These Lemon Coconut Cupcakes are super light and filled with lemon flavor! The fluffy cake is filled with lemon cured and topped with the most perfect coconut frosting. Ideal for spring and summer!
- From Scratch Cupcakes: This recipe is from scratch and practically no fail! You will love the subtle, yet prevalent, lemon flavor.
- Freezer Friendly: You can make the cupcakes and the frosting in advance and keep them stored separately in the freezer.
- Lemon Curd: Use store bought or homemade. Homemade lemon curd can be made up to two weeks in advance and kept stored in the refrigerator.
This cupcake has everything. The delightful tang of citrus is super refreshing while the more subtle flavor of coconut helps to balance the sweetness. Filled with the most delicious lemon curd, which makes the cake extra moist and flavorful! My husband physically shoved me away from the plate and claimed the remaining small cake as his precious.
This cake is worth fighting for. The spring flavor combination is wonderful and even kid approved! My nine year old gives it five stars and two thumbs way up! No time for cupcakes? Try my lemon coconut sweet bread. Same great flavor but loaf style.
Lemon Cupcake Ingredients
- All Purpose Flour: Regular white flour works best in the construction of these cupcakes.
- Baking Powder and Salt: Always double check the expiration date of your leavening agents. I like to replace mine once they have been open for six months.
- Butter: Slightly softened butter helps it to whip and mix together without heating it too much.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar, or white sugar, is the key to the slightly sweetened finish. You will also need powdered sugar for the frosting.
- Eggs: Large eggs, at room temperature.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract is used in both the cake and the frosting. You can also opt for vanilla bean if you have it on hand!
- Lemon: Use fresh lemons. You will need juice and zest. Try to use a fine grater for the zest to keep the pieces smaller.
- Coconut: Specifically, coconut milk. I buy canned coconut milk and use it in both the cake and the frosting.
- Lemon Curd: I found a store bought lemon curd but you could easily make your own. Either way you will love the end results of this lemon cake recipe!
How To Reduce Coconut Milk
The star of the frosting is the coconut. I did not want to use an extract, which made it a little tricky to achieve a bold flavor. The fix? Reducing coconut milk to enhance the flavor!
- Place your coconut milk in a small pot.
- Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the milk has reduced by half.
- Make sure you mix it throughout the process to avoid burning.
The lemon curd filling is what ties the cupcake and frosting together. DO NOT SKIP IT. While it might sound intimidating, there is a quick and easy way to fill your cupcakes that will take less than five minutes!
I always suggest starting with quality room temperature ingredients. When I say quality, what I mean is this… Use real vanilla extract, get a decent coconut milk (none of this reduced fat version), and fresh eggs. Making sure that the ingredients are at room temperature ensures that they will incorporate evenly giving you a smooth batter that is beautiful when baked.
Mix it low and slow. While it may be tempting to turn the mixer speed up, try to keep it on the slower speeds. This will help keep just the right amount of air in your batter and produce that light and fluffy cake we are hoping for.
Let them cool completely before you add filling and frosting.
I used an Ateco 825 which has a large base.
THAT is what you are going to want. The bigger the better. That will determine the size of our cupcake center giving you lots of room for fillings.
Place the back of the tip onto your cupcake and twist it down until you think you are at the middle.
Twist back up and you should end up with the center of the cupcake pulling right out.
Use a spoon to fill your cupcake with whatever filing you desire.
Place the top back on and gently press down.
For a full step by step tutorial with images visit this post.
Lemon Coconut Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- Lemon Curd
For the frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup coconut milk *reduced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
For the cupcakes:
- Line one muffin tin with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small measuring cup. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream with the paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- Add the dry ingredients alternating with the coconut milk. Mix on low until fully incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the 12 prepared cupcake liners, about 3/4 full. Bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Remove the middle of your cupcake using a pairing knife or back of a piping tip. Fill with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd. Replace the removed cupcake middle and gently press down.
For the frosting:
- Pour the coconut milk into a medium sized pot. Heat to a boil. Reduce to low heat. Cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until your milk has reduced to about half. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
- Cream together the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment.
- Scrape the vanilla bean, or add the vanilla extract along with the reduced coconut milk. Whip until your desired consistency has formed.
- Frost cupcakes.