For the topping: Combine the coconut and sugar with the butter.
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners.
In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, eggs, orange juice, wine, vanilla, orange zest, and lemon oil and mix well. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the orange juice mixture just until moistened. Fold in the mandarin oranges and the coconut. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Sprinkle the topping over each cupcake and bake until golden brown, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.
For the ganache: In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, heat the cream in the microwave until very hot but not boiling. Remove the cream from the microwave and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly to thicken.
For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the salt until smooth. Add 1/2 the powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Add the cream, vanilla, and remaining sugar and beat to desired consistency.
To assemble: Frost each cupcake with a wide, flat "pillow" of vanilla frosting. Dip each cupcake top in chocolate ganache. Immediately pipe 3 small dots (about 1/16 teaspoon each) white chocolate on top of each cupcake. Pull the tip of a sharp knife through each white chocolate dot, starting at the top and pulling down, to form a heart. Sprinkle edible gold flakes on top of each cupcake, if desired.
If using unbleached all-purpose flour instead of unbleached pastry flour, reduce the flour quantity to 2 3/4 cups.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Marilyn Norris, Cupcake Wars 2010