Yuzu is a citrus fruit that is similar to a lemon, but with a flavor that is both very zesty and very floral. Like other citrus fruits, yuzu is a wonderful addition to many different types of baked goods and these cupcakes are a simple way to showcase the flavor. The cupcakes are light and fluffy, with a generous amount of yuzu zest in them to give them a bright flavor. They’re topped with a yuzu vanilla buttercream frosting.
I only used the zest from the yuzu in these cupcakes because it really infuses a lot of flavor, saving the juice for use in the frosting. The cakes are made with cake flour, which produces a very light texture that is a good match for the yuzu. I also coconut milk in these cupcakes instead of regular milk. It helps to produce a tender crumb and also adds a slight coconut flavor, which is a nice compliment to the yuzu. You can use full fat or light coconut milk (I used light coconut milk) in these, as well. The coconut milk itself has a fairly mild flavor, so coconut extract could be added to enhance it a bit if you want to emphasize the coconut.
If you can’t find yuzu, which is more widely available at farmers markets and asian markets than it is at most grocery stores, regular lemons and meyer lemons can be great substitutes and will both produce deliciously zesty cupcakes. Since it is less common, it might not make it into your regular baking rotation, but it is worth trying the next time you spot some in the market.
Yuzu Coconut Cupcakes
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp yuzu (or lemon) zest
1 cup coconut milk (pref. light coconut milk)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy, then beat in egg and yuzu zest.
Stir in one third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk. Stir in another third of the flour, followed by the remaining milk. Stir in remaining flour, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Batter will be fairly fluid.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Yuzu Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp yuzu (or lemon) juice
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp yuzu (or lemon) zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a large bowl, beat butter to soften. Beat in yuzu juice, milk, yuzu zest, vanilla and about two cups of confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gradually add remaining confectioners’ sugar until frosting is thick and creamy. You may not need all of the sugar.
Spread onto cooled cupcakes