Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with different flavourings in my cupcakes. I take inspiration from all over the place, on this occasion I was in the news agents and while waiting to pay for my pile of daily papers my eye caught the blue wrapping of the coconut delight, Bounty.
Being a Gavin and Stacey fan, I instantly thought of the Christmas episode when Nessa and Dave gave individual Celebrations to friends and family. The moment when Stacey’s mum, Gwen, opens her chocolate to reveal the mini Bounty is met by a room full of groans, Nessa’s reaction is brilliant, ‘you drew the short straw there Gwen, I won’t lie to you.’ I love Bounty and would have been delighted with my mini gift.
Coconut is one of those tastes and textures that you either love or hate. It was clear from the Gavin and Stacey Christmas episode that not everyone loves the taste and texture of coconut. I happen to like it, I love the taste of coconut, it’s sweet and creamy. It’s texture is soft yet crunchy and it does have a melt in mouth appeal to me.
With the not so distant memory of Nessa’s reaction to coconut, I was not confident that my taste testers would like the idea of putting it in a cake. Would they be put off by the gritty texture against the soft sponge? But, to my delight they all seemed to like the idea and on a grey and cold Monday morning my baking efforts paid off as they all enjoyed the cakes. The chocolate topping with a sprinkling of coconut gave the cake the finishing touch that it needed.
I spent a few hours before making the cake deliberating as to how much coconut to put into the batter. I wanted the cakes to taste of coconut, yet I did not want to overwhelm the cakes with the taste. I also was concerned about the texture, too much coconut would make the cakes too grainy. Like any recipe you can tweak and adjust as you see fit, I think I have added the perfect amount to give not only a great taste, but the cakes are not grainy, yet you know you are eating coconut in a cupcake.
This recipe makes 16 cupcakes.
200g Gluten free self raising flour
200g baking margarine
200g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
1 cup of designated coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons for xantham gum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
200g melted milk chocolate
Designates coconut to sprinkle on the top of the cakes
1. Pre-heat your oven on gas mark 5 or 180 oC. In an electric mixer or using a hand-held electric cream the margarine and sugar until pale in colour, light and fluffy.
2. Then add the vanilla extract and xantham gum and whisk until mixed in. Once mixed in, add one egg at a time and whisk in, it might look like it’s curdling, but keep on mixing. Now add the coconut and mix in.
3. Once all the eggs and flavourings are added, mix in the flour. Add all the flour at once and mix on a high speed for no longer than 20 seconds – do not over mix. If all the flour is not mixed in with egg and butter, don’t use the mixer, finish it off by hand. If you over mix the flour I have found that it makes the cake too dense and you will not end up with a light and fluffy cake. The secret, I think is not to over mix the flour.
4. Put the cupcakes cases into a cupcake tray. Using an ice cream scoop or a table sized spoon, scoop the mixture into the cases. Using an ice cream allows for even sized cakes.
5. Place the cupcakes into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes on gas mark 5 or 180 oC. The cakes will be done when they are golden in colour, you prick them with a stick and there is no mixture on the stick and when you touch the center the cake springs back at you. If you need to bake it for longer, do so, but keep checking it. Once baked, leave in the tin to cool slightly and then place on to a cooling rack.
6. Once the cakes are cooled, melt the chocolate in either the microwave or over a pan of boiling water. Using a tablespoon, gently spoon the melted chocolate over the top of the cakes and smooth out. Then sprinkle on some coconut – just enough to cover. If you have any chocolate left, drizzle over the top of the coconut and leave the chocolate to harden – or if you are like me, temptation will get the better of you and waiting is pointless!
Enjoy and happy gluten-free baking 🙂