1 15.25 butter cake mix (Be sure to get the full size cake mix and not the reduced size some companies are now marketing)
3 large eggs
1 cup Sprite or 7 Up
1 stick of butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white corn syrup
3 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups shredded coconut
red food coloring
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Baking at a little higher temperature makes them rise higher to get that big cupcake look.
Mix all of the cake ingredients together with a wire whisk until well blended. Don't use an electric mixer for this. Mama says it makes a the cupcakes dry when you beat the batter up too long.
Place 18 of your cupcake cups in a muffin tin. Fill each one about 3/4 full. Place in the preheated 375 degree oven for 18 - 20 minutes.
While the cupcakes cool, make the icing.
Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a sauce pan on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer cook to the soft ball stage or 240 degrees, stirring constantly. The mixture should become almost clear. You can also do this in the microwave to make this step easier. Cook on high for 4 minutes, remove and stir well and then cook for about 3 more minutes on high. This could vary by a minute or two depending on the power of your microwave. It still needs to reach the soft ball stage.
With an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the baking powder until it reaches the soft peak stage.
Slowly pour in the syrup and keep mixing until the icing stands in peaks. This takes some time to accomplish so don't give up on it. Just keep beating it and eventually the peaks will form.
To tint your coconut place 1/2 of it in a Ziploc bag and put a few drops of red food coloring in it. Mix it around until the coconut is red. Frost the cooled cupcakes generously with the frosting. Sprinkle 1 cup of plain white coconut on them and then go back over them all with the 1 cup of red coconut. You can dye all of the coconut red also if you prefer. This variegated look is just really pretty and doesn't look overdone.