Tag Archives: lime

I’m nuts for coco… and lime! Vegan (Gluten Free!) cupcakes

29 Mar

I’m back with another recipe, this time something a little different! They’re sweet and moist and oh-so delightful. They can be enjoyed with or without the decadent topping. And best of all, almost everyone can enjoy them because they’re egg free, nut free, dairy free, vegan and can even be gluten free (like my second batch) – Coconut and Lime cupcakes.


I just finished a season with Opera Queensland, working on Rigoletto, and we do all love snacks in the wig and makeup room. And as I love to bake, I thought a batch of cuppycakes would go down a treat while we packed everything away. Problem is, I bake old school…. hell I EAT old school. I eat meat and dairy 7 days a week, and while I’m quite accustomed to Gluten Free baking now, and have made many a vegetarian meal, I’ve never ventured to the Vegan side. But seeing as one of the other wonderful makeup artists is Vegan, another being Vego, I wanted us all to enjoy the treaties. And thus the journey to Vegan baking began.

I wasn’t too phased by using unconventional wet ingredients (like coconut oil) in the cakes themselves, what I was genuinely concerned about was the icing. I’ve seen some disastrous Vegan icings and if there’s one thing I don’t do, is ugly cakes. And after several failed batches of Vegan marshmallows 2 weeks ago, I was a bit put off. So began the research, and the testing. The most common thread with the icings was a switch from butter to vegetable shortening. It seems in America, a vegan baker has a wide selection of vegetable shortenings at his or her disposal. But here in Aus, we really only have one option… You might remember this little beauty from such events as ‘your 5th birthday party’. Gets around as a scary looking hard block in very eighties packaging… have you guessed yet?

Copha! Featured as the binding ingredient in chocolate crackles since the dawn of man, I never knew it was coconut solids. I tell ya, baking is all about the learning, kids! It is technically a vegetable shortening, but it is so incredibly hard until it’s melted there’s no way I thought it would work in an icing. Particularly after reading many online bakers condemn it as it won’t soften enough. Well I called bullshit and tried that little block of 100% fat, and it was BRILLIANT!!! And far cheaper than purchasing a softer vegetable shortening imported by a cake decorator supply store. Also, unlike buttercream, icing made with copha stays snow white. So now we’ve got that little doozy sorted, let’s get on to the recipe.


1/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (not essence!)
1 tbs fresh lime zest
1 cup plain all purpose flour (can also use a Gluten Free plain flour mix, I like Orgran)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup dessicated coconut


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over very low heat
  3. In a bowl mix together the caster sugar and melted coconut oil.  Add the coconut milk, soy milk, vanilla extract and lime zest.  Mix to combine ingredients.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix until smooth.
  5. Mix in the coconut to incorporate then fill cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake for 23 to 27 minutes until the top bounces back when touched and a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely before icing.



1/2 cup copha
1 & 1/2 cups icing sugar (NOT icing mixture)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp fresh lime zest
Soy milk to soften (approx 2 Tbsp)


  1. Heat the copha in a microwave for 15 to 25 seconds, just to soften slightly – don’t let it liquefy fully!!
  2. Beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes then add the lime juice.
  3. Add the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat for 5 minutes in between additions.
  4. Mix in a dash of the milk each time the icing gets too thick. This step is really up to you and how you want to use the icing. I like to pipe mine and have it hold shape well so I used approx 2 Tbsp of milk in total.
  5. Add the lime zest and mix to incorporate.
  6. Ice cakes, dress with toasted coconut chips and enjoy.

These are super light, moist and very delicious but they are in NO way a healthy alternative to regular cupcakes thanks in full to the high amount of coconut involved.  Next time I’m going to try making these choc by omitting the lime and adding cacao powder instead, or perhaps orange zest and poppyseeds for another fresh alternative. And remember, just use normal plain flour if yours don’t need to be GF, the results are even better. Mmmmm the possibilities ^_^