Lemon-Filled Coconut Cupcakes

I made these lemon-curd filled coconut cupcakes with 7-minute frosting for my lovely friend Marnie in celebration of her l’il sprout, whose much anticipated arrival is expected later this month.  Marnie is a strong contender for cutest pregnant lady ever.

I co-hosted a baby shower for her a couple of weekends ago. She opted to keep the baby’s sex a surprise, so rather than exhausting ourselves with originality, her mom and I went with classic, gender-neutral yellow as the party’s theme colour.

Yellow balloons, yellow duckies, yellow cupcakes.

These cupcakes have a double hit of coconut: sweet, creamy coconut milk as the liquid; and fragrant, nutty toasted coconut folded in. Toasting the coconut, although it is an extra bit or work, is absolutely worth the effort. It makes a huge flavour impact.

The lemon curd filling is not the traditional version. I used my no-fail method that includes thickening water with cornstarch before adding egg yolks and lemon. It’s a bit less rich, but just as tart, creamy and delicious. It’s more along the vein of lemon pudding. You may be tempted to lick the bowl clean before the cupcakes are out of the oven. Hide it in the back of your fridge.

The icing on the cake is a billowing, marshmallow-y 7-minute frosting that nudges the whole situation into tropical-lemon-meringue territory. It is also my favourite topper for moist chocolate cake.



Lemon-Filled Coconut Cupcakes with 7-Minute Frosting
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
For cupcakes:
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, separated
  • 3 cups (13.5 ounces/400 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1⅔ cups coconut milk (1-398 mL/13 oz can)
For lemon filling:
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup cold water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp (1.5 ounces) cold butter, cut in small chunks
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
For frosting:
  • 2 egg whites
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
To make cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spread coconut in a rimmed baking dish and bake until golden brown, watching very closely and shaking dish occasionally, for about 4 minutes total. Spread on a plate to cool.
  3. Prepare two 12-cup muffin tins by lining with paper liners or greasing well with butter.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in vanilla extract.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the coconut milk. Repeat, ending with the flour mixture, and beating only until incorporated. Fold in 1 cup of the cooled, toasted coconut. Reserve remaining 1 cup coconut for decorating the cupcakes.
  7. Divide batter evenly among 2 12-cup muffin tins and bake 22-25 minutes, or until top is springy when gently pressed. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely.
To make curd:
  1. Whisk corn starch into ⅓ cup of the cold water in a glass measuring cup. Transfer a medium saucepan and slowly whisk in the rest of the water. Add sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens to a gel-like consistency. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Stir a few tablespoons of the hot corn starch mixture into the egg yolks, a few drops at a time, whisking constantly. This prevents them from curdling. Whisk yolks into the remaining corn starch mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in cubes of cold butter until melted. Whisk in lemon zest and juice. Transfer to a bowl and chill until ready to use.
To make frosting:
  1. Combine all ingredients except for the vanilla in a heatproof bowl set inside a pot of rapidly simmering water. Using electric beaters, whip the egg white mixture until glossy and stiff peaks form - about 7 minutes. Lift the bowl several times during this time to ensure the simmering water is never boiling or touching the bottom of the bowl (which would cause the frosting to become grainy). Remove from heat and beat in vanilla extract. You may decorate the cupcakes while the frosting is still warm.
  2. To assemble, use a paring knife to cut a well in the centre of each cooled cupcake, about ¾ inch wide and ½ inch deep. Fill each with about 1 tbsp lemon curd, spreading it over the surface of the cupcake. Pipe or spoon the frosting on top of the lemon curd, and sprinkle with remaining toasted coconut.


  • http://www.sweetonveg.com/ Jennifer

    Yum – these look so pretty!

    • foodess

      Thanks Jennifer!

  • Amanda

    Oh my god, those sound amazing.  I love lemon.  

  • Elyse

    Beautiful! I love the lemon curd peeping out from under the frosting.  I’m bookmarking these!

  • http://www.helenshideler.com/ Helen Shideler

    Look so yummy

  • http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/ Rachel

    The lemon filling is the absolute best and makes these super pretty! :)

    • foodess

      Thank you, Rachel!! :-)

  • Jamie

    Coconut and Lemon.  My two favorite flavors combined.  YUM!!!!

  • Omeletta

    Oh, man! Lemon curd and toasted coconut are seperately two of my favorite things- but together they make me sound like Keanu Reeves (“whoa.”) :-) This looks fantastic, will definitely be saving this recipe for later! Thanks!

    • foodess

      Haha, glad you like!! :-)

  • Dani

    Oh, these are going on my to-make list for sure :)

  • Food Hunter

    these sound wonderful 

  • http://www.facebook.com/caroline.m.jordan.3 Caroline Murphy Jordan

    These sound amazing!!! I was just reading through the directions though and I’m confused about the curd… Is it an ADDITIONAL 1/3 cup of water or a portion of the 1 cup? And I don’t understand how you make that hot? And, what am I adding the cold water too? I thought it was the 1/3 cup of water with the corn starch… In the directions there’s nothing in there about keeping a portion of the cornstarch/water mixture separate until it’s too late. Or at least, for me, it was too late. :( Can you maybe spell this out for me like I’m a third grader?? Can’t wait to try!!

    Thank you!!!

    • foodess

      Hi Caroline!! You are whisking the cornstarch into 1/3 cup of the cold water first, then transferring it to a saucepan and whisking in the remaining 2/3 cup. You make it hot in the saucepan over medium heat…

      In step 9 you’re just taking a bit of the hot cornstarch mixture out of the saucepan and whisking it into the yolks to temper them so that they don’t curdle when they hit the heat. You don’t have to keep any cornstarch/water mixture separate. Hope that helps!

  • confused

    hello, this looks fantastic but recipe is unclear. Could you please separate the ingredients into frosting, lemon curd and batter so that it is easier to follow? The directions for the frosting say’ combine all ingredients but the vanilla’ which ingredients?
    thank you

    • foodess

      I’m sorry! I started using a new recipe plugin and some of the formatting was lost. Fixed now :)

      • nadia

        Thank you!!
        Appreciate you made the changes as I was really keen to make them. Great recipe.

        • foodess

          Glad you enjoyed, Nadia! :)