Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
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Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

Hi, hi! What's happening??! You ate a bunch of tomatoes and stone fruit over the week? It was actually warm enough where you are to go to the beach??! Wow. That sounds like the dream : ) Reuben and I had a pretty chill weekend. We watched a whole season of Weeds, stocked up on our asian sauce collection, picked up our Japanese knives from the knife sharpening store, and went grocery shopping. Pretty boring, pretty chill, but just wanted I wanted. Oh, and I washed a mountain of dishes that I accumulated from cooking lunch for my entire office. Gosh. It was super fun but it was so exhausting. My tiny kitchen isn't quite fully equip to handle catering lunches for parties of 30 people. Thankfully, Reuben let me store some veggies in his secret beer fridge! I mean, we've had parties at our apartment before where we've fed 30 people, but being able to transport all the food across town in an Uber is quite a technical challenge. But somehow I got all the food to the office and everyone was happy and full! Chicken wings, soba noodle salad, and onigiri are crowd pleasers if you're also planning on making lunch for your entire office. I'm going to have to look into where in our 800 sf apartment we can fit an extra refrigerator and deep freeze before I volunteer to make lunch again!

Shall we talk cupcakes?

Okay. Before you say anything... I know what you're going to say. These cupcakes have a striking resemblance to the poop emoji. BUT. That probably wasn't the best word choice... but, they taste like the absolute opposite of poop! I wasn't planning on making them look like poop. I was having some buttercream and piping tip issues with my original decoration plan and had to resort to something a little more simple. My buttercream piping skills are a little poopy... sorry, this isn't the most appetizing language... I'll stop using that word. For real though, these coconut cupcakes are so tasty. They are light as air, perfectly slightly sweet, and the texture is so soft and tender. I think this is the best cake batter I've ever made. EVER. The buttercream is also super light and fluffy. It's full of mango flavor. When you take a bite out of the whole cupcake it makes you feel like you're at a baby shower in Hawaii or Thailand. I've never been to a baby shower in Hawaii or Thailand but I imagine that these cupcakes would be there and that I would hang around the dessert table the whole time so I could keep eating these.

I hope you make them sometime and I hope you make them look less like poop!


Coconut Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

makes 18 cupcakes

Cupcake Materials:

1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
1/3 cup toasted coconut shreds

Mango Buttercream Materials:

1 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 mango - you need about 3/4 cup of puree
pinch of salt
orange + yellow food coloring

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 cup suagr, and salt in a large bowl. 

2. Whisk together coconut milk, vanilla, canola oil, and egg yolks in a separate medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in shredded coconut and set aside.

3. Add egg whites into the bowl of your standmixer with the the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Add in 2 tbsp sugar and whisk for another 3-4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter until incorporated.

4. Line the cupcake tins with wrappers and scoop batter into each tin until they are 3/4 of the way filled. Bake for 13-14 minutes until done. These bake really fast so keep a close eye on them. You don't want them to brown that much, if at all.

5. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove to completely cool on a wire rack.

6. While the cupcakes cool, make your buttercream. Score and scoop out the flesh of one mango. Puree in a food processor or immersion blender until smooth. Place softened butter in the bowl of your standmixer with the paddle attachment on. Mix butter on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the mango puree and salt. Mix on low speed while also gradually adding in the powdered sugar. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter cream is light and smooth. If it looks like it's curdled, it's okay! Just keep mixing! After mixing for 4-5 minutes it should be smooth. Add in food color and mix again until color is evenly incorporated. Fill a piping bag with butter cream and decorated as you wish.

7. Top with toasted coconut shreds.

Mango Green Tea Popsicles

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A few summers ago, I was living and working in Beijing, China. I had just graduated from undergrad and I was actually trying to find an architecture internship in Cincinnati for the summer to give myself a chance to relax a little before starting grad school. The firm I was interviewing with asked me if I wanted to work in their China office for the summer. "Uh, cheah!" All of a sudden I was packed up and flying half way across the world to a small studio apartment in Beijing with a circle bed. My summer there was weird, crazy, and amazing. I lived 2 minutes walking from a steamed bun stall where 3 buns cost $1 USD. Do I need to say more?

I have a lot of stories of my time in China that I want to share here, but for today I'm going to tell you about the one time I climbed the Great Wall of China and got a popsicle. I went on a hiking trip to a more "rustic" section of the wall with some work ladies. Early one morning, we met up at a subway stop I couldn't tell you the name of and wandered around the sidewalk searching for a driver to take us to the wall (when ever I type the wall I just imagine game of thrones). Searching for a driver to take you on out of city excursions is really common. I did this a few times that summer. There are guys with vans waiting at the outermost subway stops with their doors open waiting for hikers in need of rides to the countryside. Okay, that sounds really bad but I promise you (Dad) that is was fine! I don't recommend this method if you can't speak mandarin though!

We paid our driver, packed into the van, and made our way to the wall! It was a super sunny and hot day and I was ready with my inhaler. However, I was not ready for how crumbly this portion of the wall was going to be.  I'm a complete klutz by the way. So I definitely felt like my legs were about to give out at a lot of spots along the hike and I clung to any stable portion of wall I could. I just remember feeling so hot and achy by the time we got to the top-ish portion of our hike. I was thankful to have not fallen off to my death and miraculously there was an older asian man in a sun hat selling popsicles. WHAT?!  There's popsicles up here?! This old skinny man hikes this everyday with a big cooler on his back to sell popsicles to hikers?! And I'm 22 and about to have an asthma attack?! Lots of questions. But I was thankful for this man and his popsicles. I can't even remember what flavor it was. That summer I was obsessed with these odd fruity yogurt popsicles that I could never figure out the name of, so it might have been those. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? 

That popsicle tasted like bliss despite whatever flavor it was. How often do you get to enjoy a popsicle on top of the Great Wall of China and not be surrounded by tourists? Unless your the popsicle man, almost never. It was an incredible experience with an even better view. Look at those lush mountains! We finished out popsicles, explored some abandoned watch towers, and made our descent back to the village where our driver was waiting for us. I didn't fall and I made it back to my circle bed in one piece. I hope that popsicle man is doing well and still making out of shape foreign hikers, like myself, incredibly happy.

So thats my quick story about popsicles and climbing the Great Wall of China! Now, lets talk about these here Mango Green Tea Popsicles. I have one last popsicle remaining in my freezer from this batch and I'll probably have it later today with the weather being so nice and sunny. They are so bright and refreshing! If I was in Ohio, where it actually feels like summe, I'd be eating 2 of these a day. The green tea is more like a slightly sweet green tea lemonade and the mango gets really creamy once its frozen. So good! I've also been buying a million champagne mangos a week, so this is a way to make sure I don't waste a single one!

Maybe I should start a business of packaging these popsicles in a cooler, climbing up to Mt. Tam and selling them to millennial hikers? I'd probably make no money but have killer calves. Doesn't sound terrible. 

PS. I start my new job tomorrow. I feel like summer vacation is over. Ah!


Mango Green Tea Popsicles

makes 10 popsicles

Steps:

1. In a large pitcher or bowl, steep 3 green tea bags in 3 cups of hot water for 5-7 minutes. Discard tea bags and add the juice of 2 lemons and sugar. Give it a quick stir.

2. Peel your mango. Slice the mango around the pit into 2 meaty halves, slice about 1/4" left and right of the center of the mango. You'll be able to tell if you're cutting into the pit. Place the half flat side down on your cutting board and slice into thin slices, about 1/8" thick.

3. Add a few slices of mango to each popsicle mold. The mango slices will actually adhere a little to the sides of the mold which make placement really easy, the mango slices just slide down the sides.

4. Pour green tea into each popsicle mold. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. After an hour add popsicle sticks and pop back in the freezer for 5 hours until frozen solid. Enjoy!

* run the popsicle molds under hot water to help get the popsicles out of the molds!

Materials:

1 ripe mango

3 green tea bags - I used Mighty Leaf Tropical Green Tea

3 cups of hot water

2 lemons

3 tsp sugar