Snowy Coconut & White Chocolate Cupcakes

Festive baking is in full swing! I baked these cupcakes a couple of weeks ago and only got round to sitting down and writing about them now. It almost seems perfect writing about these snowy cupcakes now as I'm sat in the kitchen in the warmth with a cup of hot tea and I've got a view of my garden which is covered in a layer of icy frost, slowly melting from the rays of golden winter sun.

These cupcakes are based this coconutty delight but in cupcake form. Fluffy white cake cupcakes with a hint of coconut and vanilla, topped with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, a sprinkle of desiccated coconut and chopped white chocolate and most importantly, a Raffaello perched on top in all it's glory.

I'd recently picked up these adorable little Raffaello Christmas gift boxes. Never mind what's inside them- the box looks cute enough! I thought they'd only have like, 4 Raffaellos in them but to my surprise it was closer to 8 or 9!

You may have noticed that I didn't bake the cupcake batter in the lovely striped cases but in a regular paper case then placed them in the striped cases before frosting… There are two reasons for this 1. I always find the colours of the cases are not as vibrant after being baked. Perhaps my oven is too hot, but my oven thermometer says otherwise. Anyone care to enlighten me?  2. For ease of access. As pretty as these rigid type of cases are, I find it so difficult to eat cupcakes from these! Regular paper ones are easy to peel away to reveal the  soft, fluffy golden sponge underneath. But these rigid cardboard-y type ones I find to be a challenge. Just give me my cake! Does anyone have any tips on how to eat cupcakes from these??

They're also not  as snowy white as I would like it (buttercream naturally will have a yellowish tinge to it but the thought of using shortening in place of butter terrifies me slightly) but hopefully the coconut and 'snowball' like Raffaello reflects my intentions on creating a winter themed cupcake well enough.

Cupcake recipe adapted from Sweetapolita
Yields 12-15 cupcakes, depending on which size case you use


118g coconut milk, room temperature (the one that comes in a can)
60g egg whites, room temperature (approximately from 2 eggs)
1/2 large egg, room temperature (awkward amount I know- whisk one egg, weigh and divide by two)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Couple drops of coconut oil (I used LorAnn Coconut flavouring oil- omit if you don't have)
175g plain flour
150g caster sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
85g unsalted butter, softened

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

120g egg whites (from approx. 3 eggs)
200g caster sugar
272g salted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

To Decorate

Chopped white chocolate
12-15 Raffaellos
Desiccated Coconut for sprinkling

For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 12 hole muffin/cupcake tin with cases.
  2. In a medium bowl combine approx. 1/4 of the coconut milk, egg whites, whole egg, vanilla and coconut extracts. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer (you may wish to do this with an electric hand whisk) combine the dry ingredients and on low speed mix for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the butter and mix on low for 30 seconds, then add the remaining 3/4 of coconut milk and mix on medium speed until just moistened. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. 
  6. Divide the batter batter between your cases, filling no more than 2/3 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes,  or until a toothpick/ skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Remove cupcakes from tin onto a wire rack to cool down completely before frosting.

For the buttercream:

  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with a paper towel and lemon juice to remove any traces of grease. Add the egg whites and caster sugar, and place on top a saucepan of simmering water, careful to not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water- you don't want scrambled eggs!
  2. Whisk/ stir constantly with a hand whisk or spatula until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot. (You can test by rubbing a bit of the mixture in between your fingers- if there are no grains, it's ready)
  3. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, whisk the hot egg white mixture on medium-high speed until the meringue is thick, glossy and stiff peaks form. (The bowl at this point should feel neutral to touch.)
  4. Switch over to the paddle attachment and with the mixer on low speed, begin to add the butter, approx. a tablespoon at a time. Once all butter has been added, turn the mixer speed to medium-high and mix until the butter is fully incorporated into the meringue. If the buttercream looks curdled- don't be disheartened- keep mixing and the buttercream will eventually form!

To assemble:

  1. Spoon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with your favourite nozzle and pipe a generous swirl on top of the cupcake.
  2. Sprinkle with the chopped white chocolate and desiccated coconut, finishing off by placing a Raffaello on top.


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Interior designer & part time baker. Lover of architecture, design and all things cute.