Coconut Lemon Syrup Cupcakes


Lemons. So useful in so many ways, a good cold remedy but also enjoyable as a refreshing drink or in sweets. I’ve seen Lemon Syrup cakes made previously and when I tasted it I was amazed at how moist it was. It wasn’t very light, it’s actually quite dense as a cake but because of the syrup that oozes through the cake it changes how everything tastes. Yes, lemons can do this.

There were plentiful of recipes out there for Lemon Syrup Cakes but none for cupcakes. Of course cupcakes are just mini cakes but I wasn’t sure of how many cupcakes one batch would make. Alas, I just tried one cake recipe and I made a mix of mini cupcakes and small cupcakes, not those normal sized cupcakes you commonly see.

I found a recipe by Donna Hay, I was hesitant to try it at first because she only knows how to make things look nice to sell magazines and books. However as it turned out, it was a delight. Check out the recipe and my impressions below!

Coconut and Lemon Syrup Cupcakes (Donna Hay)

Makes: Roughly 12-18 average sized cupcakes

(But I can’t be certain as it depends on the size of your cupcake cups)


150g butter
1/2 cup (100g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
3 eggs
1½ cups (120g) dessicated coconut
1½ cups (225g) self-raising (self-rising) flour
¾ cup (185ml) milk
Lemon Syrup
1 cup (100g) caster (superfine) sugar
¾ cup (185ml) water
2 tablespoons lemon juice (add more to your liking)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (355ºF).
2. Beat the butter, sugar and lemon rind in an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the eggs and beat well.
3. Mix through the coconut, flour and milk with a wooden spoon until smooth.
4. Place muffin/cupcake paper into the pans. Pour mixture into pans and bake for 25-35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool.

5. To make the lemon syrup, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. If you like your syrup to be more “lemony” keep adding tablespoons full of juice until you get your desired flavour. I basically used a whole lemon’s juice but some may prefer just a touch of it.

6. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly and sticky. Pour over warm or cool cake.

7. If pouring is too difficult or slides off (top of cakes may be too crispy), use a brush instead and gently tab over it until it soaks in slightly.




This recipe is quite easy to make. I had a slight hiccup when the batter looked all kinds of wrong, with the batter separating from the butter. I’m not sure if it was the acidic nature of the lemon rind or not or if I beat the mixture too long but it turned out reasonably well so maybe it was all for the best!

The coconut in the cake gives it such a pleasant texture and bite to it, we used coconut flakes which are chunkier than desiccated coconut but it was still good.

If you reduce the sugar in the lemon syrup as I did you can either reduce the water too or just wait it out and simmer it for longer. I mistakenly poured in the entire 185 mls when I halved the sugar to 100g but it just meant it took a bit longer for it to get thick.

Since my cakes were crispy on top, the syrup just slid right off if you tried pouring it on top. Instead a brush works wonders and can the cake seems to actually absorb more of the syrup. The syrup gives the cupcakes this amazing gloss, I loved it.

I was so pleased with the end result, packed full of lemon flavour. Not too sweet, just right. Would definitely make it again. Good job Donna Hay.