How to make a little boy smile….

With Cupcakes and Transformers!

Well, at least that’s the method I used recently for the BF’s nephew. 🙂  The little man was celebrating the BIG NUMBER 4 so I wanted to bring him something special to add to his birthday festivities. Over the holidays, the BF recalled “D” really enjoying a traditional chocolate cupcake with white frosting, topped with coconut. With that in mind, I set out to make the little man a cupcake that would reflect those flavors while featuring his favorite thing–TRANSFORMERS!

Using Martha Stewart’s Devil’s Food Cupcake Recipe for the base, I added my twist by using a Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting to give that extra “oompf” of coconut flavor.

Fill the lined cupcake pans 3/4 way full.

The wonderful Vanilla my co-worker brought back for me from Mexico. I used it for the first time in this batter 🙂

The cupcakes hot from the oven. This took 19 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

The frosted cupcakes waiting for their coconut shower. I know that I didn’t have to pipe them since it would be covered in shredded coconut but hey–I rarely pass up the chance to practice my piping 🙂

Liberally covering the cupcakes with shredded coconut.

Now add your favorite candy decorations—in this case, the Autobots and Decepticons…..

And there you have it–a recipe for a 4 Year Old Boy’s Smile! 🙂

They were so cute, I had to include another shot of them 🙂

Incidentally, I did consider using themed cupcake liners instead of the candies but when I tried a batch, I found that they weren’t greaseproof. Because of the amount of butter in the batter, it left the liners completely oily and unattractive. In other words, No Bueno. I opted to go for my traditional foil liners and use the candies. (Note: In the photo above, I added another liner to the cupcake after it cooled to hide the grease marks.)

Overall I think the little man enjoyed them–so I deem it a successful mission.  AUTOBOTS, Roll Out! 🙂

Devil’s Food Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 24 Cupcakes


Cupcake Batter
¾ Cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
¾ Cup hot water
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ Teaspoons coarse salt
1 ½ Cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 ¼ Cups sugar
4 Large Eggs, room temperature
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Cup sour cream, room temperature
2 Cups shredded sweetened coconut (to cover cupcakes)

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
16 Ounces of Cream Cheese at room temperature
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter at room temperature
5½ -6 Cups Confectioner Sugar (varies due to preferred frosting consistency)
1 Tablespoon Coconut Extract
*2 Cups Sweetened Shredded Coconut to top cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add coconut extract and then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time. Continue adding sugar to desire consistency. (I typically lean towards the full 6 cups for a firmer consistency to pipe the frosting). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before use.

Frost cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting. Liberally cover each cake with the shredded sweetened coconut and top with your choice of decorations.



15 thoughts on “How to make a little boy smile….

  1. Did you get a new camera? Your pictures are looking A LOT better. Or maybe I’m just hungry.

    Those cupcakes look awesome!

  2. Such a wonderful idea and lovely photos. I have a nephew who is turning 5 and a transformers maniac. I was wondering if you could please let me know where you got the autobots/decepticon candies from? They are so detailed!

    1. Thanks so much! I purchased the Transformers candies at my local Michael’s Arts and Craft Store. I’ve also seem similiar ones, but not as detailed, at a party store called Diddams.

      I know your nephew will love them! 🙂 Cheers

  3. Awwesome job frosting, almost shame to hide it with the figures and coconut. How was the recipe?

    1. Thanks so much Xiaolu! I usually have such “shaky” hands but my method is to do the piping in fast/quick motions—-using a lot of pressure on the bags. I’m sure it’s not the most ideal technique but it gets me through it 🙂


  4. Those transformers would make a girl smile, too! I know they would make ME smile. Both types of cupcakes look amazing. I love how you frosted the coconut frosting. Beautiful job.

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