Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Tears & Coconut Cupcakes (with Cream Cheese Frosting)

Mother's day has always been a challenge for me. I usually reserve deciding how I feel about it until the very end of the day. And whether or not I cried. And whether or not those tears were happy. Nearly eleven years ago, when I received a call telling me my mom had died, any childlike hope that she was going to get healthy and be the the mother I always wanted, needed, died too.
It has been said that nothing dies without something else being born. I believe that. Even though I lost my mom that day, in that moment, something else was born in me. Something worthy, beautiful, Divine...Life.
I've since made it my mission to learn what it is to truly be alive, not just existing or surviving, but flourishing, dancing, smiling, happy, beaming, ALIVE. For both me and my mom.
In the past year alone, I've made a new peace with her being gone. I turned 30. I fell in love with the most wonderful man on the planet and said "Yes" when he asked me to marry him. I'm back to doing the things I'm truly passionate about, like baking, with a newfound excitement, and I wouldn't change a thing. 9: 52 p.m. last night. Yes, I cried, but they were happy tears.

In honor of My Mom, Your Mom, All Mom's...

Coconut Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy and adapted from Martha Stewart


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

I did not use the Seven-Minute Frosting, Opting for Cream Cheese frosting instead.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounce package cream cheese, softened(I used Philadelphia)
1/2 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar, approx. (until desired texture and sweetness is reached)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line traditionally sized cupcake pan with baking cups.

2. In medium sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, including shredded coconut.

3. In a separate large bowl, add butter and sugar, use an electric mixer to cream the two until light and fluffy. Add each egg to creamed butter and sugar individually, beating after each addition. Mixing on low, add in vanilla and coconut milk to wet ingredients.

4. Slowly add whisked dry ingredients to wet mixture, in three additions, mixing after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl.

5. Filling baking cups 2/3 full, spoon batter in baking cups of lined cupcake pan.

6. Bake cupcakes until lightly browned or tester inserted comes out clean, 20 minutes approximately. Leave cupcakes in pan and allow to cool on wire racks before frosting.

For Frosting:

In large bowl, Use an electric mixer to cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add in vanilla extract. While mixing on low, slowly add in confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time until completely incorporated and frosting is light and fluffy.

Put coconut flakes on large plate or flat surface, such as a baking sheet. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and gently roll tops of frosted cupcakes into shredded coconut, covering completely.

Serve and enjoy.


  1. I got chills seeing the pic of your mom! *smiles*
    Those cupcakes look yummy

  2. Aw, that is SUCH a beautiful post. Straight from the heart. Very nice to know they were happy tears :) I will definitely be making those coconut dreams in the future :)

  3. this was such a touching story. Good on you for making peace with your Mom's death. (the cupcakes are mouth watering!!)

  4. I completely understand. I lost my mom in 2002. She is the one who taught me how to cook & bake. What a touching story, you shared with us. I always imagine my mother, watching over me in the kitchen. If only she could see my food blog! Great recipe, too. I love anything with coconut in it!

  5. Hi Ree, thank you for stopping by my blog earlier and nice to meet you. You have such a beautiful blog. Btw, these coconut cupcakes look fabulous! Yummm... Have a nice day & hope to hear from you more often!
    Regards, Kristy

  6. Those cupcakes look delicious!
    I am so proud of your decision to LIVE! Happy tears are the best kind!

  7. Hi Jackie, The picture of my mother holding me while she cuts the cake on my first birthday always makes me smile. I only got to spend a few of my birthdays with her, so it means a lot.

    Hi Corinne, These cupcakes were so good. Even better the next day! Yum. I really think you should make them. =)

    Hi Daisy, Thank you. It's taken a lot of work, and time, but the process of healing is always worth the effort. (They were soooo good)

    Hello, "A Feast for the Eyes", Thank you so much for visiting my blog. The loss of your Mom is especially hard. As my mother struggled with addiction and AIDS for a long time, part of me has to believe her passing was only so she could find peace. I do believe she watches over everything I do, as I do your Mom. I'm sure she's proud to watch you carry on the teachings and tradition of her cooking to your family, and the rest of the world through your blog.

    Hi Kristy, Thank you for stopping by my blog. The cupcakes were awesome. I;'ll definitely keep in touch. Please do the same.

    Hello Ali, I agree with you totally, happy tears are the best kind. Living truly was the best decision I ever made.
    Had I known you when you visited Boston, I would have got you free passes to all the museumes and of course, made you cupcakes.

  8. Great tribute to your mom and I'm glad you married a wonderful man. You are a very talented creative writer and I will be following for more interesting posts!!! And, BTW, coconut cake is my absolute favorite so I will definitely try these cupcakes the next time!

    I'm sure your mom would be very proud of you!

  9. What a great tribute to your mom! The cupcakes look so good with coconut!

  10. Those look yummy. We usually spend our mother's day running all over to visit the in-laws. This was the first time in a while, I got some relaxation time in. I think we all have to figure out what makes us happy as moms.

  11. This is a little late but I got chills reading this. What a beautiful post. Eleven years later, I'm still sorry for your loss.

  12. Beautiful story! Awesome cupcakes! Thanks!

  13. What a beautiful post. I'm sure your mother would be very proud. These cupcakes sound so yummy too. I have been wanting to try coconut cake since I've had some leftover coconut from a different dessert. This looks like a great recipe. Thank you!

  14. Thank you so much Ladies.

    Diana, I think we all should be so fortunate to figure out what makes us happy in life, and then spend the rest of our lives doing it. =)

    FandFinB, I really appreciate your words and thoughtfulness. Truly. Eleven years later, I think it's something you learn to live with, but never really do "get over."

    You're welcome Debbi. Thanks for coming by.

    MsMeanie, You're so kind. I believe she would be proud. I hope so. Thank you for saying so. =)

    The cupcakes were delicious. Even better the next day. I'm making a coconut cream pie some time in the coming week or two. I'm really excited for that.

    Would you happen to have a coconut-chocolate chip recipe? They go perfectly together!

  15. Hello Ms!

    Fantástic recipe!I like this coconut virutes.

    regards from spain!


  16. I've never thought to put coconut on a cupcake - those look so good!


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