Cooking (and Drinking!) With Juliana!

Juliana Garofalo

INA’s Coconut Cupcakes

As the official Garofalo family baker, I am always in charge of holiday cookies and birthday desserts. The first baking experience of 2007 was by far my favorite of all. My grandmother turned 78 earlier this month, and I wanted to make her something truly special. She wanted coconut cake; however, I have been on a cupcake frenzy since summer, so I decided to do something different.

I knew that this would not be an easy task so I searched for the perfect recipe. Eventually, I came upon the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, Ina’s Coconut Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting. The entire baking process took most of the afternoon, but the result was rich and tasty cupcakes. I had feared that they would be too sweet, but they were not and the frosting helped to offset the strong coconut taste. I hope that you enjoy this treat as much as my grandma and I did!

Coconut Cupcakes

3 cups non self-rising cake flour1 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp baking soda1/2 tsp salt5 large eggs3/4 lb unsalted butter, room temperature2 cups sugar1.5 tsps vanilla extract1.5 tsps almond extract1 cup buttermilk1 lb sweetened flake coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and set them aside. Break eggs into a small bowl and set this bowl aside as well.

Use an electric mixer with an attached bowl and paddle attachment. Cream butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy, usually for about three to five minutes. Leave the mixer running and pour in the eggs as well as vanilla and almond extracts.

Mix together the dry ingredients and buttermilk by alternating adding one cup dry and one half cup of buttermilk to a bowl. Be sure to start and to end with the dry ingredients. Add half of the coconut and mix gently until it is barely incorporated. Do not mix too much!

Line cupcake tin with paper liners. Fill each cup with the batter using an ice-cream scoop. Make sure the batter almost reaches the top of each cup. Bake until a cake tester or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

Take the cupcakes out of the oven and allow them to cool briefly in the tin before transferring them to a wire rack. After about 45 minutes of cooling, generously ice them with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature1 cup confectioners’ sugar1 tsp vanilla extract

Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl and use a rubber spatula to soften cream cheese.

Gradually add butter and continue beating until smooth and well blended.

Sift in confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Important reminder: Be sure to sift in the confectioners’ sugar to get the lumps out. These lumps will not come out from the mixer.

Pink Panty Drop

Get your cocktail shakers and martini glasses ready for this tasty beverage! The pink color of this drink makes it perfect for a girl’s night out. (Sorry guys, unless sweet pink drinks appeal to you, I do not have anything for you this week. Grab a cold beer.) Enjoy!

1 oz. Stoli Razberi vodka2 oz. raspberry-flavored Focus Vitamin Water3 oz. Sprite