2 cups sugar (I prefer bakers’s sugar, aka caster sugar)
3 cups sifted unbleached white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup milk
1 – 18 ounce bag (or 72) Cadbury mini eggs (substitute jellybeans,etc…)
3 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract
1 – 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 – 1/2 cups sweetened coconut, fancy shred (preferred) or angel flake
green and blue food coloring
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the butter into small pieces. Place in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until very light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat again until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy. Next, add the egg yolks, beating just until combined. Add the vanilla extract. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the bowl. Mix well.
In two parts, add the flour and milk to the butter mixture. First stir in about half of the sifted flour. Pour in about half the milk and gently mix that into the batter. Stir in the remaining flour and finally, pour in the rest of the milk, gently stirring to incorporate.
In a metal bowl, beat the egg whites into soft peaks with a whisk or mixer. Add a spoonful of egg white to the batter, stirring gently to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites, preferably with a large rubber spatula, just until mixed in.
Divide the batter between 24 muffin cups, each about 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cakes are very lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Frost generously with buttercream frosting and decorate, as desired.
In a large bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. Beat at medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Place coconut in sealable gallon-size plastic bag. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix 3 –4 drops green and 1 – 2 drops blue food coloring with 1 tablespoon water. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the food coloring mixture over the coconut, seal the bag and shake to incorporate. Add more diluted food coloring, as desired.
Spread the coconut evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet. Toast on low-broil, stirring every minute or two, until some pieces are lightly browned, 5 – 10 minutes. Monitor closely to prevent burning. Cool on foil until needed.
Happy spring, happy baking!
When the cupcakes have cooled, frost immdiately using an offset metal spatula or spreader (without a serrated edge). Place a large dollop in the center of each cupcake, working outward in a circular motion. Position three chocolate eggs in the center. Sprinkle the surrounding frosting with toasted coconut. As a rule, cupcakes are best the same day, but these keep well overnight, once frosted.
Cake recipe adapted from Alice Waters’ 1-2-3-4 cake recipe, found in ‘Birthday Cakes’ by Katherine Kleinman.