Pleasures that are in themselves innocent lose their power of pleasing if they become the sole or main object of pursuit.
William Edward Hartpole Lecky
There’s something so wonderfully brooding about the winter sky. It is a mixture of grays and blues that I fantasize about. It floats in through window panes casting a perfect muted light on whatever it may fall upon.
I don’t recall where I was or what I was doing when I developed an awareness of light but it is an awareness I am thankful for. For the vast majority of beauty in life is missed in the every day hustle and bustle and the tick tock of our little worlds.
For Christmas I was given a second pair of eyes. They are not in the form of Ray Ban frames but rather a Nikon D5100. I happily bid farewell to my point-and-shoot and accepted my new identify as a shutterbug.
I also became the proud owner of a 5 Quart Artisan Kitchen Aid mixer. Life has changed as I know it folks. I invite you to join me as I embark on kitchen adventures like never before. Perhaps you may also spot my new ultra-cute muffin tin as well.
The text read “I got you kumquats.” I hurried home from work through Friday rush hour with great anticipation to meet a new face. Rather, a new carton of Florida Sunshine, in the form of Kumquats. As the sweet and sour gem of the citrus family, these little suckers come ready to eat, rind and all. Although most satisfying on their very own, I was just itching to blend them into a fabulous tea cake.
I invited some of Kumquat’s close relatives to the party as well.
It was a raging good time.
Kumquat Coconut Mini Tea Cakes
Makes about 16
Adapted from NPR.org and Baking:From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
For the batter:
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut, toasted
2 cups, unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 large eggs
2 1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup de-seeded kumquats, rind included, minced until pulpy
1 TBSP each orange and lemon juice
1 TBSP each orange and lemon zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Icing:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp each fresh orange juice and lemon juice
1 TBSP milk
1/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut, toasted
2-3 kumquats, thinly sliced and de-seeded
Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in the center. Coat muffin tins with cooking spray or butter.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
Pour the coconut milk and butter into a small sauce pan and heat until melted. Remove from heat but keep warm.
Using a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachement, beat the eggs, sugar, minced kumquat, orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest and lemon zest at medium-low speed for 3 minutes. On low speed, add in the vanilla until combined. Keeping at low speed, spoon in the dry ingredients scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the cup of tasted coconut, mixing until blended then slowly add the milk and butter mixture until combined. Stop mixing and stir a few times with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, using a hand whisk, mix the confectioner’s sugar with lemon and orange juice, adding drops of milk as needed to create a consistency suitable for drizzling.
Once cupcakes are cool enough to be removed form the tin, transfer to a cooling rack placed over a sheet of wax paper. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the cakes, then sprinkle with toasted coconut and place a slice of kumquat on top for garnish.
Note about toasting coconut: place the coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat and gently stir until coconut is slightly golden brown about two minutes. Coconut will burn quickly so this step will require close supervision.