Italian cream cake is what I ask my mom to make me for my birthday or really any special occasion. It's my absolute favorite. My mom always uses this Cooking Light Italian creme cake recipe but whenever I try to make it myself, it never turns out quite as good as hers. So I decided if I was going to make Italian cream cake myself, I wanted to try a different recipe to see how it compared. I found this Italian cream cupcakes recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen that uses cream of coconut in the cupcakes and the frosting. For the first 20 years of my life I hated coconut and now it seems like I'm trying to make up for lost time because I can't seem to get enough now, the more coconut the better. I'd never used cream of coconut before and was curious so I decided to go for it. These cupcakes were a completely different flavor than my mom's Italian cream cake because of all the added coconut but they still turned out amazing. But that might not be saying much because I would eat almost anything sprinkled with toasted coconut and pecans!
Italian Cream Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
for the cupcakes:
1 box French Vanilla cake mix
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 c. cream of coconut (I found it in the Hispanic section of my grocery store)
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. pecans, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
for the frosting:
1 stick of butter, slightly softened
8 oz block cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp cream of coconut
3 c. powdered sugar
for the topping:
1 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c. pecans
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line or grease 24 muffin cups.
In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, butter, eggs, cream of coconut and water. Beat on low speed for about a minute and then increase speed to medium high and beat for another minute. Fold in coconut and pecans. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the toothpick test comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool before frosting.
In a clean medium bowl, beat butter, sugar, cream cheese and cream cheese until combined. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat on low until combined. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for a minute and a half until frosting is light and fluffy.
For the toasted coconut and pecan topping -- place the coconut and the pecans in a pan and turn the stove on medium heat. Stir constantly for 10 minutes or until coconut is golden brown. Once topping is toasted, set aside and let cool. Once cool, sprinkle on cupcakes.
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