Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coconut Chiffon Cupcakes & Lime Curd

Remember how I said I was suffering baker's block? One thing I tend to do when I'm lacking inspiration is look at what's left in my fridge and then browse my favourite recipe websites for ideas. And I have to say, it worked like a charm this time. I may be completely short of ideas, but somehow I managed to whip up some amazing little coconut chiffon cakes with lime curd and coconut buttercream.
Now that I've finally gotten over my fear of baking sponge and chiffon cakes, there's no turning back. I love how light, moist and versatile it is. I've had this coconut chiffon cake recipe bookmarked for some time and I had all these limes waiting to be used (they were on special!). However instead of making a giant cake, I decided to make some petite cupcakes, filled in the centre with a dollop of that rich, creamy lime curd. I then whipped up a lovely coconut Swiss meringue buttercream, a little different from the original recipe but it was just what the cupcakes needed.
I was a little apprehensive at first as the recipe used a lot of coconut essence, which I tend to find has a very artificial, unpleasant aftertaste. But it turns out that there's just the right amount of it used in this recipe to give you the heady aroma of coconut as you bite into the cake. I love how reliable all the GT recipes are. Lime and coconut are two things that are just meant to be together forever, and the lime curd is so rich and thick that you only need a tiny amount with these fluffy, super soft cakes to make them perfect.
The only thing I wasn't sure about was whether or not to toast the flakes of coconut that went on top. In the end I went with untoasted because I love its snowflake-like appearance, but I can imagine the toasted coconut would have tasted great. Please make these, they will make you (and the people you feed them to) extra happy.
Coconut Chiffon Cupcakes, Lime Curd & Coconut Buttercream
(makes 12-15 cupcakes, adapted from this Gourmet Traveller recipe)
170g (about 1 heaped cup) plain flour, sieved
125g (about 1/2 cup) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
115ml water
65ml (about 1/4 cup) vegetable oil
4 eggs, separated
1 1/4 tsp coconut essence
Pinch of cream of tartar
30ml (1 1/2 tbsp) Malibu (optional)

For the lime curd:
60g butter
40g caster sugar
40 ml lime juice (about 2 limes), plus rind of ½ lime, finely grated
3 egg yolks
½ titanium-strength gelatine leaf, softened in cold water for 5 minutes

For the coconut buttercream:
130 g (about 1/2 cup) caster sugar
3 eggwhites
150g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp coconut essence
To serve: shredded coconut (can be toasted)
(If you're new to making Swiss meringue buttercream, these wonderful tutorials from two of my favourite bloggers will help)

Prepare the lime curd first; whisk butter, sugar, lime juice and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until combined and smooth, then stir occasionally until thick (3-6 minutes), make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't get lumpy. Stir in lime rind and remove from heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine, add to curd, stir to dissolve. Cover closely with plastic wrap, set aside to cool, refrigerate until set.

Preheat oven to 165°C (330°F). Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Whisk in water, vegetable oil, egg yolks and coconut essence until smooth. Whisk eggwhites and cream of tartar in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form, fold one-third through flour mixture, then fold remaining eggwhites into flour mixture. Pour equal amounts into a 12 hole (I ended up making 15 as my papers were small) cupcake or muffin tin lined with baking papers, then bake until cakes are golden and a skewer withdraws clean (18-20 minutes; don’t be concerned if cakes crack a little). Cool cakes gradually by first turning off the oven a couple of minutes before they are done, then remove them from the oven and cool in tin for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack completely. Brush with Malibu (I didn't have Malibu so I skipped this step and added an extra 1/2 tsp of coconut essence to the cake batter) and use a spoon or a knife to scoop a small amount of cake from the centre of each. Fill each hole with lime curd, about 2 tsp each.

Prepare the buttercream; place egg whites and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl and whisk together. Place over a small saucepan of simmering water, attach a sugar thermometer and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer on high until cooled and thick, about 3 minutes. Continue whisking on high, adding a tablespoon of butter at a time until it is combined. Add coconut essence and whisk until combined. If the mixture is runny at this point, chill for about 5 minutes and then beat until stiff. (The mixture may look like it has split, but keep whisking and it will come together eventually) Spread or pipe over cupcakes and sprinkle a pinch of coconut over the top of each. Can be stored in an airtight container for about 2 days.
P.S. Thanks to Meaghan from Cupcake House who sent me these gorgeous cupcake wrapper samples something like two years ago! I've been saving them for just the right cupcake :)
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  1. Looks absolutely delicious! Love the mix of flavors: I always try lemon curd but next time, I'll definitely try your lime curd!

  2. your cupcake are so amazing!! this is a great idea for baking during summer, no need to spend much time around the oven. Thank you for sharing, for sure I will try to make this for next week party.

  3. Yum! They look so pretty :) lime and coconut is a destined duo - so good together :)

  4. Steph, absolutely beautiful and I am sure delicious creation. I only wish I can bake whenever I see pretty things like this.

  5. The colour of the wrappers is gorgeous and really goes with the coconut lime flavours (nto that you'd eat the wrapper, but you get the idea!)

  6. OOoh! Thanks for the recipe! I've been wondering what else I could do with the limes that I bought from the markets!

  7. just looking at your cupcakes makes me happy

  8. Love your blog, these cakes look fantastic in those wrappers. I'm going to attempt your Milo cake this weekend and then wait for my kids to give me a medal!

  9. Oh yum - they look great! I made the cheesecake with the yoghurt on top last night and it totally killed it at mothers group this morning. Even the lady who doesn't eat cheesecake enjoyed it. Thanks dude!

  10. SIgh, these look like sunshine and summer... I absolutely love limes so I'm crying for one of these cupcakes.

  11. These look so bright and sunny on such a cold wintery day! I've had my eye on this recipe for ages too, looks like I'll have to give it a try one day :)

  12. Love it! I can see why it was so hard to resist... =)

  13. wow these look good. im drooling over here!

  14. The way you mix flavours is amazing, such an inspiration.

  15. These look really yummy! I love the flavor of lime

  16. Um hi, I'll be right over. Thanks.

  17. What a beautiful bite of summertime! I love the composition of your final photo as well. Yum!

  18. Great blog, your photos are so beautiful and wonderfully composed. The cupcakes sound wonderful, too :)

  19. omg these are mouthwatering...i need some

  20. I told myself that I was not going to add anything else to the 'Must Make' list this week. Just like when I saw the Popcorn Macarons! Plan B. Have to put these on the must make list. They look so fantastic.

  21. I love chiffon cakes - so light and airy, they always disappear into thin air around me. lol. These sound deliciously tropical.

  22. delish.

    that would complement well with my green tea :)

  23. These are nothing short of gorgeous!Coconut and lime are just so delicious together.

  24. Looks lovely. I'm sure it's yummy too 

  25. I love limes, and the thought of lime curd right now is making me drool--not to mention the effects of your great photography. Thanks for sharing!

  26. So CUTE!!!

    I love your photos the little cakes look so delicate and delicious!

    Great post :)

  27. christelle is flabbergasting - Ooh you should definitely try lime curd! I find it's a lot more intense

    Mom's the little one - That's so true! I think I'll definitely have to make these again when the weather warms up :)

    Christine - So true! Match made in heaven :D

    Bee | Rasa Malaysia - Thank you Bee! And I wish I could be as talented a cook as you!

    Two fit and fun gals - Thanks!

    OohLookBel - Aren't the wrappers adorable? As soon as I spotted them on my shelf I knew these would be the best use for them!

    Mary - You are very welcome! :)

    Caffeine - Thanks Liam :D

    chocolatesuze - :D sunshine lollipops and rainbows everywhere!

    Red - Thanks so much! Hope you liked the milo cake!

    Jane - Thanks! YAY so glad you liked the cheesecake recipe! Awesome stuff :D

    Karen | C&C - Hah yeah I seem to be channeling summer even though I love winter! I'll eat them anytime of the year though <3

    Lisa - You should totally give it a try! Gotta love GT

    Colores - Thank you!

    angie - Hahaha yes! Though my willpower prevailed and I gave away the last one to a friend :)

    Krystie - Thanks!

    KitchenTherapy - Aww shucks! You can't go wrong with lime and coconut!

    Kathleen - Same here!

    Shauna - Hahaha no probs ;)

    Amy - Aww thanks so much!

    Eva - Thank you! Cupcakes are one of my favourite things to photograph, they look good no matter what!

    kimberlycun - heehee you should make them!

    I Sing In The Kitchen - haha I do that all the time! I hope you do try them!

    Helen (Grab Your Fork) - Same here! I don't know if I can appreciate regular cake as much anymore!

    Dolly - Thanks, I'm sure it would

    Two fit and fun gals - Thank you!

    LimeCake - Agreed! Love the combo :)

    shaz - Thanks! they were very yummy :D

    Rachelle - Lime curd is awesome! Aww thanks!!

    GourmetGetaways - Heehee :D thank you!

  28. Just made this yesterday for my cousins birthday, and it was absolutely delicious! ;D Everyone loved them and raved about them, they weren't too sweet and had just the right flavors. Obviously, they disappeared quite quickly, much to my dismay. But I'll probably make another batch of these later this week when I have time.
    Thanks for posting, it's the perfect summer treat! ;D


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