Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 9, 2011: Coconut lime cupcakes

Recently my dear and distant friend Katy gave me Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.  This proves her to be both generous and clever - the cookbook is by Post Punk Kitchen's Isa Chandra Mockowitz and Terry Hope Romero, authors of other such favourites as Viva Vegan, Vegan Brunch and Veganomicon.  (This gift idea was no doubt sparked by the delightful baking day we had last time Katy travelled south to visit me.)

I was so excited to receive it in the post that I seriously considered making something that very night, which was a terrible idea (I had other foods and chores to attend to).  But I made a point of trying it out the very next weekend, choosing the coconut lime cupcakes both because they looked wonderful and because I had limes and shredded coconut to use up.  I did a fair bit of adapting to suit our situation:
  • halving the cake recipe to avoid mega-gluttony
  • reducing the icing quantity to a third - I just don't dig the towers of fluff used on the modern cupcake
  • the limes were looking pretty sad, so no zest and no pretty lime slice garnishes
  • no coconut extract
  • all margarine, no shortening in the icing (BTW - can any Aussies recommend a vegan shortening? I've never used it)
This yielded five large-ish cupcakes that suited my preferences well.  While the cake batter started out  an unappetising grey, it baked up with a pleasing golden crust and dense crumb; the icing wasn't excessive and had plenty of tartness.

I'm not the kinda gal to go gaga over the miniature, the cutesy or the fussy, but this first foray into Vegan Cupcakes hints that I'll have no trouble enjoying such things on my own terms.

Coconut lime cupcakes
(adapted from a recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

2 tablespoons coconut oil
3/8 cup raw sugar
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/3 cup margarine
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

coconut flakes, to garnish

Preheat an oven to 180°C and add some cupcake liners to a muffin pan (I used 5).

Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat.  When it's completely liquid, transfer it to a mixing bowl.  Stir in the sugar, followed by the coconut milk, soy milk and vanilla.  Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, mixing everything until smooth.  Fold through the shredded coconut.

Spoon the cake batter into the cupcake liners and bake the cupcakes until golden on top and cooked through (you know the skewer test, right?), about 20 minutes.  Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing them.

To prepare the icing, beat together the margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and lime juice and beat a whole lot more - at least 5 minutes.  Spread the icing onto the cooled cupcakes and garnish them with the flaked coconut.


  1. I've subbed copha for shortening for another of their recipes. Seemed to work ok but it was hard to get the lumps out. Pretty easy to find in Coles, Woolies etc.

    These look super yum, I have the book and have not used it half as much as I should!

  2. Would using your coconut oil in the solid state work as a vegan shortening sub? Might be easier to work with than copha, which is hydrogenated? I keep meaning to try a batch of my mum's coconut rough subbing butter with solid coconut oil to make a vegan version, I've got a feeling it will do the trick perfectly.

  3. Yeah, Copha or solid coconut oil. Copha would be a bit more solid at room temp because it's been hydrogenated, but the latter would be healthier for the same reasons (they're both solely from coconut fat, too, so would both be particularly suited to this cupcake).

  4. (If you're doing something where the coconut flavour wouldn't work, you could also try cocoa butter, as it's also quite solid at room temperature.)

  5. So you put the lime in the coconut? ;) I just made a raw lime dessert with coconut in it too, so I'm all over this flavour combination right now. Definitely agree with your choice to cut down on the icing, as I often find icing overwhelming on cupcakes!

  6. I noticed that a lot of the cupcake recipes in VCTOTW use shortening so I hunted down Crisco from It's a bit expensive but more economical than using nuttlex. And yes it's vegan, totally plant based :)

  7. Wow... that looks amazingly good.. I'm a recent convert of cupcakes.. and since my cupcake recipe books just arrived in the mail, I might attempt this.. or actually.. I might make this into an ice-cream! I'll keep you posted on that project :)

  8. QuantumPainter, AOF & Joanna - thanks for your thoughts on copha and coconut oil. I was actually hoping to use coconut oil on this occasion but had problems getting the solid stuff out of a squeezy bottle, no time to melt and re-solidify it... a bit of a mess really.

    QuantumPainter - I know exactly what it looks like, plenty of chocolate crackles in my childhood. ;-)

    AOF - love the idea of using it in coconut rough. Another childhood favourite of mine.

    Joanne - I've never cooked with cocoa butter before! Where do you get it?

    Hannah - yes, yes and yes. :-D

    Anon - thanks for pointing me to USA Foods (which I still haven't visited after years of wanting to). I received a hilarious couple of tweets from ZuckerBaby, saying that in Sydney Crisco is most easily accessed from sex shops where it's sold as lube.

    MsIHua, you've got a lot of fun ahead of you, I see! I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with. :-)

  9. And Joanne, sorry for that 'Joanna' typo. I think regular contact with Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe has affected my typing. :-D

  10. I buy Melrose (Melbourne based company) coconut oil, it come in a jar so can scoop out with a spoon. They have refined and unrefined versions but I can't really tell the difference.

    If you are looking for coconut rough recipes - I'm 99% sure that my super rich adaptation can be veganised without compromising flavour/texture by swapping butter for semi-solid coconut oil. For a less rich version there's also a copy of mum's original recipe.

  11. AOF - thanks for returning with your recipe! I have used Melrose coconut oil in the past and been very happy with it. Lately, though, I have had some issues with the taste of my coconut oil... I'm wondering if it goes rancid if left too long in the cupboard? (Especially in summer when it's often in its liquid state.)