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coconut lime cupcakes

Okay, so, funny story with these cupcakes. Every year on my birthday I have a big cake struggle. I don’t really like grocery store cakes, and usually can’t afford bakery cakes. I’ve been trying for years to get my husband Geoff to bake me a birthday cake, to no avail. (He says it’s like if Van Gogh asked you to paint a picture for him.) So usually, I just end up making my own cake and calling it good. These coconut lime cupcakes are what I chose this year, in remembrance of the margarita cupcakes I made for my twenty-ninth birthday a few years ago (please don’t hurt yourself laughing at my picture). And then, after I had already made the cupcakes, the miracle happened… Geoff made me a cake! He made a double layer cake using this awesome recipe, and it was seriously one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten in my life. So now we pretty much just have cake coming out of our ears.

These coconut lime cupcakes are super delicious! I took my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe (the one I’ve made so many times now that I have it totally memorized and could make it in my sleep) and added shredded coconut, lime zest, lime juice, and coconut extract. I then made my new favorite buttercream with some added coconut extract, and sprinkled the tops with coconut and lime zest. Yum! I got a little heavy handed adding half and half to the frosting and was too lazy to fix it, so my frosting was a little soft, but I kind of liked it that way.

I know it’s the polar vortex or whatever around the east coast, but here in Utah it’s been warm and sunny and in the 50s and 60s for weeks now, and it just feels like spring is in the air! I love that these cupcakes are so bright and fresh, and perfect for spring. Even if it’s not looking like spring yet where you live, these will definitely give you a taste of spring!

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

for the cupcakes:
zest of two limes
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) butter, cold, cut into pieces
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

for the frosting:
1 7 ounce container marshmallow cream
4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1-2 tablespoons half and half or milk (more or less as needed)
lime zest and shredded coconut (for sprinkling on top)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line 24 wells of a muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the lime zest and sugar and rub with your fingers to release the oils in the zest. Add the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Mix in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Combine the milk, vanilla extract, coconut extract, and lime juice in a small bowl or measuring cup, and add half of the milk mixture to the batter. Mix until smooth, then add the other half of the milk mixture. Mix in the shredded coconut. Scoop into prepared muffin tin, filling 1/2-2/3 full. Bake 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the marshmallow cream and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and the coconut extract, and mix until combined. Add the half and half until desired consistency is reached. Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with lime zest and shredded coconut.

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