The Busy Coconut turns 1!!

Did you know that March 3rd is the anniversary of The Busy Coconut? I know, can you believe it’s been one year? I thought that I needed to make something to celebrate. Lately, I’ve been seeing Neopolitan images, so I took that as a sign I needed to make  Neopolitan cupcakes. Because I was dealing with 3 different boxes of cake mix, I ended up with about 75 cupcakes.

I can’t really tell you where they all went . . . except for maybe 2. Ok, 3. I know where 3 of the cupcakes went. Whether or not I will tell you, that’s a different story.

This website has been really fun so far, and I am hoping that you’re all enjoying the ride as well. I’ve delved into cooking even more and have even experimented with my own recipes. So far, no one in my home has died. I figure I’m on a roll with this cooking thing.

I have slowed a bit in recipe posts, only because I have “technical difficulties” that like to climb on the table.

Doing TBC has made me want to grow in other areas as well. I’ve tried real hard to be a little more creative on my own with my primary music presentations and share them with you in a timely manner. I’m still working on that part.

Photography is an area I’ve have never been interested in until starting this website. Food photography has been my favorite so far. There’s something I would have never imagined myself saying. I didn’t even know that existed until a year ago. Thank you all for your compliments on my photos. I’m have much more things to learn still, but I’m having fun with it.

I’m also having fun showing you non-Hawaii residents what life is like here, the good, the different, and the beautiful.

Then there’s the never ending battle with the weight. I’m still going, but promise not to bombard you with my weekly anxiety issues with the scale. It’s gonna be a long journey, so I’ll give updates now and again. As for the running thing, I’m still working on that three miles. Consistency with a 1 year old and part-time job is hard to maintain, but I’m not going to give up.

(Isn’t that cool. It tasted good too.)

One of the more fun parts about doing TBC is all the social media stuff.  Fun! Fun! Fun! Can I just say, Twitter opens up a whole new world of micro-blogging and networking. I’m no pro, and would not even pronounce myself to be a Twitter Ninja (there really is such a thing), but I’m learning. Then there’s FaceBook, and don’t even get me started with Pinterest.

I would like to thank all my readers and followers of this blog for all the love you’ve shown The Busy Coconut.

That has to be the absolute best part of having this blog —– hearing from my readers! I love it!

I love hearing your reaction to a post, or your opinion about an idea I’ve shared, or success with something you found here on this blog.  Reading your comments is just fun for me. Thanks for sticking around for this rookie year and interacting and sharing with me.

In honor of The Busy Coconut’s first anniversary, I was going to set up a table at the local park and give out 366 cupcakes. A couple of people, who will remain nameless said that that idea was too crazy. True story. So I thought maybe a contest giveaway would be a little less crazy, but more fun. So tune in on Wednesday for the contest giveaway. I won’t promise that the prize will be huge, but it will be something fun.


The Busy Coconut

Chocolate Peanut Butter Twist Cupcakes – Yum!

Sooooooo, I saw this cupcake in a cupcake issue of Better Homes and Garden, and knew that I had to make it. It’s picture taunted me from the glossy pages. I had to answer the call, or it would have haunted me, even in my sleep. I’m sure of it. Chocolate Peanut Butter Twist Cupcake. It perfectly describes it. Part chocolate, part peanut butter, part twist.

There is a recipe for the cake part, but again I cheated. Sorry I couldn’t help it. That baby is still on my hips. I used a box mix for the cake part, and again I proclaim that there is no shame in it. The frosting I will say was made from pure scratch. I was so excited making this cupcake that I forgot to snap pictures of the process. Again, sorry. I will do my best to explain it until I make it again, which may or may not be tomorrow.

After making the cupcakes, let them cool completely while you make your awesome chocolate peanut butter twist frosting.  Start off with room temperature softened cream cheese. Add some peanut butter and vanilla and mix until combined and fluffy.  Next you’re going to want to grab your powdered sugar. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, followed with a teeny bit of milk to make sure it’s a good consistency for piping onto your cupcakes. Once that’s mixed, take half the mixture and add melted milk chocolate to that half. Now here’s where the twist part comes. It’s a little tricky. Take your peanut butter frosting and put it into the piping bag. Next add the milk chocolate frosting to the same bag, trying as best you can putting along side the peanut butter frosting in the piping bag. Once they are both in, go to town.

With the two frostings next to each other, it will come out “twisted”. It will look awesome. Your friends will think you are a gourmet cupcake maker.

To top off my cupcakes, I took the Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups and gave them a little shave, then topped it with the peanut butter cup to complete it. I think I had a few tablespoons of this frosting before lunch and I don’t regret it.



*Makes enough for about 24 cupcakes

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese                                   1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter

2 tsps vanilla                                                                      6 cups of powdered sugar

4 oz baking milk chocolate                                              1 bag of mini Reeses’ Peanut Butter Cups (frozen)

milk added in 1 tsp at a time until frosting has reached piping consistency

Soften your cream cheese to room temperature. Once that’s done, throw in your peanut butter and vanilla, and mix until it’s combined well. Now for the powdered sugar. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. After you add in 1 cup, mix it in, then check the consistency each time. If at any point it seems too thick, add in a teaspoon of milk and combine. It should look just like the can stuff when you’re done. When that part is done, set the frosting aside. Melt your milk chocolate and cool. I just melted mine in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time. After it’s cooled, add half the frosting that you’ve made to the chocolate and combine. Now you’re ready for the fun part. Take you peanut butter frosting and put it in your piping bag, leaving room for the chocolate frosting. When you put in the chocolate frosting, your going to put it into the same piping bag, along side the peanut butter frosting. Once this is done, snip a hole at the end of your bag to whatever size you want and start swirling. When your done piping on your frosting, stand back for a minute and admire your handy work.  Take a Reeses’ Peanut Buttercup from your freezer and grate a little of the chocolate on top of a cupcake, then top your cupcake with that Reeses’ Peanut Buttercup. Do that to each cupcake. When that is complete, stand back again and admire your cupcakes, because they’ll look picture perfect.

Pig Cake Cupcakes – Say that five times fast.

Have you ever heard of Pig Cake? Some have, some haven’t. I’ve become familiar with Pig Cake thanks to The Pioneer Woman. It’s one of those doctored up cake mix recipes that helps put you on that pedestal of creativeness.  It’s great for when you’re in a hurry, and have an insomniac baby on your hip, and don’t have time to whip something up from scratch. Yup. That about sums up my life right there: hurry, insomniac baby, and no time. Any other moms with this same problem? That’s what I thought.

Pig Cake is a cool type of dessert. Cool, as in you have it in the fridge because you put a cool whip-type topping on it. It’s also cool because it just plain tastes good. I had a luncheon that I needed to bring a dessert too. This recipe came to mind. I was going through my head how after I made the cake, I would cut it up on serve it on cupcake cups. Then I had the ingenious idea to just make them into cupcakes instead. I know, my level of ingeniousness is not quite the same level as what most people regard as ingenious. Remember, I have an insomniac baby on my hips at all time. The brain cells are functioning as best they can.

Did I mention I made these for a Labor Day Picnic? They were gone by the end of the day. Without further ado here’s the recipe.

Take the Yellow Cake mix that’s sitting in your pantry and throw in the butter (margarine if you have that instead), juice from canned mandarin, and eggs.  Make sure your butter/margarine is softened.  We don’t want any accidents.

Turn your mixer on and let her go for a couple of minutes till it’s all blended. When that’s mixed, set it aside.

Grab your canned mandarins. I bet you thought you’d never use canned mandarins. It’s not a common ingredient that most people use. It’s probably one of those canned items you always let your kids take for the canned food drives. Well, no more! Now they have purpose. I usually give my mandarins a “rough chop” before throwing them in the cake mixture.

You can throw them in whole and and your mixer should spin fast enough to break up the mandarin into smaller pieces. Why I just don’t do this? It’s because I have that constant drive to be a martyr. To make my life harder than it should be. You co-dependents know what I’m talking about.

Mix those mandarins in there.

You may already know this trick, but if there is one soul out there who doesn’t know this, then I’ve done my duty. I put a large ziplock bag in a large cup and then fill it with the cake batter.

I squeeze the batter to one corner of the bag. I hold it like a pastry bag and then snip off the corner. Because this batter has chunks of mandarin in it, I make sure the hole is a good size so we don’t have any clogging.

When that’s done, I squeeze my batter into my cupcake cups. So much neater. I don’t end up with vagrant batter all over the cupcake pan.

Again, see how neat that is. I really am not a control freak, but when it comes to cupcake batter, I tend to micro-manage, making sure it stays in the cups. When all your cups are filled with batter, they’re ready to bake.

While that’s baking, we’re going to work on that cool cool-whip-type frosting. If you read the original recipe, you’ll see that I deviated a little. That would be because I neglected to double check the instructions. I’m not a good example. I decided to just explain this part exactly as I made them. If you want to follow the original recipe, may the force be with you. If you want to do it the way I did it, you’ll probably still need the force. I just took the above ingredients and threw them all in at once, mixing it, till it was a luscious cloud of sweetness.

Again I put that mixture in another ziplock bag and proceeded to top each cupcake with it’s own luscious cloud of sweetness. Make sure the hole is big enough to accommodate the lusciousness coming out of the bag.

Top each cupcake with a mandarin.  Man, mandarins are getting top billing today with this recipe.

So if you have a potluck, or a luncheon, a get together, or a karate dojo you want to cook for, here’s a good recipe. It’s refreshing with it’s citrus-y flavor and cool-whip topping. Perfect summer time dessert.


Difficulty: Not that hard                    Prep Time: 15 mins.               Cooking Time: 30 minutes             Servings: 24

The Cake Part:

1 box Yellow Cake Mix                                 1 stick of butter/margarine

1 can (14 oz) drained Mandarin Oranges, Drained, reserve 1/2 cup juice

4 whole eggs                                                   1 tsp Vanilla Extract


The Cool-Whip Topping

1 package Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix              1 can (20 oz) Crushed Pineapple, reserve juice

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar                                        1 oz Frozen Whipped Topping

1 (14 oz) can of Mandaring Slices to garnish


Cake -

Mix all the ingredients together, except the mandarin slices. After the batter has been made, mix in the mandarin slices and turn your mixer on high enough for it to break up the slices into small pieces. Put batter into your cupcake cups and bake at 350 for 18 minutes. When they’re done let them cool while you prepare the topping.

Topping -

Combine the reserved juice from the pineapple with the vanilla pudding mix. Then throw in your powdered sugar and stir. Add in your whipped topping of choice. Lastly, stir in your drained pineapple. Prepare topping in a pastry bag (or any ziplock-type bag will do) and top each cooled cupcake with it. Garnish each cupcake with a mandarin orange slice and serve.


I’m not quite obsessed, but I’m getting there. So for now, we’ll just call it an infatuation. I know. I’m a little late with the “cupcake bandwagon”. Better late than never I say, especially since it’s cupcakes.

I’ve come to see why everyone loves cupcakes. Three factors that I personally love:

#1 Their just darn cute.

#2 They’re fairly easy to make. You can get some complicated ones, but on the whole, they’re not too hard.

#3 They’re just the right size, which brings us back to #1.

My co-workers and I threw a bridal shower for one of our nurses. Her wedding colors are black, white with a little red. I immediately thought of these cupcake cups to use. Since everyone would be 25+ in age, we would go with a Damask pattern. Damask just makes us look sophisticated, even when we have frosting on our nose. What probably would have been better, is if I had used red velvet cake to give it that “little bit of red”. That’s okay. Next time. I did put chocolate chips in them, you know, because I live on the edge.

I cheated with the frosting. I used the can stuff, but I say there’s no shame in that. All of you “can-frosting” peeps out there, can I get a “oh yeah!” (Oh yeah!) I’m one of them. I used my a disposable piping bag and put a large star tip at the end of it, to give it that swirly look.

Sprinkles are like the accessories that complete the outfit. Ace of Cakes had these black & white sprinkles. Thank you Ace of Cakes for helping me make my cupcakes look complete.

They were so fun and easy to make.

Don’t you just want to lick it?

I was at the grocery store the other day and bought the Better Homes & Garden Cupcake edition magazine. Whoever did the cover did an awesome job, because it got me to buy it right away, without looking at how much it cost. Yikes! Normally I don’t buy magazines for $10! After perusing through it though, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a cookbook with an identity crisis.

It’s filled with a ton of recipes for cupcakes and frosting, and ideas for all sorts of occasions. (Those two cupcakes asked me to frost them that way. I don’t told them they wouldn’t match with the rest, but they didn’t listen).

I’ve been inspired by it. Making cupcakes has been one of those projects that has been lurking in the back of my head. I think the time has come to take it on. Like I said, cupcakes don’t seem that difficult to make (I’ll let you know if I still feel that way after making 100 of them). So I’ve decided to feature a cupcake each month. Maybe two if my baby takes a nap. If I use a recipe, I will definitely share it.

I just want to explore the world of cupcakes and see what I find.

On a side note, I’ll have you know that none of these cupcakes that I made were harmed by me. As for what happened when they went to the bridal shower, I’m not responsible.

If there’s a cupcake recipe out there you want to share, let me know.  Happy Baking!

Tie-Dye Cupcakes, Groovy Man

Aren’t these just cool man. My daughter was looking up a treat to make for our family night. She came across a recipe by Sandra Lee. Although her semi-homemade creation called for some tweaking to the cake box recipe, I thought you could simplify it even more by minusing the tweaking. If you have a WHITE CAKE MIX handy, along with some FOOD COLORING, you’re ready. I skipped a step-by-step for the mixing the cake mix (didn’t want to bore you with that), and just went straight for the tie-dye part.

After scooping in some batter into the cupcake tin, you just put a dropper of whatever food coloring you want.

My daughter had fun mixing up the colors. After dropping in the colors you want, just swirl it with whatever’s handy. A toothpick is probably the easiest thing to use in this case. In other cases – no. Pop ‘em into the oven until your timer goes off.

Soooooo pretty. We stood and stared at these things for a good minute when they were done.

We couldn’t stop staring at them. They’re a little mesmerizing.

My daughter was so proud of them that she didn’t want to put frosting on them. Rightfully so.

My other daughter was requesting me to make these for her birthday.

We thought these cupcakes were so awesome that we made more.

The skill level for these is much easier than “easy-peasy”, that I don’t even think it needs a recipe. Have fun!