It was time to celebrate … My sister-in-law had just completed the very last exam of many in the long years of training to become a medical doctor, now general practitioner. Typically, she was acting like it was ‘no big deal’ but we knew better, so we gathered round to help her celebrate. Lunch with the family, and then a walk in the park, alternately spotting koalas and sheltering from the rain. The only hint that the day was at all significant was her throwaway line, “The first day of the rest of my life”.
As it so happens, the in-laws have a very productive quarter-acre block, and we came home with a bag of citrus. Every winter I seem to add a new citrus recipe to the blog, and this year is no different, though the recipe may seem familiar. There is something to be said about re-visiting an old recipe. I’ve done it before, and I’ll probably do it again. You get so familiar with a recipe, that it’s just a simple matter of taking one thing out and adding another, and before you know it, there’s a new take on a classic.
These cupcakes are that. They are a riff on my gluten-free Lime and Coconut Cake, which I’ve wanted to make with buttermilk for a long time, but not had the opportunity. They are also topped with a luscious vegan buttercream, a step up from my previous lime glaze. Don’t get me wrong; I love a good glaze. But buttercream just takes these babies to a new level – at least it does when one can operate a piping bag (I’m still working on that, okay?)! Cupcakes for the first day of the rest of your life – today.
Gluten-free Lime and Coconut Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
80g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
170g (¾ cup) caster (super-fine) sugar
50g (½ cup) almond meal (almond flour)
½ cup sorghum flour
150g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) gluten-free (or regular) flour
1 teaspoon baking (bicarb) soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon flax seed meal
187ml (¾ cup) plant milk
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
50g (¼ cup) coconut oil, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons aquafaba
3 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Lime buttercream icing
120g (½ cup) vegan butter or margarine, softened at room temperature
210g (1 ½ cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
5 to 6 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon finely grated lime zest
Toasted coconut and slices of fresh lime, to serve
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.
Zest and juice two limes. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice to plant milk and allow to sit until curdled (soured), about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix lime zest with sugar and rub in with your fingertips until the oils are released. Set aside.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and then add soured milk, coconut oil, aquafaba plus lime zest and sugar. Stir until well combined. Spoon into muffin tins and place in oven, reducing temp to 180C/350F as you do. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until risen and lightly golden brown. Allow to cool in tins for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
For the buttercream, place softened margarine in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat until creamy. Gradually beat in the icing sugar. Slowly beat in the lime juice until it reaches desired consistency. Continue mixing until the icing becomes thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the zest and mix to distribute.
Top cooled cupcakes with buttercream and decorate with toasted coconut and wedges of lime. Serve immediately!