Lime, Coconut, Cupcakes, Buttercream…..every girls tropical dream!

Well, this girls and my DIL’s dream anyway! Before I started blogging I never ever thought of using limes in much of anything. I definitely have become more adventurous since becoming part of the food blogging community. Grumpy has been known to tell people that even if he doesn’t like everything I make, his meals are never boring! Well, I have to say his desserts aren’t either!

One dessert I made that he still talks about is the Opera Cake. Something he loved but I didn’t. Mostly because it wasn’t traditional….and I thought it was too sweet. But these cupcakes? Oh no, these aren’t too sweet. Actually, they are pretty close to perfect.

This cupcake was on the back page of the May Cooking Light issue. I knew when I saw the recipe I would be making it and went on a search for potato starch. I figured if I couldn’t find potato starch I would sub cornstarch (which I found I could do after doing some research on what I could sub). I looked in every grocery store I went in to no avail. Then I went to the local co-op and got lucky. They have Bob Mill’s products there and that is where I found my potato starch.

While I love the texture of this cupcake and absolutely adore the frosting, it is not “coconutty” enough for me. I was going to use coconut extract but didn’t have it. (mental note to add that to my next grocery list). The recipe, although called coconut cupcakes, only has two tablespoons of coconut in it. I guess that was enough for CL to call them coconut….but not for me! If you make these, and I really do think you should, please use coconut extract instead of vanilla. Don’t make any changes to the frosting. It is absolutely perfect!

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting
Cooking Light, May 2009 issue


Cooking spray
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2/3 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4.75 ounces powdered sugar, sifted (about 1 1/3 cups)

Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cupcakes, place 2 muffin cup liners in each of 12 muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended (mixture will be the consistency of damp sand). Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in coconut and vanilla.
Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool in pan 2 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare frosting, combine 3 tablespoons butter and next 3 ingredients (through juice) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating just until smooth. Spread about 2 1/2 teaspoons frosting onto each cupcake.


  1. says

    I saved this page from the magazine because they looked so good. I’m glad to hear that they are good, and thanks for the tip on the coconut extract!

  2. says

    Do you think swapping out coconut milk for the milk would be too much? You delight me with your pleasure in discovering fantastic recipes. Grins.

  3. Anonymous says

    Okay, now I need an “occasion” that calls for your strawberry cupcakes as well as this one! I called my co-op and they don’t carry potato starch, so thanks for the tip on the cornstarch sub, Shelby. Kathye

  4. says

    THIS girl would LOVE one of those little beauties, too!

    Btw, I’ve found potato starch in the Jewish section of the grocery store. I didn’t buy any as I thought it pricey and only needed 2 tbs.

  5. says

    I’ve been seeing visions of lime and coconut everywhere recently – two of my current favorite ingredients! I know it’s nowhere near as healthy but I’d probably substitute coconut milk for some of the fat-free milk; I’m addicted to the stuff!

  6. says

    I’m with you and your DIL: these cupcakes are right up my alley. I ADORE coconut. I can’t wait to try these out, and I will definitely use coconut extract (love that stuff). Delish!

  7. says

    Aw MAN, I absolutely adore coconut and lime together (I even have a coconut-lime “body butter” lotion)! I think that lime is good in SO many things! I bet these were awesome. They look great! :)

  8. says

    I just finished reading my CL issue today and thought “hmm, these look good!” when coming across this recipe…and here, you’ve already made them! I do like things that are supposed to be coconutty to taste of coconut, so when I make them, I’ll take you up on your suggestion and use coconut extract. These look pretty, great job!

  9. says

    I saw that recipe in Cooking Light also. It looks so good. I love the combo of lime and coconut. Great suggestion about the coconut extract.

  10. says

    I just made these and took your recommendation about the coconut extract. Three words about this recipe A-MAZ-ING!!! Loved them! Thank you so much for sharing! I'll be sure to point my followers back to your blog when I post this awesome find!

  11. says

    I didn’t read all the earlier comments, so forgive me if someone already mentined it… but, you can usually find potato starch in the Kosher foods section of the grocery store. Just for future reference…

    Those cupcakes look so moist and delicious! I just love CL recipes!

  12. Anonymous says

    Love these! I could use one, too, because we're supposed to get snow tomorrow. Funny! My family still talks about the Opera Cake, too!

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