Pink Coconut Cupcakes

For Easter last week, I whipped up two full batches of homemade cupcakes. Since it was Easter, the obligatory coconut was in full effect with a Barefoot Contessa recipe that I'd been dreaming about since I made these last Spring for Catherine's bridal shower. Thick and bordering on cornbread-like, these cupcakes are a serious change from the traditional chocolate or vanilla with buttercream. The frosting is made extra fabulous with the addition of almond extract (one of my favorite extracts). Let's get down to the goods, shall we?

Pink Coconut Cupcakes
*Adapted from Ina Garten
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 bag sweetened, shredded coconut plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time. (Note: I crack the eggs into a separate bowl first, just in case you get a bad one, your whole mixture won't be ruined) Scrape down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and almond extract and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking power, baking soda and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the mixer, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut - and don't overmix, or the battern will get tough.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each to almost the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (mine took about 25 minutes). Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then move them to a baking rack to cool completely. Frost 'em.
My Favorite Pink Frosting:
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 C confectioners' sugar (or more for desired sweetness)
1-2 drops of red food coloring
Sweetened coconut, for sprinkling

Cream together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts. Add confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add in a drop or two of red food coloring until desired pinkness is reached. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Oh, and I should mention that to tote these little guys around, I used my handy cupcake caddy that I purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond about a year ago. I got my money's worth and have carried my cakes in style, from Key Lime in the Coconut to the Irish Car Bomb variety.

And if you see what you like, stay tuned next week for the cupcakes of the chocolate variety, pictured here. So what do you think? Are you a fan of the coconut-on-Easter tradition?