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Superheroes come in many shapes and sizes.  From a cape crusader to a mighty mouse, they share having extraordinary abilities and doing extraordinary deeds.  (Plus, they’re privy to some very cool gadgets).  I remember, as a little girl, I used to wonder when my Dad would make a guest appearance on one of these shows.  You see, I was convinced he was a superhero who walked the earth disguised as my father.  He was bigger than life to me.  Whether it was fixing the car, mowing the lawn or playing Skee Ball in order to win a prize for me at the local summer carnival, I marveled at his skills and looked at him as though he and I were the only ones in the universe to share his superhero secret.

Years and years later, as an adult, my Mom told me a story I had never heard before.  It had to do with the winter our family came to America.  We had a layover before arriving in Chicago and 3 US dollars to our name.  3 US dollars to start our new life in America.  During the layover, apparently, I wanted, like the typical hungry and restless three-year-old that I was, an ice cream cone.  The problem was, the ice cream cone cost $1.  It was at this point in the story when I interrupted and said to my Mom, “No, no no….don’t tell me…”.  I didn’t even get the chance to finish my sentence before she replied, “Of course, of course your Dad got the ice cream cone for you”.

I told you my Dad was a superhero.  He has extraordinary abilities and he does extraordinary deeds.

These lawnmower coconut cupcakes are dedicated to superhero fathers everywhere.  Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!  I love you.  (Oh, you don’t have worry about mowing the lawn today, I got it covered for ya).

lawnmower-cupcake

Lawnmower Coconut Cupcakes
Tweaked from Martha Stewart and Disney Family Fun, yields 12 lawnmower coconut cupcakes

These coconut cupcakes are light, moist, scrumptious and make you savor every precious bite of your little creation.  They can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Music Pairing: In My Life, The Beatles

Ingredients
for cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising), or all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

for frosting:

  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional)

for toppings:

  • Flaked coconut
  • Green food coloring
  • Hershey’s Nuggets
  • M&M’s
  • Red or black licorice laces

Method
for cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.

In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/8 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not over-beat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture; stir in shredded coconut.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 cup batter. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto rack; then re-invert and let cool completely, top sides up.

for frosting:

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth.  Gradually add confectioners’ sugar; beat until smooth. If too thick to spread, beat in up to 1 tablespoon of milk, 1 tsp at a time.

Assembly

For each cupcake, mix a handful of flaked coconut with a few drops of green food coloring. Press a frosted cupcake into the coconut to cover.

The mower is made with a dark chocolate Hershey’s Nuggets body, brown M&M’s wheels, and a red M&M’s engine, held in place with dabs of frosting.

Shape the handle from a piece of red licorice lace, then insert the ends into the cupcake.

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