Who can resist a cupcake? These have a tender, delicate lemon cake base, holding a fully coconut buttercream frosting.
Preheat oven to 375 °F (190 °C) and line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Sift the flour with 1 cup (200 g) of the sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the lemon zest.
In a separate bowl whisk the buttermilk, oil, lemon juice, egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk this into the dry mixture until well-blended and set aside while whipping the whites.
Using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites until they are frothy and then gradually add the remaining ½ cup (100 g) of sugar while whipping, and continuing to whip until the beaters almost hold a soft peak when lifted (this will take about 3 minutes, and the whites will be very glossy). Fold the whites into the batter in 2 additions until evenly blended. Spoon the batter (using an ice cream scoop is easiest) into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 15-17 minutes until the cupcakes spring back in the centre when gently pressed (the cupcakes will not brown much). Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins before frosting.
For the frosting, beat the butter and 2 cups (260 g) of the icing sugar with electric beaters or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until blended. Add the coconut milk, vanilla and coconut extract and beat in. Add 2 more cups (260 g) of icing sugar, beat on low speed and then beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, adding more icing sugar as needed until the frosting holds its shape when the beaters are lifted (the variation in amount of icing sugar is due to how soft the butter is, and how warm and/or humid the weather is).
Spoon or pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with coconut and/or decorator’s sugar. Do not refrigerate the cupcakes, if preparing ahead.
The cupcakes will keep, wrapped and unrefrigerated, for 2 days.