Coconut frosting is a type of creamy icing popular in the decoration of cakes, cupcakes, and other confections. Typically snowy white and flecked with bits of shredded or flaked coconut, this icing is usually quite rich in flavor and often very sweet. Coconut frosting can lend any type of icing project a hint of tropical flavor and luxurious taste, but due to allergies and personal preferences, may not always meet with universal approval.
There are hundreds of recipes for coconut frosting, each with an emphasis on different ingredients. For a very basic version, combine 16 ounces (450 grams) of powdered or confectioner’s sugar with four ounces (115 grams) of softened butter. When combined, add milk by the spoonful until the mixture has reached a frosting-like consistency. Vanilla or coconut flavoring can also be added, before tossing in eight ounces (230 grams) of sweetened flake coconut or fresh shredded coconut.
Other recipes for coconut frosting are more exotic, adding rum flavoring, pineapple juice, or enhancing the coconut flavor by adding coconut cream. For a truly rich version, add about 4 ounces (115 grams) of cream cheese and replace milk with heavy cream. This ultra-thick recipe can be whipped to a fluffy consistency and spreads quite easily.
Although traditionally, coconut frosting is a cloud-like confection that is left white, it can also be dyed for a retro or kitschy look. In the 1960s, coconut-frosted cakes were often colored pink or green for a pop of fantastic color. Tiki-themed parties or other retro events may be a great chance to break out the food coloring and offer guests an almost shockingly frosted treat.
A different use for coconut frosting is found in German chocolate cake. In this variation, coconut is melted with butter, sugar, eggs, cornstarch, and pecans. The resulting mixture is cooked for several minutes and turns a toasty, gooey butterscotch color. Coconut frosting for German chocolate cakes is typically spooned onto the top of the cake and sometimes placed between layers, while sides and edges are often frosted with chocolate.
Before deciding to treat someone to a heavenly treat frosted with coconut, be certain to check if the intended recipient has allergies or an aversion to coconut. Many people who suffer from nut allergies also have an associated allergic reaction to coconut, while others simply do not like the creamy and nutty taste. Coconut frosting makes a wonderful contrast to fruit or vegetable-based cakes, such as pineapple cupcakes or carrot cake, as the luscious creamy texture and rich taste can nicely balance the clean, bright flavors.