lemongrass cupcakes with lemongrass-coconut buttercream frosting
Having worked with lemongrass before, in Thai curries and soups, I knew I would have to coax the flavor out of these tough, little stalks. The key, I found, was to search out the freshest specimens possible and peel away the tough outer skin. The next step was to chop a whole stalk and steep in the liquid intended for the cupcakes.

The end result was deliciously sweet and moist with a subtle lemongrass flavor that paired well with the very coconuty frosting. But I have to be frank… when I tasted the batter it was really bringing back taste memories that I struggled to recall. When it finally hit me, I was almost disappointed. How could something as exotic as lemongrass remind me of the milk at the end of the bowl of fruity pebbles!

The baked cake lost its fruity pebble flavor, thankfully, and I was quite pleased with the cupcake overall.

Lemongrass Milk

1-1/2 cups milk, whole
1 stalk lemongrass

1. Bring milk and lemongrass to a gentle simmer for about three minutes.
2. Turn off heat and let cool until warm.
3. Transfer about half of the milk and most of the lemongrass solids into a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds.
4. Transfer everything back into the pan and let cool fully.

chopped lemongrass
chopped lemongrass

lemongrass milk
simmering lemongrass milk

Lemongrass Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup lemongrass milk (see recipe above)
1 teaspoon lemongrass, tender part only, chopped finely
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
5. Add chopped lemongrass to the lemongrass milk.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the lemongrass milk and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and lemongrass milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

cooling cupcakes
cooling cupcakes

Lemongrass-Coconut Buttercream Frosting

1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/4 cup lemongrass milk (see recipe above)
1-1/2 cups grated fresh coconut
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Beat butter briefly, scrape bowl.
2. Add the sifted powdered sugar and lemongrass milk. Beat until smooth.
3. Add coconut and mix until combined.

1. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.
[Optional] Chop unsalted peanuts with some kosher salt until fine. Sprinkle over cupcakes.


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