Aw, c’mon now, you didn’t honestly think we were going to let the whole summer go by without making the quintessential Barefoot recipe, did you?

These are dessert nirvana ““ fluffy, buttery, vanilla-y cupcakes topped with luxurious cream cheese frosting and an ethereal sprinkling of coconut. A tiered cake stand of them is nothing less than a dazzling showstopper. Even a pie guy like Dave admits these are as scrumptious as they are breathtaking.

A perennial family favorite, I’ve made these cupcakes many times over the years, and they always come out a little differently, depending on the freshness of the baking powder and the particular oven. This time the stars were aligned and the gods were smiling, because they happened to come out perfect. I actually ended up with a little wasted batter after filling two dozen cups, and we also had the happy dilemma of extra frosting ““ a situation easily solved by four adorable boys and some spoons.

As glamorous as the cupcakes look, they’re a breeze to make. The admiring “oohs” and “ahhs” on presentation are instantly supplanted by enchanted “mmmmms” with the first bite. And they’re even more delectable with a frosty glass of skim milk or a steaming cup of tea.

I considered hiding the leftovers before I went to bed last night, as I overheard some of the Reiser men ““ the oldest included ““ fantasizing about snagging one for a snack if they woke up during the night. But everyone must’ve slept soundly, as, happily, there are still a bunch left this morning.

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