3tablespoonspassionfruit curd (store-bought or homemade)(notes)
FOR THE MERINGUES
Preheat oven to 120C / 250F / 100C fan forced. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper.
In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld beater), beat the egg whites to soft peak stage. About 5 minutes.
Sift over the cream of tartar and beat through. Now add the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the egg whites are thick and glossy and at stiff peak stage. Once all the sugar is incorporated, test the mixture by rubbing a little between your finger and thumb. It should be smooth. If it is still grainy, keep beating until it is smooth when you test it.
Use a small paintbrush to paint thin stripes of food colouring on the inside of the bag then fill it with the meringue. Pipe small domes onto the prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.
Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues there for half an hour then remove from oven, gently peel away from the baking paper and let them cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.
FOR THE COCONUT CUPCAKES
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Line 12-count muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
Using a handheld beater or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. About 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times as you go.
Add eggs 1 at a time until fully incorporated and then the vanilla. Make sure to keep scraping the sides of the bowl as required.
In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, salt and coconut. Add a third of the flour mix to the wet mix and gently mix together until just mixed through, add half of the milk/s. Continue until all flour and milk/s are mixed through. Be careful not to overmix at this stage as that will make your cupcakes dense.
Spoon batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check at 18 minutes, then again at 20. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out with just a couple of crumbs clinging to it. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack, then cool completely before filling & frosting.
Once cooled, use a knife or cupcake corer to cut roughly a 1 inch hole in the top centre of the cupcake. Fill the hole with the passionfruit curd. Plugging it with an off-cut of the cake will mean less chance of getting messy when you frost the cupcakes but is not necessary.
FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM
In a small saucepan whisk together the milk, flour and half the sugar until smooth. Heat over low heat for 5-6 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens to a very thick paste. It's thick enough when you can see the lines of the whisk in the paste and the smell of uncooked flour has disappeared.
Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap making sure the plastic wrap is touching the paste (this will stop the top from forming a skin), then place in the fridge to cool completely.
Once the milk paste is completely cool, beat together the butter and remaining sugar until really creamy (about 5 minutes). Make sure to regularly scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the milk / flour paste and salt and beat on medium high for 5-7 minutes. If it looks like it separates at the start, don't worry, keep on beating and it will beat up into an almost whipped cream consistency.
I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales like these are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
I use corn starch a lot in my baking. Cake flour is a combination of all purpose and corn starch but in Australia is not so readily available. I use this combo in my recipes a lot instead of using cake flour.
If you want to skip the meringues, double the frosting recipe to get a nice high frosted top.
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
Silicone muffin trays – I like the shape these give my cupcakes