cupcakes and family

I grew up in a very French family. 

Both sides of my grandparents (known as Memere and Pepere) are from Canada (and their grandparents’ grandparents are from Canada too.)  As they made their way to the US, one of their main goals was to find jobs, with an effort to support their family as best as they could. 

Family, you should know, is really important.  It was important to my grandparents, it’s important to my own parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  And, it’s important to me.

My family values family. 

We laugh a lot.  We’re not afraid to be loud and crazy and wild.  We’ll hug you as you’re coming in, as you’re leaving, and we’ll hug you again just in case we forgot the first time around. 

We’ve cried together over sad moments.  I’ve been held more than once by my sister.  A cousin.  Just when I need it.  Just because they know.  Supportive.

Most of all, my family is filled with love.  There’s no mistaking that feeling when you walk through the door. 

We also like to eat. 

My mom has this thing where she “wants to make sure that everyone has enough food on their plate.”  And so, when you walk into my sister’s housewarming party, there is food for vegetarians, carnivores, and everyone in between.  All members of the family contribute by bringing a dessert, an appetizer, something to share. 

Obviously, the housewarming party for my sis and brother-in-law was a smashing, family-filled success.

I have a fascination with making and baking desserts.  It’s one of my greatest pleasures.  

And so, I was more than happy to contribute to the party on the foodie front. 

You all know how obsessed I am with cupcakes.  I like to think that a whole lot of thought and consideration went into each individual one.  Personalized dessert! 😀

I’ve also recently become obsessed with the Barefoot Contessa.  I don’t actually own any of her cookbooks, but after meandering my way through the local book stores, I certainly wish I did.  I decided to settle for second best and went to to find the recipe for her coconut cupcakes. 

Yes.  Coconut cupcakes. If you’re like me and wish you could put coconut on everything that enters your mouth, you will love these cupcakes.

I’d like to say that you need to a be a baker, a chef, or some sort of artist to make these cupcakes.  I’d like to say that unless you have culinary expertise, you should not make this recipe. 

But it’s simply not true.  This was actually the first time I’ve ever made a homemade cake from scratch, and it could not have been easier.  Foolproof is what it is.  Trust me! 


Coconut Cupcakes—courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa

When I make dessert, I want it to be the real deal.  These cupcakes were.  Filled with coconut, smeared with a cream cheese frosting, and a fluffy, flavorful cupcake that was still worthy of standing alone.  A deliciously perfect treat for that special occasion, birthday, or celebration.  You’ll love it!

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut, separated


  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
  4. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, with the mixer on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
  6. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.
  7. ENJOY!

Question: What is your favorite kind of dessert and how do you fit it into your healthy lifestyle?  I love indulging in a favorite dessert when the occasion arises.  I keep the richer desserts out of the house (out of house, out of mind! 😉 ) and I always have whatever I like when I’m at someone’s house or going out with friends.  Balance, balance, balance.  It’s a great place to be. 😀

(p.s. my favorite dessert, by the way, is cupcakes :mrgreen: And dark chocolate, which I always have on hand. )


22 thoughts on “cupcakes and family

  1. Those cupcakes look delicious and beautiful! Barefoot Contessa is amazing, you should really get her first cookbook! Sometimes the ingredients are pricey, but Ina Garten is SO classy!

    I enjoy desserts the way you do! My roommates and I bake once or twice a week, so I have decadent desserts then, but I usually don’t by anything (except for TJ’s chocolate animal crackers 🙂 ). Moderation is key!! 😀

  2. Your family sounds incredible! I am very close to my parents, but not so much with my extended family, but wish I were. It’s wonderful to see such a close group!!

    I love sweets and desserts in general, especially when it involves chocolate, so I just have to be careful and not indulge too often. Of course, I’ll indulge on a special occasion but I have to eat the healthy things first!

  3. I love that first picture. Everything is still except for what is being stirred. So cool. 🙂 Your cupcakes look amazing!! So professional, and I adore the paper wrapper!

  4. I like your philosophy on desserts. A little splurge here and there, but overall an attitude of moderation and balance. I actually don’t eat rich desserts that often. Even when they’re made at my house, I usually have no desire to eat them. I know, something must be wrong with me!

    However, there are occasions when any attempt to resist a sweet treat would be in vain. Like my mom’s carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (which has become my ritual birthday dessert!). Oh so glorious.

  5. I like almost all kinds of dessert. I fit it into my healthy diet by planning for about 2 special treats per week. I try to think of EXACTLY what I’m in the mood for, and then make/buy that and nothing else. This weekend I made a yummy apple crumble — just the kind of homey dessert I love this time of year. I also recently made pumpkin pie — without the pie crust, and only a half recipe made in custard cups for individual servings (quite similar to this: ). Another lovely fall dessert. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something bought, such as a paczki (doughnut) from the Polish bakery. I try to avoid fake, processed desserts.

    Made your lentil taco mixture yesterday! Haven’t tried it yet — I’m having it for lunch.

    (By the way, I’m not sure if it’s just me, but for the past week or so, your blog is appearing kind of funny in Firefox. All the text is sort of blurred, not sharp. It’s happening for me on both my home computer and my office computer. Looks fine in Internet Explorer though.)

  6. I LOVE Ina!!! I watched her chefography show on Saturday and it was so interesting how she got her start. I’ve been watching her for years but never really knew her history.

    Fabulous post on family. It is a precious wonder and it can be taken away at any moment. Take tons of pictures and make lots of memories!

  7. I love coconut, and ive never had a coconut cupcake, i can only imagine they are delicious 🙂 and the cases u used were really nice too. My favourite dessert? Im not a big ‘cake’ fan, although carrot cake is really good. My favourite dessert would be something like banana flambee or an icecream sundae 🙂

  8. I’m like you and wish I could put coconut on everything that enters my mouth! 🙂

    Favorite dessert is probably ice cream with strawberries and dark chocolate chunks. ❤

  9. I love coconut! Those look amazing – and three sticks of butter – wow.

    I made banana cupcakes a few years ago that I topped with coconut, and they were delicious too.

  10. Pingback: an ode to the year of 2010 « Running To Slow Things Down

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