A change of pace.
It’s not always welcome but it’s often appreciated.
This past weekend Boy and I traveled to Washington DC to “escape” for a couple days. We had been planning the mini-trip for a month or so. I had been meticulous in picking out the best hotel we could afford and finding restaurant options and he had smiled and nodded as I blabbed on and on about all of it. We’ve done this a few times, gone away for a night or two to nearby cities and give ourselves the option to do nothing at all but also the chance to have a nice dinner at the very least. It’s always been a great experience. We catch up in a way. We leave our books behind for the most part (sitting on a bus for 4+ hours seems like a good time to study in theory but we usually end up playing Scrabble on my iTouch) and we mostly just enjoy the company. We don’t bicker per our usual state and we don’t stress. It’s a change of pace. It’s a reminder that we have other things in common besides spending more time in a hospital than we do at home and that we don’t need the excuse of being in the same school to know we can be good together. Sometimes you start to think you’re just together for the convenience of it all, you know?
This weekend was a bit hectic because we unknowingly squeezed it in between rough weeks at work. I was on call on Friday and got out around 7.30. For some reason we really wanted to see Robin Hood (two thumbs up, by the way) so I rushed to pack to make the 9.30ish showing (I live a good 30-45 minutes from the hospital in the first place and 20 minutes from the theater so that left me about 45 minutes to shower and pack), we got home past midnight and woke up at 6.00 the next morning to make our bus. And then after the fabulous weekend in DC, we got stuck in traffic on the way home Sunday night, hadn’t eaten all day, and ended up going to bed around midnight after stopping at the Rutgers grease trucks (can I get an AAAAAAAA-MEN?!) only to wake up at 6.00 the next morning for work.
Sound exhausting? It was. I don’t even think I’m caught up with sleep yet!
But it was perfect. Hit the spot. Made me feel refreshed (in our relationship. In life, I was a dead woman walking). It’s always nice to escape the familiar and explore what else is out there in the world. Even thought I’ve been to the Lincoln Memorial at least a dozen times, being there with a different person on a different day still gives me the same high.
These cupcakes are just as refreshing and high-giving. They take a LITTLE more time than other cupcakes because of the filling process but they’re well worth it. Every component has something pineapple and/or coconut so the flavors really come through. It’s exactly what I imagined such a cupcake to taste like if not better than I imagined. They’re a lovely change of pace from the traditional cupcake.
For pineapple & coconut cupcake
2 2/3 c all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 c granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
16 oz crushed pineapple in juice, well drained, juice reserved
2/3 c of the reserved pineapple juice
2/3 c sweetened coconut
For coconut creme filling
1 pkg (3-1/2oz) Jello instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp coconut extract
For cream cheese frosting
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 – 3 c powdered sugar
1-3 tsp pineapple rum [I use Cruzan]
Preheat oven to 350.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
With a stand or hand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the pineapple juice in 2 additions. Fold in the pineapple and coconut.
Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-3/4 full. Bake for about 20-22 mins or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the filling and topping.
For the filling, make pudding as directed on the box and add coconut extract.
For the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together approximately 3 minutes on medium speed. Add rum and then slowly add powdered sugar, mixing well until desired thickness.
Cut out a cone from the top of each cupcake. Fill with as much creme as possible and replace cone (if you aren’t lazy like me, you can trim off a bit of the cone so it sits better but really, once you frost it you can’t tell). Frost. Garnish with toasted coconut (over the stove or at 350 for 5-10 minutes.. watch it closely to prevent burning!).
Rave reviews are sure to come your way if you set these out on the table!