Lemon Lime Coconut Cupcakes (Gluten Free, Sugar Free)

Last week was Alex’s mom’s birthday, and since I was heading home, I wasn’t able to celebrate with her.  Instead, I made some treats for her right before I left so that Alex could deliver them.  His mom is super health conscious, so I made sure to make her treats to befit her diet perfectly.  That meant they had to be gluten free and as low in sugar and cholesterol as possible.

She loves limes and coconut, so I wanted to combine the two in a cupcake.  I added some lemon, since it generally has a stronger zest from the natural oils.  Thankfully, coconut is cholesterol free, so this was super easy to make it healthy for her.  The only cholesterol in these cupcakes comes from the eggs, which is worth it, in my opinion, from all of the nutrients in the yolk.  I used Truvia (stevia and erythritol combination) and liquid stevia to keep is sugar free.

The frosting was slightly more difficult, but using the cream portion from a can of coconut milk helped to make it fluffy.  I decided to spread it on with a spatula instead of piping it so that it wasn’t overpowering the cupcakes.  Topped with some toasted coconut flakes and zest, they still make for some pretty cute cupcakes.

The flavors going on here turned out great, which I wasn’t actually sure about.  The coconut is definitely a star, with coconut flour, shredded coconut, coconut oil, and coconut milk.  The lemon and lime are subtle, which is just what I wanted.  I added lots of vanilla to give it that birthday cake flavor.  You can use vanilla bean or extract – I used beans because I just love the flecks of vanilla bean throughout the cupcakes and frosting.

These cupcakes are perfect for a spring or summer birthday.  They’re healthy enough that you can eat them anytime, or you can easily make some substitutions so that they have actual sugar.  It’s all up to you!

Do you like citrus in desserts?  What’s your favorite dessert with lemon or lime in it?

Lemon Lime Coconut Cupcakes (Gluten Free, Sugar Free)

yields about 8 cupcakes

Lemon Lime Coconut Cupcakes (Gluten Free, Sugar Free)

    For the cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 12 packets Truvia (or 1/2 cup sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp lime zest (from 1-2 limes)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (from 1-2 lemons)
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (the liquid portion of a can of coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
  • For the frosting and topping:
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (from the top of a can of coconut milk)
  • 3 packets Truvia (or 2 Tbsp sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp liquid stevia (or 2 Tbsp sugar)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • extra lemon/lime zest (optional)
For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a muffin tin with 8 cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, stir the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Set aside.

In another small bowl, stir the sugar, zest, and vanilla bean (or extract) together to meld the flavors together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy, and then add the melted coconut oil and coconut milk. Stir until smooth. Add the lemon lime vanilla sugar, stirring until well incorporated. Stir in the coconut flour mixture, and then stir in the shredded/flaked coconut.

Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each of the prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350ºF for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting/topping:

Toast the coconut flakes at 350ºF on a baking sheet for 5-8 minutes, until golden (watch it carefully so it does not burn). Allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat the coconut cream with the Truvia and liquid stevia, until light and fluffy. Add the coconut oil, and beat until fluffy. Add the vanilla bean (or extract) until well mixed.

Spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes using an offset spatula (double the recipe if you want to pipe it). Top with the toasted coconut and lemon/lime zest. Serve.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.