Baking advice: Can I substitue coconut milk for regular milk in cake recipes?

Maybe my question is too general, but--I want to lend a hint of coconut flavor to banana cake cupcakes. Can I achieve this by substituting coconut milk for the whole milk I would normally use?

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Mrs. Snow
Mrs. Snow February 2, 2013

I would add a small amount of coconut extract in in the batter instead if coconut milk.

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sdebrango
sdebrango February 2, 2013

I have done it and it worked fine, I think it would be great in banana cupcakes,

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SeaJambon
SeaJambon February 2, 2013

My own experience is that coconut milk will "work" just fine and that you'll really notice the coconut flavor in the raw batter/dough, but that the flavor will mostly bake out and not be noticeable in the end product. This is great if you are replacing milk for an allergy reason and don't necessarily want the coconut flavor, but if you want the coconut flavor and don't have other allergy type concerns, you'd be better off (as Mrs Snow suggests) adding a bit of coconut extract. FWIW: I've had the same "flavor bakes out" when substituting coconut oil for butter -- really nice hint of coconut in the raw dough, but totally gone in the cooked product.

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spiffypaws
spiffypaws February 2, 2013

I sub coconut milk all the time for milk when baking, and haven't had a problem.

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spiffypaws
spiffypaws February 2, 2013

I sub coconut milk all the time for milk when baking, and haven't had a problem.

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spiffypaws
spiffypaws February 2, 2013

I sub coconut milk all the time for milk when baking, and haven't had a problem.

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Cristina Sciarra
Cristina Sciarra February 2, 2013

Thanks to everyone for the responses! Yes, I am going for flavor, so maybe I will try some combination of milk/coconut milk/extract. Is there a good, high quality coconut extract on the market?

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Mrs. Snow
Mrs. Snow February 2, 2013

I like McCormicks extracts.

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FutureChef
FutureChef February 2, 2013

I've substituted coconut milk for eggs and milk in brioche, but yes, the flavor is lost in baking. For the actual coconut flavor, extract is the most effective and economical.
You could always go the tres leches sort-of route and soak the baked cake in coconut milk... Or maybe better yet, coconut rum? I've had limoncello-soaked rum cake and I can't imagine a cake soaked in a cocktail going wrong. Lol.

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Cristina Sciarra
Cristina Sciarra February 3, 2013

I think I'm going to try some combination of coconut cream, coconut extract, and buttermilk. It may be a disaster, but we'll soon see!

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Cristina Sciarra
Cristina Sciarra February 7, 2013

This is what I cam up with in the end! http://theroamingkitchen.net/put-the-lime-in-the-coconut-muffins/

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creamtea
creamtea February 7, 2013

They look so tender. The opposite of disaster. Just the thing for a snow day!

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