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My lovely friend S was hosting a picnic for her 30th birthday. I offered to bring some cupcakes along and decided to do some experimenting to make a flourless lime cupcake. I reasoned that I could simply tweak my classic flourless orange cupcake recipe and top with a zesty coconut frosting to make a little slice of tropical goodness.

Thankfully I had the foresight to start my tweaking the day before the party, because the first batch were an unmitigated disaster. I did some research online and found the method I usually use could also be used for lemons. I naturally assumed this would work for limes too, so I started by boiling up the limes for a couple of hours, then blitzed them in the food processor with the sugar, almond meal, eggs and baking powder.


Unfortunately, the lime rind didn’t breakdown the way that I had hoped. In fact, it took on a leathery consistency and refused completely to break down. After some time blitzing it in the food processor to no avail, I decided to pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the rind.


Looks appetising doesn’t it?

With the rind removed, I tasted the mixture. There was a great limey flavour, which was mellowed and almost sweet from the fact that the lime had been cooked. Unfortunately, there was a really bitter, horrible finish, which I think was from the pith. I baked up a couple of test cupcakes and hoped the bitterness would be removed miraculously in the cooking process. It wasn’t and these went straight into the bin.

So I stated all over again, this time working with lemon zest and juice. I tasted and tweaked until I ended up with a not-too-sweet but sufficiently limey cupcake base. With the frosting, I started with a recipe I found online but completely reworked it, using less than half the sugar and correspondingly less coconut essence.


The end result? Totally worth all the work. The cupcake was moist with a great lime flavour and none of the bitterness of the previous batch. The frosting was creamy, coconutty and perfectly matched to the cupcake.

I also baked a batch of Thomas Keller’s vanilla vanilla cupcakes and while these are pretty awesome in their own right, the lime coconut cupcakes were hands down the favourite of the day. I’ll definitely be making these again. Yum!


Flourless lime cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting

For the cupcakes:
zest of 4 limes
juice of 3 limes
400g ground almonds
a pinch of salt
250 g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs
For the frosting:

75g butter, room temperature
165g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp coconut essence
1.5 cups icing sugar

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
  • Zest then juice the limes.


  • Place the zest, juice, almond meal, salt, sugar and baking powder in a food processor and blitz to combine.


  • Add in the eggs one at a time, blitzing between each addition.


  • Spoon the mixture into the cupcake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until cooked through.


  • Cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, combine the butter , cream cheese, coconut essence and sifted icing sugar in an electric mixer and beat until smooth and thick. If the mixture is not thick enough to pipe, beat for an extra couple of minutes.
  • Pipe on to the cooled cupcakes and top with a candy flower.


  • Enjoy!


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11 Responses to “Tropical cupcakes: flourless lime with coconut cream cheese frosting”

  1. Hannah says:

    Ah! I’ve actually been considering reinterpreting a whole-boiled-orange-pureed cake with limes, so am very grateful that you tried it first and have been able to help me avoid making the same mistake πŸ™‚ See? Silver lining to your troubles πŸ˜‰

    ‘Course, I shall never be able to decorate anything as well as you do…

    • Emily says:

      Silver lining indeed. It made total sense in my head but was such a disaster.. and tasted so bad!

      Let me know how your alternate flourless lime cakes go!

  2. Wow these look unbelievable!! I love any kind of cake which Is flourless.

    • Emily says:

      Yep I love flourless cakes too – works for me as I am wheat free, but they are so lovely and moist as well. Can’t wait to make them again!

  3. Love the icing and the piping work. Will grab frosting recipe…. use some of the limes left in my garden.

    • Emily says:

      You grow your own limes? Awesome. I have a kaffir lime tree which I kind of ignore but still seems to flourish. I also have a lemon and an orange tree but neither have bore any fruit yet!

      The frosting tastes quite strong on its own but is mellowed when it is on the limey cake. Look forward to hearing how you go!

  4. Great work on conquering the lime, your cupcakes look and sound so dreamy! I had similar experimental trouble trying to substitute oranges with limes. Let’s just say glace` lime doesn’t exist for a very good reason *shudder*

  5. Louise says:

    Whenever I have used those cupcake cases I have had to slip a second clean one on for presentation because the colour fades and they look bleh. How have you kept yours looking so nice?

    • Emily says:

      Hmm I’m not sure how they stayed clean! Sometimes I have found that they fade or look funny after baking – particularly if the cupcake has a dark base. I think in this instance it was just luck!

  6. Louise says:

    Hmm, I wonder if you have stumbled on some almond meal = clean cupcake case formula?! Plan to give these a whirl tomorrow, will report back if it happened to me too.

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