Vanilla Bean Nutella Filled Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting Topped with Toasted Coconuts and Almonds! Phew! What a mouthful. I’ve gotta start making less complicated cupcakes… just kidding.
I don’t think I use coconut enough in baking and I really should! Toasted coconut is one of the simplest cupcake toppings (way easier than candied bacon) but it looks beautiful and tastes delicious! But more importantly, coconut tricks you into thinking you’re kind of sort of eating something healthy. Because it’s technically fruit… No? Just me?
For the crazed chocolate lovers out there, you can also make this cupcake with a chocolate cake… but one of the greatest chocophiles I know told me that these vanilla bean ones are “gems of confectionarianism” so you can’t lose either way!
The recipe calls for cake flour. If you’re anything like me, you probably won’t want to run out to the store just to buy cake flour when you have good old all-purpose flour at home. In that case, substitute your flours. All-purpose flour is denser than cake flour. For every cup of cake flour you need, measure out the same amount of all-purpose flour BUT remove 2 tablespoons of flour before adding it to your mixing bowl. By removing the 2 tablespoons, you’ve decreased the density of the cake flour. Or if you hate doing math/measuring/being lazy, you could just go to the store and spend extra money on the cake flour…
Recipes for the individual components are below. Be sure to let the cupcakes completely cool before stuffing/frosting. To assemble, start by either piping Nutella into each cupcake–I use a #230 piping tip. Be sure to warm up the Nutella a little bit before piping! Alternatively, you can cut out the center of each cupcake and spoon the Nutella into each center. Bonus: extra vanilla cake crumbs! Top with frosting: I literally took a spoon and just plopped the icing on top of each cupcake. It was way easier than piping the icing on! Don’t worry if it looks ugly–the toasted coconut and almonds cover everything up!
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes (recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups)
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup milk
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350° and line cupcake pan with liners.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt).
3. With mixer on low, slowly add butter a few cubes at a time continuing until all butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles coarse sand.
4. Add eggs one at a time on low speed.
5. Measure out milk and add the vanilla beans and extract. Add this mixture until fully combined.
6. Fill liners (about 2/3 full) and bake for 15-20 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp gelatin
1 tbsp water
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
~1/2 to 1 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1. Skip this step if you plan on using your frosting the same day. Gelatin stabilizes the whipped cream so you won’t have to deal with a wilted, watery frosting. Add gelatin and water to a small container. After it sets, melt the mixture using the microwave in 5 second intervals until it is a liquid. Set aside to cool.
2. Using a mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. While mixing, slowly add gelatin mixture.
3. Add powdered sugar until desired sweetness is reached. I usually add around 1/4 cup. Keep in mind that you’ll end up folding this into a sweetened cream-cheese frosting mixture.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cream cheese and butter until uniform. Again, add powdered sugar until desired sweetness is reached.
5. Using a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream and coconut into the cream cheese mixture.
Toasted Coconut and Almond Topping
1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Spread 1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut and 1/3 cup sliced almonds out on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes until lightly toasted. Be careful, it can go from toasted to burnt very quickly!