When I'm thinking up some crazy baking combination, I know I should Google the idea to make sure it hasn't been done before. I wasn't surprised to see that there are tons of Mounds and Almond Joy-inspired cupcake confections out there, but I am happy to report that I don't think anyone has made them quite this same way.
I used a basic vanilla cupcake recipe as the base (Magnolia's, since I hadn't tried it before, and figured now was as good a time as ever) and added coconut extract. Oh lord, the batter itself was amazing enough on its own -- like buttery, coconutty shortbread. Magnolia Bakery, I hope you've made coconut cupcakes before with that recipe, because otherwise you're missing out!
Mounds minis were then plopped into the batter. They come in such a handy little circular shape! Their cuteness was soon buried under more batter, though.
After the cupcakes had cooled, I iced them with generous gobs of coconut cream cheese frosting. Then thick, rich chocolate ganache was poured allll over them.
These are some DECADENT cupcakes, friends. But the texture is really very good. I like that the light vanilla-coconut cake lets the subtler candy bar flavors come to the forefront. I liked trying to imitate Mounds bars even with the icing, by encasing the thick creamy coconut frosting with its own chocolaty coating. Mmmm.
Mounds Bar Cupcakes
For the cupcakes: (recipe adapted from here.)
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup milk (I used buttermilk and it turned out great)
24 mini Mounds bars
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line pans with cupcake liners. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar well. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then blend in the extracts. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, beginning and finishing with the dry ingredients. Don't overmix! Fill cupcake liners about 1/3 full, then place mini Mounds bars in the center of the batter. Top up each cup so it's now 2/3 full with batter, then bake the pans for around 20 minutes (but check often and try not to overbake!).
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
7 oz. unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 cups shredded coconut
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add extracts and mix again. Gradually blend in the powdered sugar, and add more if needed to reach the desired consistency. Add shredded coconut, and blend briefly to incorporate. Make a "mound" of frosting (haha) atop each cupcake, then stick them in the freezer to solidify the icing.
For the chocolate ganache:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup cream
Melt the ingredients together over low heat, stirring frequently. When ganache is completely smooth, remove from heat. Remove cupcakes from freezer, and drizzle warm ganache over the tops. Pop them back into the freezer one last time to allow the ganache to harden.
(Note: This makes a very thick ganache. For a thinner, easier-to-drizzle ganache, try a recipe such as the one found here.)