Samoa Cupcakes

It’s that time of year again…Girl Scout cookie season. Everyone knows that the best kinds are Samoas and Thin Mints (duh). Since I have a love affair with all things coconut and chocolate, I’m 100% obsessed with Samoa cookies. I could probably eat a couple boxes in one sitting, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Not even a little. Hence, my Samoa cupcakes.

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These are so perfect in every way. If you are a fan of Samoa cookies (which you better be), then you will not be able to resist them.

The Cupcakes:
Chocolate cake
Coconut cream cheese filling
Caramel buttercream
Toasted coconut
Drizzled chocolate
Half a Samoa cookie

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The recipe:

Chocolate cake (yields about 20 cupcakes):
2 1/4 C cake flour (or 2 C all purpose flour, if you don’t have cake flour)
1/3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 C unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 C cocoa powder
1 1/3 C cold water

Coconut cream cheese filling:
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 C coconut
1 tsp coconut extract
2 C confectioner’s sugar

Caramel buttercream:
1 1/2 C sugar
1/3 C water
150 g egg whites (if you’re using eggs, use the whites from 4 eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb unsalted butter (room temperature)
~2 C caramel blocks/candies

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For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and sift thoroughly into another bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla in stand mixer or with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add 3 eggs to creamed butter mixture. Beat thoroughly.
5. In another bowl, combine cocoa powder and water. Whisk until well-mixed.
6. Alternatively add flour mixture and cocoa mixture to creamed butter mixture. Mix well between each addition. Start and end with flour mixture.
7. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
8. Fill cupcake tins with batter (about 2/3 of the way full).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until middle of cupcake is firm to touch.

For the coconut cream cheese filling:
1. Cream butter and cream cheese with mixer.
2. Add coconut extract and mix.
3. Add all of confectioner’s sugar in 1 cup increments, mixing between each addition.
4. Mix in coconut by hand.
5. Fill a pastry bag (or Ziploc bag) with the filling and pipe out a generous amount into the center of the cupcake.

For the caramel buttercream:
1. In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt caramel. You’re going to want to let it melt for about 20 minutes, or else it will be too sticky to add to the buttercream. Mix in a little milk and melted butter to smooth it out.
2. While sugar mixture is heating, whip egg whites and vanilla with mixer until frothy.
3. Combine sugar and water in saucepan, heat on low until boiling.
4. Pour boiling sugar mixture into egg whites and vanilla while mixing. (Enlist a friend if you have a hand mixer! 🙂 )
5. Beat on high speed till cool and stiff. This is going to take several minutes.
6. Once the bowl feels cool, switch the mixer to low speed and add in butter in small chunks.
7. Beat for another few minutes on low until buttercream comes together. It will look like cottage cheese for awhile…this is completely normal and happens just before the buttercream pulls together so don’t panic.
8. While mixer is running, slowly drizzle in melted caramel. Mix thoroughly until all of the caramel is incorporated.

For the topping:
I baked a sheetpan full of coconut at 350ºF for 10 minutes. Move around the coconut with a spatula at 5 minutes or else it will burn.
After sprinkling the toasted coconut onto the iced cupcakes, I melted a handful of semisweet chocolate chips in the microwave and added in a tiny bit of melted butter to smooth it out. Using a fork, I drizzled the chocolate onto the top of the cupcakes by using a zig-zag hand motion.

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I was a Girl Scout myself back in the day. Here’s to hoping these cupcakes make today’s Girl Scouts proud! Enjoy! 🙂