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.