No Snow? No Problem! Chocolate Cardamom Coconut Bites

By / Photography By Matthew Carden | December 01, 2014



Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a mini cupcake tray with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, spices, salt and both coconuts. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in melted and cooled butter, milk and vanilla extract.

Gradually add in the dry mixture, stirring until only a few streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Drop a tablespoon of batter into each cupcake paper.

Bake for 6 minutes.

DO NOT OVER BAKE; under baking will result in a better cupcake.

If you would prefer to make these as standard-size cupcakes, follow the same directions, but use an ice cream scoop to drop the batter into your lined cupcake pan, and bake for 12 minutes.


1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Carrots or orange candies for making snowman noses

Edible art markers, black food coloring or chocolate sauce for mouths


In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, butter, egg white and salt, then place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, creating a double boiler. Whisk continually until thick, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut and vanilla.

Spread the warm paste out on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 15–30 minutes.


To shape the topping, roll out the chilled paste and cut into circles sized to cover the top of each cupcake, using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass. Roll in confectioner’s sugar, shaking off excess.

Place a circle on top of each cupcake.

Add two mini semi-sweet chocolate chips for eyes. To create the nose, use a piece of real carrot trimmed down to a very small triangle. You can also use a soft orange candy such as a Starburst or Candy Corn. Cut a sliver off and roll them between your fingers to soften and mold.

For the mouth, use edible art markers to make dots, or a toothpick dipped in black food coloring or chocolate sauce.

About this recipe

Sweet treats capture the joy of winter

Did you love building snowmen as a kid? If you grew up in California, you probably just dreamed of snowball fights or a snow day vacation from school.

Growing up in the state of New York, I built more snow forts and snowmen as a kid than I can recall. After hours of snow play, we would reluctantly drag ourselves inside only as the sun went down—frozen, dripping wet and hungry. Always hungry. Pushing that frozen stuff around not only yields snowmen, but huge appetites, too.

These mini cupcakes with their coconut snowmen toppers are super fun to make, and eat, even when you live in a region where real snow is only a dream.

The “snowmen” are constructed with a coconut modeling paste that can be molded however you like. Build a traditional snowman, or just a face like I did.

These treats also make great hostess gifts for holiday parties!

Jennifer Carden is a mother, wife, chef, author and food stylist. She is dedicated to helping families get excited about food, and with her creative recipes she inspires kids and adults alike. Her latest book is the Little Pretty Baking Kit: Petite Cakes to Make and Give (Chronicle Books, 2013). Her blog is


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup desiccated shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
Coconut Patty Modeling Paste Topping
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for rolling patties
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