Snow-topped Holiday Cupcakes

Snow-topped Holiday Cupcakes Recipe


I love to feature Lisa Yockelson's cupcake recipe this time of year because they are so darn cute and delicious (thank you Lisa!). Her recipe makes perfect snow-topped holiday cupcakes. They have big, billowy, knee-deep frosted tops that hint at the coconut blizzard that must have just blown through your kitchen.

As I've learned the hard way, not all cupcake recipes are created equal. It's easy to end up with flat, dense cupcakes. Not these. They blossom from their muffin tins, set right up, and then behave perfectly - eventually glowing with a kiss of gold from the heat of the oven. After coming out of the oven the cupcakes hold nicely - no sinking, slumping, or fissures.

While the cupcakes are baking I whip up the coconut cream cheese frosting - easy and delicious. You can make them small, medium, or jumbo. Decorate them with your favorite, holiday characters. I found these vintage snowmen at a flea market.

Sidenote: I haven't tried to make these with any alternative flours but would like to at some point. If any of you have, please let me know what you did -and how they turned out.

 
 
 
 

Snow-topped Holiday Cupcake Recipe

Lisa calls these her Jumbo Coconut Cupcakes. Start with the cupcake batter and whip up the frosting while the cupcakes are baking and cooling.

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsifted bleached all-purposed flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup thick, cultured sour cream
1 cup tightly packed sweetened flaked coconut

Coconut Cream Frosting (see recipe below), without the addition of the sweetened flaked coconut, for topping the baked cupcakes

About 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, to top the frosted cupcakes

Bakeware needed:
8 jumbo muffin/cupcake cups (two pans each holding six individual muffin cups), each cup measuring 4 inches in diameter, 1 3/4 inches deep, with a capacity of about 1 1/8 cups (hs note: I used standard muffin pans. When I filled the cups 2/3 full, I got nice classic cupcakes. When I filled to the top I got big, jumbo-style cupcakes. Both were great, and plenty jumbo for me.)

Nonstick cookware spray, for preparing the muffin/cupcake pans

Preheat the oven to 375. Film the inside of the muffin/cupcake cups with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg onto a sheet of waxed paper.

Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes. Add half of the superfine sugar and beat for 1 minute; add the balance of the superfine sugar and beat for 2 minutes longer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 45 seconds after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently with a rubber spatula to keep the batter even textured.

On low-speed, alternately add the sifted mixture in three additions with the sour cream in two additions, beginning and ending with the sifted mixture. The batter will be smooth, moderately thick, and buttercream-like. On low speed blend in the coconut.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin/cupcake cups, mounding it slightly in the center.

Bake the cupcakes for 30 to 35 minutes (hs note: less if you use smaller tins), or until risen and completely set. When baked, a wooden pick inserted in the center of a cupcake will withdraw clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the pans on racks for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the cupcakes to cooling racks. Cool completely.

Using a flexible palette knife, spread the frosting as thickly as possible on top of the cooled cupcakes, making a thick 2-inch cap on top. Sprinkle the frosted surfaces of the cupcakes with the coconut. Refrigerate any cupcakes not served within 2 hours.

Makes 8 jumbo frosted cupcakes.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces (one and one-half 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons (1/4 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups unsifted confectioners' sugar (hs note: I used a bit more)
3/4 cup lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl on moderate speed for 1 minute, or until creamy and well combined. Blend in the vanilla extract, heavy cream, and nutmeg. On low speed, add the confectioners' sugar in three addition, beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next batch. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently with a rubber spatula to keep the frosting even textured. (hs note: you can control the thickness of your frosting by adding more powdered sugar if needed)

if you are preparing the frosting in advance, press a sheet of food-safe plastic wrap over the surface of the frosting and set aside. use the frosting within 30 minutes of mixing. All baked goods topped with cream cheese frosting should be kept refrigerated after the frosting has set.

Makes about 4 1/2 cups.

Reprinted with permission from Baking by Flavor (Wiley, 2002)

Print Recipe

For new recipes & inspirations

Your Comments


dexygus
December 13, 2004

beautiful, heidi. that cupcake on the cover of lisa yockelson's book is the reason i bought it. completely irresistable, and i hated coconut at the time.

 

jeanne
December 13, 2004

oh my freakin' gawd. these are the most adorable cupcakes I have ever seen!

 

Estelle
December 13, 2004

How cute! I love the snowman on the cupcake! The pictures are lovely, as usual, and I am glad that you seem to post more frequently these last weeks. This is my comment on your blog but I have been reading it for long while already. I have bought your cookbook soon after it was released and like it a lot. I have been inspired by many of the recipes, especially the gelato ones. I hope to try a vanilla gelato very soon if I get the ice-cream maker for the holidays. I just cannot think of a better way to use my vanilla beans! Looking forward to the next post ;-)

 

debbie
December 13, 2004

That has to be the most beautiful photo of a cupcake I have EVER seen. Personally, I love the Barefoot Contessa recipe, but this one looks like it might be a good rival. Thanks!

 

AJ
December 14, 2004

:D So adorable!! :D

 

Lisa Yockelson
December 14, 2004

Heidi, I cannot think of a better way to be appreciated than having my coconut cupcakes so lovingly and beautifully made for posting on your website page--for which, many thanks. I hope that all of your readers enjoy Baking by Flavor as much as I did writing it. Best of the holidays to all, Lisa

 

maude
December 14, 2004

stunning cupcakes! Also have been loving your cookbook. Finally a book of vegetarian recipes that don't take FOREVER to make! Will make good Christmas gifts...

 

Heidi
December 14, 2004

Thanks everyone for the nice comments. The little snowmen have been sitting here at my desk for months waiting for the perfect time to make their debut :)

 

emily
December 14, 2004

hello, i also have baking by flavor, and love it!! i still need to try out this recipe though.. maybe it'll help cure my coconut dislike as it did for dexygus!! anyway, just wanted to say i love your blog! always really beautiful picturse and recipes. look forward to getting your book, too. :)

 

megwoo
December 17, 2004

Those are so, so beautiful!

 

nikko
December 30, 2004

What a gorgeous cupcake. I'm going to have to try that one!

 

Rhona
December 14, 2007

I love the Barefoot Contessa ones too but, I agree these look delicious and I will definitely try them... but what is cultured sour cream? Is it like the Greek-style yogurt? Barefoot Contessa's recipe calls for buttermilk which gives the cupcake a great flavor -- I'm wondering if the sour cream will do the same.

 

Maya
December 14, 2007

These look like they'd be just as delicious without the coconut...what do you think? I'm allergic to coconut but am dying to try a good cupcake recipe like this, is it really an integral part of the recipe or can it be left out?

 

Rachael
December 14, 2007

I think all sour cream should technically be "cultured", except that's not how they do things in mass-production-obsessed-USA. Most commercial sour creams are cultured cream plus additional milk product. So perhaps a local/fresh sour cream would qualify as "cultured"? (hehe, no pun intended).

As a side note, I am highly lactose intolerant, and on further investigation have discovered that cultured products are often acceptable. I think the bacteria in the culture process can help break down lactose sugars. (That's why, for instance, some people can tolerate yogurt or msc things while it causes terrible effects in others... it all depends on how the product was cultured). Unfortunately, in the US milk products are often added back in post-production, or the culture process is short/skipped entirely. I have been having wonderful success with particular cultured milk products - they still bother me a bit, but not nearly so much as before, and Lactase enzyme is more effective too. I think live cultures might provide an additional benefit, since they continue degrading lactose after packaging.

Anyway. Sorry that was long.

These cupcakes look FABULOUS!! I love coconut...

 

Andrea
December 16, 2007

These were delicious!! The nutmeg really goes well with the coconut. They are so festive, too!

 

Candice
December 18, 2007

This recipe is truly outstanding. I was browsing through my emails the morning this post went out wondering what I was going to do that day and as soon as I read the recipe, I knew I'd be making these all day. I made a double batch (which worked splendidly) and they were all gone by the end of the day. I know have neighbors calling and knocking on my door everyday asking when I'll be making more. My weekend will be spent cupcaking!!