I believe that all occasions in life should be celebrated. My lovely sister Jennifer came to visit me in Portland this week. Well, she came to visit my whole family, but I’ll pretend it was all for me. Of all the occasions worth celebrating, getting to see people you love is probably one of the best How do I celebrate? Well, I bake. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Jen requested coconut cupcakes, so I set out to find the perfect recipe.
I ended up settling on a simple recipe from Hungry Rabbit. The cupcake base turned out lovely. It was moist, but not too gooey, perfect really. I added in a dash of orange peel and omitted the coconut extract simply because I didn’t have any on hand. This may have been a mistake. They were really good, but the coconut flavor just wasn’t as strong as I would have liked.
As for the frosting, I also omitted the coconut extract. However, I added in lime zest and lime juice and it turned out deeee-lightful! I love lime and it mixes wonderfully with coconut. And yes, I’ll admit, the entire process of frosting these cupcakes was accompanied by my own personal rendition of “Put the Lime in the Coconut.”
I take after my dad in a lot of ways. A lot of the little things. I inherited his artistic sense, his horrible punny sense of humor, his love of coffee, and his dang sweet tooth. I love sweet things. I’ve tried to ween myself off of sugar, and I just can’t seem to do it. Thanks to my dad, I have always loved a strong cup of coffee and a donut to eat it with. Even after my venture into specialty coffee and a year spent at Coava developing my palate toward the finer coffees in life I still get a craving for a sludgy mug of my dad’s coffee.
See this is the trick: However shamefully bad your coffee is, if you pair it with a sweet donut, everything balances out.
In honor of my dad, but really just my love of donuts, I’ve been on the search for the best donuts in Portland. Now the Portland donut scene is growing. I know it’s shocking, but donuts have finally been discovered. I’ve created a list of places to check out and will let you know the victor of this competition.
The Donut List
1. Voodoo Donuts
2. Tonalli’s Donuts
3. Blue Star Donuts
4. Coco Donuts
5. Annie’s Donuts
6. Delicious Donuts
7. Helen Bernhard’s Bakery
After asking around, driving around, and yelping around these are the ones that made it to the list. In all honesty I have had donuts from 5 out of 7 of these already. But I’m waiting to visit the final two to give my final word. If I have forgotten one that deserves mention, please tell me. No, Krispy Kreme is not on the list, I don’t think I need to bother explaining that sugar in the shape of donut, still does not qualify it as a donut.
This last weekend, two of our baristas competed at the USBC NW Regional Competition. We closed the shop for the day and our entire staff drove up to Seattle to show our support. Except for me. And boy did I miss out. Devin Chapman (Coava represent!) took first place in the NW Region for the 2nd year in a row. So to make up for not being there in person I decided to make a special batch of USBC Regional Cupcakes.
I ended up making two different batches of cupcakes and wasn’t terribly happy with either one of them for a base. The first recipe I tried turned out dense and far too cake-like. It tasted good but the texture wasn’t right. The second recipe was a chocolate based cupcake I pulled from Hummingbird Bakery. This one just tasted a little dull. I was a little disappointed, but there’s an easy way to cover up bland cupcakes: Fill them with Nutella! Seriously it covers all wrongs and tastes delicious!
The best part of these cupcakes was the frosting. Danggggg, it is amazing. This one’s a keeper. I found a recipe for Coffee Liquer Latte Buttercream and made a few modifications. First I used a brand new coffee from Coava, the Flor de Concepcion. I ground it coarsely and then simmered the grinds in heavy whipping cream. After it cooled down, I added coffee liquer and then mixed it into my traditional buttercream recipe.
Ahhh bliss. Coffee and cupcakes, my two favorite things brought together into one delightfully sweet item. Oh and of course to keep with the rich decadence of the recipe I topped each cupcake with shavings of Ghirardelli Chocolate.