the cherry macaroons begat

coconut jewel cupcakes 1

the fruit jelly marshmallow bejewelled coconut cupcakes which begat

homemade coco jam, or coconut caramel

the homemade coco jam (a coconut caramel or dulce de leche made with coconut milk) that in turn begat

sticky toffee coconut cupcake

the sticky toffee coconut cupcakes filled with coco jam, and topped with a healthy dose of double cream and a coconut toffee ornament, which ultimately begat

coconut lime macadamia cake

the coconut lime macadamia cake made from a recipe by bill granger.

*whew*. all that from one very large bag of dessicated coconut.

'snowball' sounds so sweet in the winter, but now in the beginnings of a long, hot summer, it just sounds sort of dirty and nasty, like something a spoiled young celebutante would do to someone, do with someone, or do to herself. eat it, snort it, or ride it, baby--it's all good.

fortunately, my little snowball has nothing to do with gak nor paris hilton, unless she has ally sheedy circa "the breakfast club"-esque dandruff, which looks too-alarmingly-similar to the teeny flakes of dessicated coconut that settle in a snowy pillow that refuses to diminish, and which is the object of my ingredient mini-obsession. not the sweetened, hairy, moist angel-like coconut flakes mostly found in the baking aisles of most american stupormarkets, but the unsweetened, chippy, dry, crunchy stuff that is usually found at your typical hippy granola store. or asian market. i love the stuff, there's a certain animal? vegetable? mineral? quality about it that makes me think i can use it as packing material, insulation, craft table supply, and yet still create the most delicious snack; versatility is where its at, whether real or really imagined. although i didn't stray from the dessert portion of the nutritional pyramid (where is that you ask? where do all sweeties and fatty desserts end up? on the bottom.), i was rather pleased with the array.

the macaroons were a semi-request from esa--he was looking for a recipe that would produce a moist, coconutty, cakey confection like something he had in egypt. most of the macaroon recipes i found online seemed like they would come out rather dry and biscuit-like; but, having recalled the macaroons i'd had in the philippines as being wet and chewy, i thought i would turn to one of my favourite pinoy bakers, celia kusinera. i often turn to her because, as a filipina, she understands the asian palate, but as she lives in the uk, she often uses western recipes and adapts them accordingly. as luck would have it, she had an ideal cherry macaroons recipe, which i only slightly adapted by using only half the stated amount of sugar, and omitting all cherries but the ones on top.

having mostly conquered that particular sugar mountain, i felt the urge to make ina garten's coconut cupcakes again. i've made them before, and i'll make them again, as they are the perfect texture with a lovely crumb, and the right combination of sweet, nutty, and creamy. despite all the butter and cream cheese, these cupcakes are quite light; i also love the dome of frosting and coconut that is simple to create, but charming and fanciful, like summery snowball. (frosting tutorial coming soon)

as a sort of reaction to the sweetness and light of those cupcakes, i wondered if i could create a darker, richer one. i wanted one that had a bolder flavour, but perhaps without relying on so much butter and cream. i thought of a caramel flavour, and of dulce de leche, the spanish milky caramel. in the philippines, there is a coconut milk equivalent, known as katiba or coco jam, which is simply coconut milk cooked down with the native sugar. with the current popularity of dulce de leche, i'll bet that coco jam would be popular too, as it's just as rich and sweet, but lactose- and dairy-free; unfortunately, it's saddled with a stupid name. coco jam? wtf is that? chocolate jelly? mocha choco coco yaya? ugh. even it's singaporean cousin, kaya, sounds prettier and more appetizing. perhaps it can be rebranded as dulce de coco, which makes it sound like the even more exotic sister of dulce de leche. (someone in pinoy food products marketing, call me. asap. i need some extra dosh, and the paper route ain't cutting it.)

i fiddled a bit with a bbc good food recipe for coconut cake, and came up with something rather more tropical tasting than i think the authors' had intended; this combined with the coco jam dulce de coco (might as well start now) resulted in a rather lovely sticky toffee-like pudding, rather neatly encased in a cupcake. served warm with a dollop of double cream as frosting and a bit of homemade coconut toffee, it was a decadent walk on the dark side that was surprisingly not oversweet, or overly heavy in the stummy.

anyway, i'm not sure how the bill granger cake came into the picture, except after all that sugar, caramel and toffee--and the coconut frenzy still unabated--i thought that a bit of citrus would lighten the proceedings, and of course, stave off scurvy. the cake also appealed because there aren't any dairy products as ingredients, which i thought might result in a lighter cake, both in texture and calories (of course, i managed to ignore the bajillion macadamia nuts that make up the bulk of the cake). the texture is weirdly dense yet light, and the flavours quite subtle, although that improves with age. in this world of instant gratification, and downloads on demand, it's almost charming to find a recipe for a cake that improves in texture and flavour at least one day after it's made. not particularly something most people want to hear, but there are plenty worse things to listen to in this world. and the nenes today could use with a little more patience and subtlety, you know what i mean?

and i, i have to lay off the drifts for awhile.

coco jam/katiba/dulce de coco

1 can of good quality coconut milk (i prefer the brands from thailand)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of muscovado sugar

add ingredients to a small slow cooker/crock pot set on low. stir occasionally to dissolve and to keep from burning; otherwise, keep covered with lid. cook for 6 hours, or until the volume has been reduced to less than half and a thick caramel has formed.

"sticky toffee" coconut cupcake

175g/6oz of softened butter
175/6oz muscovado sugar, or dark brown sugar
175g/6oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
60g dessicated coconut
60g/1/4 cup coconut milk (more coconut milk might be necessary, depending on the dryness of your coconut)

preheat oven to 350˚F. cream butter and sugar together until lighter in colour; beat in eggs. mix baking powder into flour in separate bowl, then fold into butter mixture. gently stir in coconut and coconut milk to form a thick batter.

measure out batter into lined cupcake tins. bake for 20 minutes, then cool thoroughly. once cooled, use a pastry bag and filling tip to fill cupcakes with coco jam (recipe above), then top with double cream or whipped cream.


'begat' so nice to see it liberated from objects like Shem (although I'm still fond of Ham)

Very cute and impressive tale of "snowballing"! My you were busy in the kitchen! Those fruit jelly cupcakes look so cute, but I bet the coco jam was divine.

i might have to try that katiba recipe you gave!

oh and i tried your recipe for green tea tiramisu and it came out great tasting. of course, i had run out of vanilla extract, so i had the brilliant idea to use stoli vanil instead. my coworkers (guinea pigs) said it tasted mildly alcoholic, but still good.

Thanks for stopping by. I was thinking "dulce de coconut leche" myself when I tasted it. This all looks charming, and I'm going to try your system for the coco jam.
I will be looking out for the recipes to come, as well.

Awesome work!!

Where did you find those adorable cupcake papers on the snowballs? And those jewel-like fruit jellies? Are those your creation as well? I really want to duplicate your beautiful creation badly!!


Looks like you did a whole lot of baking recently. I haven't baked in a while...I've been too busy (and way too lazy!) Everything looks delicious.

BTW...I hope you got the e-mail I sent. If you're passing through on your way from, let me know. I'll be off to SF tomorrow for the weekend!

Oh, WOW, this is crazy! I was just surfing around my normal baking-related blogger sites when I came across yours via All Cupcakes, All the Time. I was very surprised to see that you were from Guam, because that's where I'm from as well! :D Nice to meet another Guamie. Keep up the awesome baking!

Be still my beating heart. Any recipe that's got coconut or lemons or cinnamon sounds good to me! Wow, you were busy. I am looking forward to the recipes you'll be posting . :)

Wow - the crumb of that coconut lime macadamia cake looks amazingly light and feathery!

Mmmm, coconut...

That all looks delicious at 7:55 am! This posting begat some coconut baking in my kitchen! As always, your site delights!

OMG....WOW! All that coconutty goodness. That caramel looks lovely and the cupcakes are works of art.

Amazing! You never doing anything halfway!

Is the coconut you're speaking of like the powdery stuff you can get (cheap) in the Indian grocery? I'm surprised at your fascination with that particular kind of coconut... I remember getting coconut cracking advice from you some time back (I think it involved throwing it out a window, down the stairs, or something...)

Am I mistaken or are you starting your own bakery? Wow, that is an array of sweets and your photos makes them look all the more delicious. Fancy sending some over this way... Sydney, Aus?

anthony, shem and ham are fond of you too.

anita, the coco jam was very nice. i think next time i'll add some citrus or zest for a different flavour.

reese, alcohol is always welcome in tiramisu :) sounds decadent and delicious.

hi lindy, if you find any real recipes for katiba, let me know!

be still, i bought both the liners and the jellies in the philippines. i'm thinking one day i should create some cupcake kits with all the fabulous treats i find, then offer them online.

reid, have a great time in sf! i'll email you soon.

hi ciarra, do live on island now or are you on the mainland now? thanks for stopping by!

christine, i'll get the recipes up soon, i promise :)

ellie, mmmm, coconut, yesssss

acme, happy belated birthday again. bake yourself a coconut birthday cake!

acornbud, i know i should really use fresh coconut because it's in such abundance here, but i really do like this dessicated stuff.

cathy, i know, isn't it crazy when i have all the fresh stuff in the backyard? it's just a trip down the stairway away ;)

jenjen, no bakery, but if you can figure out how i can send this to you and ensure maximum freshness, i will!

wow, what a saga! all of our coco creations look and sound amazing. yum.

Everything is stunning, Santos. And somehow, I now have a craving for coconut. Who would have thought?

Hi Santos - I had to prevent the Missus from checking out this post! So would have gone on a cupcake frenzy......
Just how often do you make cupcakes?

nic! yes, who would've? (laughing)

kirk, i make 'em whenever the urge strikes. usually it's a binge, and then nothing for awhile, unless someone makes a special request.

is missus making a special request? ;)

You're a baking maniac! All of these look so original and delicious. When are you going to start Green Bananas Living?

it's a wonder how you play with all the rainbow colours!
many ppl like me end up with 3/4 big bag of dessicated coconut not knowing what to do with it, you just gave us a bagful of ideas!

Yaaay! You perfected Ina's infamous cupcakes...They look delish!

Scrumptious! But what do you do with all those goodies after you've created them? Take them to the office? Give them to friends and neighbors? Sometimes the thought of how to distribute the results of a baking spree -- the "leftovers" above and beyond what my family can consume before they go stale -- is enough to squelch my thoughts of even attempting to tackle an ambitious baking plan.

I live on the island. I'm currently a junior [well, technically a senior since graduation was last night] at St. John's school.

TAG, i'll start it when i acquire a nice quonset hut to chronicle its redecoration ;)

jacqueline, i know! i usually end up with half-used bags myself, but i guess i was just possessed this time around.

purplecupcake, try them, they really are delicious.

katie, i bring them to work; if no one at work wants them, i work in a pretty big office building and have a lot of friends. pass them out to strangers--you might make a new friend! (or get arrested :P)

ciarra, ha. make sure your college advisor doesn't lose your transcript.

Beautiful photos as always, Santos. What a great idea to use a crockpot for katiba! My grandmother always made us stand in front of the stove stirring it until it is just the right consistency and getting splattered with the mixture in the process. i think I'll be trying the slow cooker method also.

Dulce de coco? That sounds soooooo WICKED!!:-)

hi jmom! i live in fear of burning the katiba--luckily the slow cooker seems to prevent that (although i wouldn't want to leave it in there for too long to test it!).

zarah! hiiiiiiieeeeeee! are you back home already? i'll check your blog ;) yes, this sounds right up your alley, dulce de leche queen!

Lose my transcript? OMG, what do you know about my college advisor? XD

oh oops. did i actually type that? i'm sure it's nothing. (but really, make sure your transcript goes to all the schools you're looking at)

I'm home sick and feeling sorry for myself. It's lunch time and reading over this recipe is pure torture! The cupcake and coco jam sound divine. I love dulce de leche and the idea of using coconut milk instead is really inventive.

oh no! where are you originally from (or are you away from sydney now)? the coco jam is really worth trying sometime. quite sumptuous.

Oopps! I meant I was at home, feeling sick. I'm in Sydney and I'm from Sydney. But my Swedish import is very homesick.