Coconut-Lime Cupcakes with Cucumber-Lime Buttercream: Who Says You Can’t Have Vegetables for Dessert?

coconut-lime-cucumber cupcakes So a few days ago, I had this thought about making this crazy cupcake flavor. Which is weird for me, because I don't make cupcakes. Ever. What?!  I don't, okay?  Anyway, here was the thought process. Coconut tastes much more coconutty with lime in it.  Because of that song.  (Click that link--it's the Muppets!) And cucumber and lime is great in aqua fresca, so why not in a frosting?  Why did I think all three flavors would be good together?  I just did.  I figured that the delicate green notes of the cucumber would play nicely with the mellow coconut.

Guess what? I was right! The flavor combination is an A+.  My execution?  I'd give myself a B- for the first time out.  The cake could use a little tweaking; I think it was almost too moist.  I think an angel food cake base would possibly have been a better bet.  And the frosting was a little loose.  I pureed some cucumber, but next time, I think I'd strain out a bit of the liquid before adding it.  Otherwise, with the flavors where I wanted them, I think I did pretty well.

Why am I sharing a B- recipe, you ask?  Life is too short to tweak and tweak and tinker, all the while keeping a good thing to myself.  I figure if I share this with you now, you might want to take it and run with it yourself, especially if you like the idea of the flavor combination.

So, here's what I did.  Please feel free to add your tweaks/insights/ideas down in the comments, and if you do try this combination, let me know how it went. And even if you make it just the way I did, I promise the flavor combination is a winner.

Coconut-Lime Butter Cake
I based this on a fairly straightforward white cake recipe.  A sponge of some sort might be a better bet, although this was very tasty.  It was supposed to make 12 cupcakes. It made 16.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 ounces all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • generous 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • scant 1/4 cup lime juice (I poured the coconut milk and lime juice into a liquid measure to equal one cup of liquid).

Make using the creaming method.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until done.

Cucumber Puree

  • about 3/4 cup English (seedless) cucumber, cut into chunks
  • a pinch of salt
  • zest of one lime
  • about 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Place in blender and let her rip. The puree will be very liquidy.  Like I said before, I probably should have strained it just a little to prevent the texture of the frosting from getting too thin.

Cucumber-Lime Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • about 1 pound 10x sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • cucumber puree

Cream butter until smooth.

Add the sugar and a pinch of salt and cream until as combined as possible.

Drizzle in the cucumber puree until the frosting is of spreading consistency and you can taste the flavor of the puree.  It's fairly subtle alone and much more pronounced on the cake, so just be aware of that.  the color should be a lovely pale green.

And that's what I did.  I do hope you try this flavor combination. It is excellent and certainly worth tinkering with until perfect. Not that that will stop me from happily eating these!

Have a lovely day.


  1. says

    I agree with endless tweaking. It gets old after a while…unless you’re OCD at times. Which all bakers are, right? (RIGHT?! I’m not alone…RIGHT?!….) Love this combination….Must try sometime…

  2. says

    How about this: Take that pinch of salt and salt the cucumber. Once it’s drawn out some of the moisture, just pour it off the cutting board. (Yes, I got this idea from your cucumber salad bento a few weeks ago. I’ve been making that salad ever since.)

  3. Liz says

    I am so glad I found your blog!  I was dreaming that cucumber lime would make a very good frosting for spring.  My mom and I are going to make this as a cake for Easter with green coconut grass and a bunny on top.  Thank you for the recipe!  

    • says

       I hope you really enjoy it, Liz.  Since I wrote this, I’ve been doing a lot w/coconut oil.  I’d consider subbing the butter in the cake for coconut oil for even more coconutty goodness and healthy fats. 🙂

  4. Runa Hasan says

    Is there possible that you can take pictures of the steps from the Begin to do it till the end that would help a lot.

    • says

      That’s a fair request, @runahasan:disqus . Since this version didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped, if I revisit it and do some tweaking, I will consider doing a step-by-step photo tutorial. If you just want a how to do the creaming method tutorial, I did make a video. Although not specific to this recipe, the steps are all the same. I hope you find it helpful:

  5. Pam says

    I saw this and have, in the past played with cucumber in baking, so I thought why not? I had some shredded cucumber in the freezer decided to try this. Here’s what I did:
    Increase the flour to 2 cups
    Substitute 1 cup coconut cream for the coconut milk
    Increase the baking powder to 2 tsps
    Add 1/4 tsp coconut extract to frosting

    I cut a hole the Baggie with frozen cucumber and let it drain in the sink while defrosting. I also piped the frosting in a pretty star tip and dusted the finished cupcake with sifted ground pecans; yummmm!!!


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