Recipe: Coconut and Lemon Buttercream

This is a very quick and easy recipe for a lovely, rich, coconut-infused icing that is dairy free and will work on all sorts of citrus or coconut cakes, but particularly on the coconut and lemon cake found in Veganomicon.  It’s also a very quick and easy post, because I’m still recovering from Eurovision – there will be something more substantive tomorrow, I promise!

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125g unrefined coconut oil or coconut butter (see note below)
Rind and juice of a nice, juicy lemon
500g icing sugar (golden icing sugar would be lovely here)

Now what will you do with it?

Soften the coconut oil as you would butter (it is similarly solid at room temperature) and put in a bowl.  Sift in the icing sugar, and cream together.  Add the lemon juice and rind and mix until smooth.

Check the texture – if you’d like it to be thicker and harder, add more icing sugar; if it needs to be thinner, add more lemon juice.  If you want to make it thicker *and* creamier (and more coconutty), you can add coconut oil. This is probably best done by starting a new bowl with more coconut butter and then mixing the icing into it bit by bit).

Adulterate with the food colouring of your choice, or leave plain (it makes a lovely white icing), and spread or pipe onto a cake or biscuit.  Myself, I wouldn’t pipe this – it’s so rich that a thinnish layer on a cake will probably do you nicely.



If you want to put the lime in the coconut, I recommend using two limes to replace the lemon.  You could also replace the lemon with pineapple juice, which I think would be rather gorgeous.  Or you could make Bounty Bar icing by substituting 50g of cocoa for the icing sugar (you could call this Deconstructed Lamington Frosting if you wanted to sound classy).  Yum!

If you want a dairy-free and creamy frosting that doesn’t scream ‘COCONUT!!’, you can use a refined coconut oil, which has less flavour (think in terms of the difference between light olive oil and extra virgin, and you’ll know what I mean), and proceed as above – you can use pretty much any flavour you like with this.

Coconut Oil

Unrefined coconut oil is a lovely ingredient – it feels softer and cleaner than butter and smells and tastes fabulous – the unrefined version is a revelation if your only exposure to coconut has been the dessicated (we like to call it desecrated) kind you get at the supermarket.  It is, however, on the expensive side, and you will probably have to go to a health food store to find it (though its actual healthiness seems to be under debate.  On the other hand, most of us are not eating icing for its health benefits…).  It also makes for a very rich icing – a little goes a long way.

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4 comments for “Recipe: Coconut and Lemon Buttercream

  1. Katrina
    May 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    This sounds yummy. I suspect that unrefined coconut oil is something I’d have to order though.

    What is golden icing sugar? Is it a brown sugar version of regular icing sugar?

    • May 16, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      It is yummy!

      Golden icing sugar is one of those semi-mythical wholefood ingredients that one reads about endlessly and can never find in the supermarket until one day one happens to go to some obscure gourmet or healthfood shop and there it is. But there’s no point going back to that shop for it, because it won’t be there again and you’ll have to chance on it somewhere else next time. At least, this is my experience.

      I believe it’s an unrefined version of icing sugar; it’s certainly browner in both appearance and flavour, and it makes your icing beige, which is disconcerting if you are trying to add food colourings to it.

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