Coconut and Lime Buns

Buns, fairy cakes, cupcakes, call them what you will, these little coconut cakes are deliciously light to eat and bright with citrus.

Controversial statement: I’m not a fan of cupcakes with as much frosting as cake. They look pretty but really, why not just shove your face in a bowl of buttercream? I have friends who would be happy to do that but the thought makes me queasy. This probably explains why my piping and icing skills are at the level of the average pre-schooler.

The coconut and lime buns might not win a beauty contest but they are ridiculously moreish. They’ll keep in a tin for a day or two but you’ll probably eat them all on the day they’re made. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

They are easy enough to make that the kids can get involved and quick to cook, perfect for impatient young (and older) chefs. 

Coconut and Lime Buns


125 g self-raising flour

50g unsweetened desiccated coconut (flake coconut in the US)

100g caster sugar 

125g softened butter

Zest of 2 limes

2 large eggs

About 2 tbsp milk

For the topping:

150g icing sugar

Juice of about 1 1/2 limes

25g to 50g desiccated coconut, toasted (depends how thickly you’d like them thatched)


Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Line a 12-hole bun tin with cupcake cases.

Put all the cake ingredients, except the milk, in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Or if mixing by hand, cream the butter and sugar, stir in the lightly beaten eggs with a bit of the flour, then beat in the remaining flour.

Add the milk a little at a time until you have a smooth dropping consistency. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until risen and golden. As soon as they’re cool enough to handle, place them in their cases on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Toast the remaining coconut in a dry pan over a low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Remove to a plate and leave to cool.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough lime juice to give an icing thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once the cakes are completely cold, spoon over the icing and top with a thatch of toasted coconut. Allow the icing to set before eating. [/ends]

13 thoughts on “Coconut and Lime Buns

  1. Like you, I can’t be doing with buttercream loaded cupcakes. I would make these, but … desiccated coconut is our latest can’t-buy ingredient.

  2. sorry but i am a big icing fan! the more the merrier… coconut and lime are great together so i’m sure these cakes are tasty anyway:) I made raspberry and coconut slice yesterday. always a winner.

    • Me too! If you have any American shredded coconut, Rob, use that and if you don’t, get your sister to send some! It’s better (and I don’t often say this) than the British stuff. Jo B once brought me back some from Joe which was Trader Joe’s (all these Joes!) and I’ve tried to use it ever since. Sadly this was the last of my stash. xxx

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