Toasted Coconut and Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

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Source: Desert Candy



Toasted Coconut and Dulce de Leche Cupcakes
I like to make my coconut cake with a basic white cake - the neutral base allows to coconut flavor to come through.

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 oz) butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites (1/2 cup egg whites)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 drops coconut extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 cup dulce de leche or cajeta (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons cream cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line your cupcake pans. Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast until golden (watch carefully that it does not burn). Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla and coconut extracts. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture then add half the milk mixture. Continue to alternate beginning and ending with flour mixture, until mixture is well combined. Set aside 1/4 of the coconut for topping. Working over the bowl, rub the remaining coconut between your palms so it is finely crumbled, stir the crumbled toasted coconut into the batter.
3. Fill cupcake pans 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
4. Stir together dulce de leche and cream cheese until smooth. Spread on cupcakes, top with remaining toasted coconut.


Dulce de Leche (adapted from David Lebovitz):

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt. Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate. Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary, make sure the water is as high as the dulce de leche, otherwise the surface may burn). Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth.