcakes. But it's a team effort from the cake flour, which Mark says to use because of it's firmer texture to the chopped pineapple and pineapple juice the recipe calls four.  Mark says it's a great treat for Valentine's Day for those looking for an alternative to chocolate. It's also a tropical dessert that'll really bring the warmth of Hawaii to your dessert tray!

1-1/4 cups cake flour 
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 large eggs 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup canola oil 
1 teaspoon coconut extract 
1/2 cup coconut milk 
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar 

1/2 cup shortening 
1/2 cup butter 
4 cups confectioners' sugar 
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple 
3 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice 

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted 
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts, optional 

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 12 muffin cups with paper or foil liners. Whisk first four ingredients; set aside. Beat eggs and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. Add oil and coconut extract; beat 1 minute more. Add half the flour mixture; beat on low speed. Combine coconut milk and vinegar. Add half to batter; beat just until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture, then remaining coconut milk mixture just until smooth. Fill prepared cups two-thirds full. Bake until cupcakes are golden brown and spring back lightly when touched, 15-18 minutes (do not overbake). Cool on wire rack. For frosting, cream shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioners' sugar a half-cup at a time, adding finely chopped pineapple and pineapple juice after beating in 2 cups of sugar. Add additional confectioners' sugar and pineapple juice to reach desired consistency. Spoon frosting onto cupcakes. Top with toasted coconut and, if desired, chopped macadamia nuts. Yield: 1 dozen. Editor's Note: To toast coconut, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally. 

Test Kitchen tips 
· Do not substitute all-purpose flour. Cake flour is so magical in a white cupcake! 
· No fresh pineapple? Use canned pineapple tidbits and juice instead. 
· For topping, toast 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut by heating over medium-high heat in a small skillet for 3-4 minutes. Watch it very carefully, as it will start to toast quickly once it gets going.