Last year I volunteered to bake some cupcakes as a raffle prize for a local project called The Green Space, god knows what I was thinking I’ve never baked under pressure before- just enjoyment! Non the less I was committed. It seemed sensible to stay on theme and create something green, but personally I am not a fan of over using food colouring or garish decorations so I looked to naturally green flavours – limes! A very pleasing shade of green, tasty and fairly versatile I settled with them as my green element and to break up the flavour and to make these a little more special for the raffle I decided to make the cakes coconut flavour – at the time I was a bit coconut mad!
I was very pleased how they turned out and I made extras which I took to my niece’s birthday party for the adults along with 40 kiddie friendly fairy cakes I also baked and decorated the same night! (phew!). All went down very well.
What I like about these most, is how simple they actually are to make but they really stand out and look special. I hope you enjoy this flavour combo as much as I do.
Ingredients (makes 9 big cupcakes or 12 fairy cakes)
You can half, double or even triple the ingredients as you need
For the Cupcakes
Self raising flour 120g sifted
Unsalted butter, baking fat or margarine 120g softened
Caster sugar 100g
Eggs 2 medium lightly beaten
Milk 2-3 tbsp
Desiccated coconut 40g
Lime zest of one line finely grated
Vanilla extract or bean paste 1tsp
For the frosting and decoration
Unsalted butter 150g cubed and softened
Icing sugar 350g sifted
Milk 1 tbps
Vanilla extract or bean paste 1/2 tsp
Lime juice of 1-2 limes freshly squeezed
Toasted desiccated coconut 3-4 tbps
Lime segments – slices quartered or candied limes
- Oven – Pre-heat the oven gas mark 4 (180 degrees c) and line a fairy cake or muffin tin with paper cases (be sure to opt for a colour that will work well with the cream icing and green limes)
- Sugar and butter – Beat the sugar and butter on a medium speed until fluffy and pale using a stand or hand mixer. Don’t rush this bit it really makes a difference to the texture and fluffiness of your cakes
- Eggs and flour – Add the vanilla extract to your eggs and add the eggs a little at a time following each bit by a spoonful of the sifted flour, beating as you go. Now reduce the speed of your mixed a litter and add in the rest of the flour
- Coconut and lime zest– fold in the coconut and lime zest with a metal spoon
- Milk – add the milk a little at a time to loosen the mixture a bit, you may not need to use all of it
- Bake – on the middle shelf for 10-15 mins or until just brown on top and a skewer comes out clean. Transfer them onto a wire cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before decorating. If not decorating until later or the next day, store them in an airtight container
Toasted Desiccated Coconut
While the oven is still on turn it up to about gas mark 6. Spread a thin and even layer of coconut flakes on a clean or lined baking sheet. Place int he oven for 5-8 mins regularly moving the coconut around the tray to stop the edges burning. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled you can store in an airtight container for a few weeks.
The Lime buttercream
- Sugar and Butter Cream the butter well using the whisk attachment on a stand or hand mixer
- Milk and Vanilla – whisk in the milk and vanilla until well combined. You should have a fairly stiff but fluffy buttercream at this stage
- Lime juice – while the mixer is running, slowly pour the lime juice into the buttercream until you get the ideal piping texture and a good lime zing. (you can thicken or loosen with a little more icing sugar or lime juice as needed until you get a firm but malleable buttercream
You can store this in the fridge if not using it straight away, but you will need to bring it to room temperature before piping.
If you are using fresh lime to decorate I would recommend decorating a few hours before serving if possible so the lime doesn’t shrivel up – be warned you can’t just add the limes later because your buttercream will have developed a sugar crust and you limes and toasted coconut wont stay in place.
Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a medium wide open star nozzle of your choice and pipe the buttercream in a small but tall peak by working in a circular motion from the outside in.
Gently push your lime segments in the buttercream on a slant and sprinkle with a little toasted desiccated coconut… and voila! You have some damn pretty cakes to share with your nearest and dearest…or not if you prefer!