Juste Debout & Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

Not going to lie, my brain is mush right now. If I lift one more piece of furniture in the next 10 minutes, I'm going to kick something. Violently. It shall be worth it in the end, patience young grasshopper. Patience. Happy thoughts. Like Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting... and attending Juste Debout.

Juste Debout ("just upright") is an annual dance competition. It's usually held in France but this year they brought it on over to New York. It was held in the Brooklyn Lyceum. I loved this venue! It was old and ragged; a beautiful mess. The floor wasn't bad for dancing! The only downfall of this spot: volume regulations. Due to the residential area... they couldn't pump the music. Not the best policy when you're hosting a DANCE competition.

I had no intention of attending this event.

Juste Debout Documentary Film | Volume NYC from navator.com on Vimeo.

Then my bestfriend, Kuya, signed up for the Top Rock (the part of break dancing where you just dance- no footwork or crazy poses) battle and it was a done deal. This was his first out of state competition! Got to support! We piled into the car and headed off for adventure.

Thanks gentlemen for the laughs and love! We learned NJ is only good for lingerie, bagels, and liqueur... Kuya sleeps perfectly for spooning (ass presented!)... and military dosages of ibuprofen are a blessing.

There were six categories of dance: hip hop, locking, popping, top rock, waacking, and housing. My favorite to watch was def the hip hop and house. The popping battle (no offense poppers) was... painful. It dragged out and got lame quick. And can someone tell me WHY people that do locking wear some of the most ridiculous outfits ever? I'm serious. What's the origin of that style?

An observation made by our out-of-state selves was that New York ego got in the way of the judging. One of the judges made it a point to say how the best dancers come from NY. You could see this look of "WTF" on all the international dancer's faces that made final round.

Plus, there was some FOUL business in the tops battle! Shamrock from Urban Artistry- you were robbed. This guy had the entire venue screaming when he murdered his round... yet he didn't get past prelims. Fail.

Driving out there was worth seeing Kuya compete. You were fantastic hun and I love watching your passion on the dance floor. It's a beautiful thing.

Now. Back to the food.

I still don't know how I feel about these cupcakes. Honestly, they were not my favorite. Making a good pineapple cupcake is really hard. The best cake form of the pineapple remains the upside down version. I was hoping these cupcakes would persuade me otherwise but they were a touch heavy in my opinion. They were thicker than my usual cupcake. That not necessarily a bad thing- just my preference. The bits of pineapple in the cupcake was absolutely delicious! This was the beast of the cupcake.

The frosting is very pure in nature because it contains reduced coconut milk. This takes awhile to create but I like the fact it's not imitation extract. One comment I received was the texture was like cream cheese. It is very smooth and dreamy... I will use it on another cupcake, one that's more complimentary and understanding of it's soft nature. This was the beauty of the cupcake.

Note: To toast coconut.. you can do it in a dry skillet or in a 350 degree oven, stirring often. It browns quick! Watch it close! You want that pineapple super well drained! Pat it dry if you need to! No excess moisture!

Pineapple Cupcakes
from Williams-Sonoma

1 1/3 cups/220g all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 stick/55g unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup/140g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 8-ounce/227g can crushed pineapple in juice, well drained, juice reserved
1/3 cup/80 mL of the reserved pineapple juice (see note)
1 cup/125g sweetened coconut, toasted if you wish

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin or use cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy.

Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time and beat well after each. Add the crushed pineapple and beat; it will be lumpy. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the pineapple juice, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, if necessary, and beat just until blended.

Transfer to the pan, filling each cup about one-half to three-quarters of the way. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 19 – 22 minutes.

Immediately remove cupcakes from the tin and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Coconut Frosting
by Epicurious

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cups powdered sugar
13 ounce can of unsweetened coconut milk (yields 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk)
Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)

To make the reduced coconut milk, pour the 13 ounce can of unsweetened coconut milk into a small sauce pan. Leave on medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This helps to concentrate the flavor of the coconut. Let sit to room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, seeds from vanilla bean, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to medium/high and beat until light and fluffy.