Martha Stewart's Coconut Chick Cupcakes (#6)

This is my sixth cupcake in the Martha Stewart self-challenge to make all 175 cupcakes in Martha Stewart's cupcake book: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat (Paperback). So, far this one has been the most fun!

Even Layla liked it...she thought she had a new friend to hang out with!

I actually made three of the chicks...they are pretty labor intensive. Luckily, I was able to find the red candy-coated licorice pastels at the Candy Kitchen while I was in Ocean City, MD over the weekend. I thought I was going to have to order them online! The little beak is an almond!

After that I just used the remaining frosting and toasted coconut to make regular cupcakes.

I brought the chicks into work for two of my colleagues who have little girls names Kate and Aerial...they will love them!


It's the first time I've made toasted coconut! It was pretty easy and I was so impressed with myself!

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

Makes 20 Vanilla Cupcakes
Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 vanilla beans, halved length-wise, seeds scraped and reserved
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
3 large eggs
1 cup of buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated; scrape down sides of bowl, and beat in vanilla.

Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed.

Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

Makes 5 cups
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Directions

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

(Optional) To tint buttercream (or royal icing), reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (or use the toothpick or skewer to add food color a dab at a time) to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use a paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too soon, as the hue will intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.

Decorating

4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1 piece (10 inches) black licorice lace, cut into 40 (1/3-inch) pieces
20 whole almonds
140 red candy-coated licorice pastels (about 1/3 cup), or pieces of snipped red licorice laces


Step 1:
Bake cupcakes and cool completely. When turned upside-down, each cupcake becomes the body of a chick. Spread buttercream frosting on a cupcake to anchor it to the serving plate while you are working. Use a small offset spatula to coat the sides thickly with frosting, and then mound more on top to create a dome shape.

Step 2:
Press toasted shredded coconut (see how to toast coconut below) into the frosting -- it stands in for fuzzy feathers. Hold the plate at an angle while applying the coconut so the excess falls back into the bowl.

Step 3:
Place eyes (made from snipped black licorice laces) on chicks using tweezers. Use a whole almond for the beak and red licorice for the feet and comb; both can be pushed into the frosting by hand.

Toasted Coconut:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut on a small baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool.


Have a great week!
CQ

17 comments:

  1. Dear Cupcake Queen: I think this was definitely one of the best recipes so far! Thanks for the 'sample!' Kate will love her Chickie I am sure. :)

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  2. How adorable are these. Yummy

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  3. These are absolutely PERFECT!
    They look exactly like Marthas! You are so talented! :)

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  4. oh, this little cupcake is giving me belly laughs with cuteness!

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  5. CCC - Cute Chick Cupcakes..:)

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  6. It's so cute...the recipe it's great,

    Paula

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  7. omg..these are so cuteeee!!!

    i love your idea of baking 175 cupcakes! Goodness...would take huge amount of dedication...

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  8. Just found your blog! So cute! Got the book a couple of months ago, I have to admit I haven't made any of Martha's cupcakes yet! What a fun idea!

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  9. Cupcake Queen...You're amazing! and that Layla, what a precious little princess she is. I love your pics of her and cupcakes. She conveys just how I feel when I'm dieting and in the presence of these heavenly creations.

    I love the idea behind your blog and that you've taken on such a bold and yummy task. I'd be afraid to have that many cupcakes in my home.

    Your pix, especially with the lovely Layla are the best too.

    I'll be sure to check back in.

    I'm doing a 365 days of yoga blog. Check it out if you'd like.

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  10. I saw you were tagged by @cupcakeblog on Twitter - love the chickens! Layla looks like she really wants a cupcake!

    Lola
    I'm baking my way through Martha also - follow me at http://blog.lolabakes.com/

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  11. These are exquisite, in an absurdly cute kind of way! Fantastic.

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  12. those look great! i have been looking over that recipe and wanting to try it. i love this book and am excited to see how all the recipes come out for you!

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  13. I'm so impressed you're making all of them! I'm hoping to get through the whole book eventually too... but maybe over the next 10 years.

    I've made the streusel ones (very easy) and the ladybug ones... labor-intensive!

    The chicks look great! I may try to make them for Easter.

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  14. Ahhh it look so adorable, I don't know if I should eat this or play with it.


    Signature: Looking for premium natural vanilla beans at a bargain? Drop by at myvanillashop for best value.

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  15. Honestly.....how can you eat something that cute!!

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  16. Amazing cupcakes!! Was it expensive to make?

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  17. I kind tweeked mine a little and surprisingly had hard time finding the red licorice so I just skipped the head piece. Good job !!!

    http://polwig.com/cooking/coconut-chick-cupcakes/

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