Coconut Ginger Lime Cupcakes

January 25th, 2012  |  Cakes & Cupcakes, Fruit, Sweets  |  0 Comments

I love coconut--its one of my favorite foods.  I love it on shrimp.  I love it on chicken.  I love it in chocolate chip cookies.  I love it in pina coladas. I love it in ice cream.  I love the flavor of coconut in my rice cooked with coconut milk.  I love the flavor of snap peas cooked in coconut oil.  I love my morning coffee served with coconut creamer (have you tried the Coffee Mate Coconut Creme yet?  It's the most processed thing I put in my body and I know its awful, but I CANNOT give it up no matter how hard I try--its so addicting and delicious)  But most of all, I love a dreamy coconut layer cake with fluffy white frosting and loads and loads of coconut inside and all around the outside.  The kind of cake whereby I've often been found hunched over the kitchen island, fork in hand, eyes closed {and simultaneously rolling up into my head} finishing off the last quarter of the cake that wasn't eaten at whatever celebration I'd made it for.  Yeah, its happened.  More than once.  Probably more than twice.  Stop judging me.

Sooooo, when we were invited to a crab boil last weekend at some friends' house and were asked to bring something for dessert, I really wanted to make something with coconut because I think it pairs really well with seafood.  I thought about just doing a batch of plain coconut cupcakes, but then remembered I had some ginger leftover from my Asian noodle dish and the kids had just brought in several fresh limes off the tree in our backyard....and so were born these mini cupcakes.  They ended up being fantastic!  In fact, several people dove into them before they ever even got going on the pounds and pounds of crab claws, clams, lobster tails that were being served at the party!  So many people asked for the recipe and were shocked to hear how easy they were to make.  So here goes....


1 box white cake mix
3 egg whites
1 cup coconut milk {I use light}
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup crystallized ginger
1 1/2 cups sweetened and shredded coconut, divided

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese {half of one bar}, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
zest and juice of one lime

2/3 cup toasted coconut
candied ginger, for garnish


For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 325 True Convection setting, or bake at 350 if your oven does not have that feature.  {I'm using the True Convection setting because I am doing 2-3 trays of miniature cupcakes and want to ensure even cooking of the cupcakes.}

Spread out about 1 cup of the coconut on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for about 5-7 minutes.  Watch coconut carefully so that it doesn't get too brown too quickly.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Put the ginger in a food processor with a handful of the toasted coconut and pulse until the ginger is chopped fine.  {If you don't want to use a food processor, you can chop the ginger with a knife but it tends to get really sticky and clumpy}.  Zest one lime and add the zest to the coconut ginger mixture and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites for about 1 minute until frothy.  Add in the coconut milk, sour cream and butter and continue beating for another minute.  Add in the cake mix and beat for about 1 1/2-2 minutes.

Mix in the lime zest, ginger and coconut mixture and stir until well combined.  Line a mini cupcake pan with cupcake liners and fill each one about 2/3 full.  Bake mini cupcakes for about 15-17 minutes {regular sized cupcakes will take about 5 minutes longer to cook}.  When a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean, cupcakes are ready.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.


For the frosting:

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and continue mixing until incorporated.  Add the lime juice, zest and vanilla and continue mixing for another minute until the frosting looks light and fluffy.

Fill a pastry bag {or ziplocking bag} with the frosting and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.   If you don't want to mess with the pastry bag, you can spread the frosting on with a knife or spoon.  Piping the frosting allows you to get more height to the cupcake before rolling it in the coconut.

Mix the other 1/2 cup of coconut in with the remaining toasted coconut.  Roll each iced cupcake into the coconut mixture and top with a sliver of candied ginger.  Yum!


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