Kwan-Su Cupcakes

            “Kwan-su Dudes!” If you understand this movie reference not only are you awesome, but probably very much enjoyed the early 90’s. Born in 1988, I certainly had an entertaining 90’s childhood. Surf Ninjas is a b-list, family friendly, action- comedy from 1993.
Two teenaged-surfer brothers named Johnny and Adam (Ernie Reyes Jr., Nicholas Cowan) were living a normal, laid-back life in the sun-soaked city of Los Angeles when the brothers discover they’re actually the long-lost princes of the South Pacific Island of Pa-Tu-San. But all is not surfing and ruling paradise: Pa-Tu-San is under the control of warlord Colonel Chi (Leslie Neilson). To save their adoptive father, and free their homeland from tyranny, Johnny and Adam must now transform into ninja warriors. With the help of a one-eyed black belt (Ernie Reyes Sr.), Johnny’s obnoxious best friend (Rob Schneider, with ORANGE hair), a cop (Tone Loc), and a few friends, Johnny and Adam will discover the meaning of destiny, duty, honor, and ultimately Kwan-Su.

I came across the Surf Ninjas DVD on Amazon (you can rent it from Netflix too) while ordering a sleep sack for a trip I’m taking to Europe this summer. I threw it into my cart in order to qualify for free shipping. Not to say I wouldn’t have bought it anyway; purchasing the movie was one of the better decisions I made that day. It arrived just in time for my 24th birthday last week. So why not translate it into my birthday cake?
Because of this movie, I thought the lyrics to the Beach Boys “Barbara Ann” were actually “Ba-Baram” until I was 16! Yeah… That was an embarrassing moment.
I made a tropical fruit cake, with mangos, banana, lime, and coconut; covered with coconut butter cream-tie-dye frosting and topped off with a Kwan-Su patch to resemble the head bands worn by rebels in the film. This cupcake tastes like nostalgia- the funny kind.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½  tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cup sugar
¾ cup melted coconut oil
2 limes (for zest only)
1 small, ripe banana
1 cup tangerine juice (can substitute orange juice)
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup chopped mango

1.     Mango should be cut into ¼” cubes, set aside.
2.     Sift together: flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
3.     Add the sugar to the other dry ingredients. Mix.
4.     Add the lime zest.
5.     Add the melted coconut oil. Combine everything until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
6.     Mash the banana. Add to the dry ingredients/coconut oil.
7.     Add the eggs one at a time. Beat after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape sides down as needed.
8.     With the mixer on, add the tangerine juice slowly.
9.     Once everything is fully incorporated fold the mango into the batter.
10. Preheat oven to 350
11. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes 24 cupcakes.

1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) softened, unsalted butter
½ cup coconut cream*
5 cups of powdered sugar
1 lemon, for zest only
1/8 tsp coconut flavor oil or ¾ tsp coconut extract (this is optional, only add for a more intense flavor)

1. Cream the butter until smooth, absolutely no lumps allowed.
2. Add the coconut cream. Beat with the butter until smooth. As the fat solids in the coconut cream attach to the fats in the butter coconut water will begin to separate. Stop beating the mixture when there is about 2 Tbsp of liquid in the bottom of the mixing bowl.
3. Add the lemon zest and the coconut extract/flavoring oil.
4. With the mixer on, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Beat until smooth.

*How to get coconut cream. I initially discovered coconut cream from a customer at my work: she uses coconut cream to make vegan whipped cream. As seen here. Essentially this process separates the fat solids in coconut milk from the coconut water.
1. Buy full fat (at least 13g fat per serving) coconut milk.
2. DO NOT SHAKE, or FLIP OVER the can at any time after purchase.
3. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight.
4. Open the can just before use. Scoop out the top layer of super-thick white cream without disturbing the clear liquids beneath.

For the “tie-dyed” frosting I have to thank Pintrest for linking me to this image/instructional. To create a tie-dye effect in the frosting you need a CLEAN or new paintbrush and gel food coloring in any color you desire. Simply pour small dollops of food coloring on a plate. Using the paintbrush, literally paint the inside of your piping bag in a vertically-striped pattern; it doesn’t matter in which order, how wide or narrow. Feel free to experiment! I used red, yellow, orange, and purple to match the colors in the Surf Ninjas’ headbands. For the best effect I would recommend any sized star tip.

¾ cup yellow candy melts
¼ cup black candy melts
1 round “peppermint patty” size/style candy mold
2 parchment paper cones

1.     Make both paper cones prior to melting candy.
2.     Melt the black candy according to package directions. I prefer the microwave method. Stir between 30- second intervals at 50% power until smooth.
3.     Transfer the candy into a paper cone, cut the tip to create the smallest possible hole. The smaller the hole, the better control you’ll have.
4.     Draw the “double dragon” from the patch onto the bottom of the mold. No one will care if they’re not perfect. Drawing with chocolate is hard! Just look at mine!

5.     Immediately repeat step 2 with the yellow candy.
6.     Fill the second paper cone with the melted yellow candy.
7.     Cut the end off. The bigger the hole, the less control you have, so do what feels comfortable.
8.     Fill the remaining space over the black candy with yellow.
9.     Let set. Setting at room temperature varies based on the room temperature and humidity, mine set in 25 minutes. You can use the fridge; it’ll set in about 10 minutes.
10. When the candy has set, simply pop the medallions out of their molds by flexing the edges and place on top of your frosting cupcakes!

Kwan-Su Dudes! They love this word. It must mean free beer or something.” – said 11 year-old Prince Adam.
I think it means awesome birthday cupcakes.


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