I have slowly been making the transition to using only natural lighting for my photos. It gives off such a pure vibe, creating stunning spectrums of colors, but to be honest, it’s been an absolute pain. There are no windows in the kitchen so I’m actually going from the kitchen to the living room to take some of these photos. Just imagine constantly walking back and forth with a piping hot cast iron skillet in your hand. It’s not fun at all. Oh and not to mention the race against the clock when the sun starts to go down and you have no natural lighting to work with! But after many efforts, I have learned that making the gazillion treks from the kitchen to the living room is well worth it because in the end, nothing beats photos taken in natural light.
That being said, you can tell that none of these photos are taken in natural lighting. Why you ask? Because I made these cupcakes over two months ago and I hadn’t even begun to use natural lighting at that point. I know, I’m a really bad food blogger but sometimes you get lazy with some of your posts. Sometimes you make more fun things in the kitchen that you want to post about right away. And then the pictures get buried away and two months later, you find them sitting in your iPhoto and you realize that you’re kind of screwed. I was even thinking about tossing these photos but when I went through them again, I just couldn’t. These were just too good to give up, even if they’re not beautifully vibrant in color.
The title says it all - it’s everyone’s favorite Girl Scout’s cookie in a cupcake form so you know that it has to be the most remarkable thing ever. I mean it’s an incredibly moist chocolate cake base filled with coconut flakes that’s frosted with the most AH-MAZING caramel frosting, which isn’t even that surprsingly sweet. Top that off with a drizzle of melted chocolate and toasted coconut flakes. Now I call that an express trip to heaven, don’t you agree?
Samoas Cupcakes (adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen):
Yields 24 cupcakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweeted cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes, toasted*
*Note: To toast the coconut, spread the coconut onto a rimmed sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree F oven, stirring frequently, until the coconut is an even brown color, about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. (If you don’t want to use paper liners, you could coat a muffin pan with cooking spray instead.)
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
Beat in vanilla until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.
Stir in the coconut flakes.
Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray.
Place into oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Tilt each cupcake in the muffin pan, allowing it to sit at an angle for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in the brown sugar and salt.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the lukewarm caramel and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add more milk or sugar as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Use a small offset spatula to spread the cupcakes with frosting. (I piped the frosting using a french tip.)
Drizzle the melted chocolate on each cupcake and garnish with toasted coconut. (A squeeze bottle or Ziploc bag is perfect for this.)
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