While there is something to be said for light, citrusy spring-like desserts at Easter, it’s hard to deny that chocolate is a pretty good fit for the holiday. Maybe you can blame all that Easter candy in stores, from chocolate bunnies to peanut butter-filled eggs, but I don’t have any problem with another excuse to eat some chocolate. So, in my book, these Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes are a pretty good springtime option – and the chocolate bunny decorations I topped them with don’t hurt either.
These cupcakes are moist and chocolaty, with a great cocoa flavor to them. The recipe makes a big batch of two dozen cupcakes, so it is perfect for a party, although you can cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch. I stirred some shredded coconut into the batter to give these a subtle coconut flavor, without competing with the chocolate. If you want to boost the coconut flavor further, I would recommended adding about a 1/2 tsp of coconut extract. I would also recommend chopping the shredded coconut before you stir it into the cupcakes. It has no effect on the baking time or on the finished result, but it does look a little better when you bite into the cupcake and see only small bits of coconut blended it.
Most of the coconut flavor in these comes from the layer of shredded coconut on top of the cupcakes. For any occasion, you can leave the coconut white. If you are going to make these especially for Easter or another spring holiday, you may want to create coconut grass by dying the coconut green (as I did with some of these cupcakes). The coconut is held on by a thin layer of sour cream glaze, which is a great contrast to the richness of the chocolate. It’s not a very thick glaze (somewhere between a glaze and a frosting, really), but it sets up firmly enough to hold the coconut in place.
Top them off with little chocolate bunnies, chocolate candies that look like speckled eggs, or even some Peeps before serving.
Chocolate Coconut Easter Cupcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract (optional)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup coffee, room temperature
2/3 cup shredded coconut, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. Whisk in sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In another large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, coconut extract (if using) sour cream and coffee. Add to dry ingredients and stir until well combined and no streaks of flour remain visible. Stir in shredded coconut.
Divide evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes on a wire rack completely before frosting
Sour Cream Coconut Glaze
3 tbsp sour cream
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
approx 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
Whisk sour cream and sugar until well-combined and smooth. Spread in a thin layer on cooled cupcakes. Roll cupcakes in shredded coconut, pressing lightly to ensure that coconut sticks. Set on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes to allow glaze to set up.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes 24 cupcakes.