What? How can you not like lemon? What do you have against coconut?
I was so full of questions when one too many coworkers turned down these lemon-coconut confections last Friday. I couldn’t comprehend how the same people who literally run at the first sight of sub-par leftover catering, could say no to free dessert made by theirs truly. Lemon, cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut, what’s not to like? I never got a satisfying answer.
I’m as big a fan of chocolate and vanilla as the next guy, but they can be pretty boring and predictable as far as cupcake flavors go. I wanted to make something different, something that said summer, something that properly honored my coworker/birthday girl. I knew for a fact that she, like any sane person, loved coconut, and so I decided on these.
The decision came easy, I based them off of my favorite cupcake from DC’s Red Velvet Cupcakery; the baking not so much. It took two tries and several recipe adjustments before I got it right. The first batch was a complete disaster, and those cupcakes have been omitted from this post. You’re left with these beauties instead.
I realize now that people are entitled to their own tastes and opinions. It’s possible that at the time, my sleep-deprived self took the rejection a little too personally. So a few people turned up their noses at the sight of lemon and coconut, it happens. Deep down I knew I was taking a risk when I put coconut on top of every cupcake. It was a risk I was willing to take.
All in all, the naysayers were in the minority. Everyone else including the birthday girl seemed please, and I hope the same goes for you. Recipes below.
- 5 egg whites, room temperature
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 lemons, zested
- 1/2 tsp lemon extract
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, but any salt will do
- 1-2 drops yellow food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with liners
- In a small bowl, mix egg whites, a 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon extract. Set aside.
- In mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Slowly add in egg white mixture. Beat in remaining buttermilk.
- Mix in yellow food coloring to give it a nice lemony yellow color.
- Fill liners half full and bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Transfer to wire rack to cool.
- 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- In bowl of a stand mixer, mix cream cheese and heavy cream at low speed until combined.
- Slowly add powdered sugar, followed by vanilla and salt, beat for 2-3 minutes or until you get the consistency you're looking for.
- Frost cupcakes and if you want to do what I did, dip frosted cupcakes into shredded sweetened coconut.