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little lemon coconut cakes + creamy coconut glaze

Okay so I don’t love cupcakes. Even when the craze hit big time, I wasn’t totally on board. All of those gorgeous sweet little cakes, ornate and decorated just so… had way too much frosting for my taste. It seems to me that there is an inherent issue of ratios with this handheld treat. This is especially true if the frosting is piped on top, as opposed to being smeared rustically. Giant, sweet clouds were distracting me from my favourite part– the actual cake! Then the boutique bakeries were selling frosting shots. Actual shots! Glorified gluttony. And there was a tv show with cupcake shop proprietors competing and snapping at each other about non-rising cakes, time winding down, fillings not jiving with icings, trivial matters completely. Catty. Terrifying. Cupcakes and their whole scene was, without exaggeration, scaring the crap out of me. So I avoided them for a bit. I opted for cookies and actual slices of cake, a tart here and there. I felt fine about it.

But sweet, little snack cakes with just a bit of glaze-y coconut cream on top? I’ve talked myself into a bit of that action. It has a different feel. A bit more casual, but certainly refined. The ratio of sweet topping to lemony and light cake is ideal for someone like me. It’s just a nice little snack to go with tea. A cup-sized cake shouldn’t make you feel like you’ve gone over the edge with indulgence right? It’s individually portioned out of reason, out of fairness and in the interest of an individual’s right to an equal portion of the dozen. It is just. These spelt-based cakes are rich with coconut milk and have a crunchy little dusting of nutty sesame seeds for fun because individual cakes, at their heart, are totally about fairness and super cute fun time with sparkles and everything else great in life. And this is totally one of those throw-it-all-in-one-bowl-and-mix kind of cakes! Everyone wins here.

lemon coconut cakes with coconut glaze and sesames
serves: makes 10-12
notes: Feel free to mix up the citrus a bit! Meyer lemon or orange or lime would all be quite good. Also, as soon as you use 1/2 the can of coconut milk in the batter, put the remaining milk in the freezer so that it can firm up and become more cream-like.

1/2 cup natural sugar
1/3 cup melted coconut oil + extra for greasing
1 14-ounce can coconut milk, divided
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup), divided
2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 cup white spelt flour
1/2 cup whole spelt flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
small pinch of fine sea salt
2 tbsp agave nectar
small handful toasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12 tin muffin pan and set aside.

Mix the sugar, coconut oil, half the can of coconut milk, lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp of vanilla in a medium-large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.

Sift in the white and whole spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix into the wet mixture until just combined.

Portion the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cake springs right back when you push on it and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack thoroughly.

Make the glaze: remove the remaining coconut milk from the freezer and give it a little stir. Whisk it up with the remaining lemon juice, vanilla and the 2 tbsp of agave nectar. Spoon on top of the cooled cakes and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar29/01/2012 - 9:14 pm

What a lovely treat! These sound so yummy!

Courtney30/01/2012 - 11:42 am

I agree with you about the whole cupcake thing! I can’t stand tons of icing and people seem to think that is crazy. These little cakes look absolutely delicious!

Jacqui30/01/2012 - 2:17 pm

I have never really liked cupcakes/cake all because of the frosting; way too sweet! But your’s sound just my style! And I love the sesame seed sprinkles too!

MyFudo31/01/2012 - 2:44 am

I love the mix of coconut and sesame seeds…The glaze looks really interesting! I have always loved mini cakes!

CulinarilyCourtney31/01/2012 - 3:22 am

While I have to admit that frosting actually is my favorite part of a cupcake, haha, these little cakes are just too cute not to want to eat them! I love your idea of sprinkling them with sesame seeds–nature’s sprinkles heheh :)

Zita31/01/2012 - 5:04 am

I’m vegetarian but I bake a lot of vegan cakes. These cupcakes are my kind of cakes! In most of my baking I also use whole spelt and white spelt flour. :)

I’ll definitely give a try and bake these muffins!

Jeanine31/01/2012 - 10:55 am

I can’t wait to make these! They’re so cute and what’s better than lemon and coconut?I’m with you on the frosting thing…

Jess @ littlegirlbigappetite31/01/2012 - 1:21 pm

Oh these look so cute and yummy! Glad to stumble upon your page and be a new follower :)

adrienne01/02/2012 - 10:42 am

Couldn’t agree more with cupcake culture. Wow, these little cakes sound dreamy! They’re the grown-up, educated version of the cupcake :)

Kels02/02/2012 - 4:16 pm

Love how you used newspaper for the drippings, can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that. These look like they pack quite a punch. And I agree, never was a cupcake gal myself, although these are something I could buy into.

Margarita03/02/2012 - 11:07 pm

Lovely little things! I, like you, have never gotten into the cupcake craze, but I do like muffins and delicious snackies like this.

Leah05/02/2012 - 10:45 pm

These look perfect – nice hint of coconut w/ sesame but not too sweet! Sounds like a fantastic combo.

rachel07/02/2012 - 8:24 am

New here… love this post. We must be soul sisters, because I couldn’t agree more about the horrors of cupcakes buried in frosting. I must try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Mary12/02/2012 - 5:12 pm

Would it be okay to substitute the two spelt flours in this recipe with 1.5 cups of an all-purpose gluten free flour (I use the Bob’s Red Mill brand). I’m new to the gluten free thing and have no idea how the different blends work.

Laura12/02/2012 - 7:06 pm

Hi Mary, I’m not totally sure how Bob’s would do in this recipe (it’s not my favourite blend to be honest). I really, really love this particular blend from another blog: http://www.ohladycakes.com/2012/01/how-to-make-gluten-free-flour.html. I’ve had a lot of success with it when making other treats (including cake). You might have to introduce a binder of some kind (a tbsp of ground flax seeds in 1/4 cup of water, an egg, 1/4 cup of applesauce or something similar) if you go with a GF flour blend in general though. Hope that helps!
-L

Judy @ Seven Second Rhapsody12/02/2012 - 10:29 pm

oh….wow. That just looks like it’ll make any rainy day fill with sunshine!

Mary15/02/2012 - 1:26 pm

Thanks Laura! That really helps. I’m definitely going to try the oh, ladycakes recipe!

Reb23/02/2012 - 6:19 am

Was searching for a sugar-free coconut milk glaze and came across your lovely blog, so glad I did! Your recipes and food philosophy are something I want to see more of– will be visiting often!

[…] Almost-vegan coconut lemon poppyseed cupcakes Very loosely adapted from The First Mess – 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature – 1/2 cup sugar – Half of a 398 ml (14 oz) can of […]

Cookie and Kate25/02/2012 - 2:15 pm

Well, I don’t know how I missed these when you posted them last month, but they look absolutely perfect. Your little coconut cakes are my kind of indulgence.

[…] learned a few valuable lessons today when trying to transform Laura Wright’s Little Lemon Cakes + Creamy Coconut Glaze into doughnuts […]

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