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Welcome to Panza Baby, where you can find delicious recipes and my musings on the world through the lens of food.

Lime and Coconut Cupcakes filled with Key Lime curd and topped with Hibiscus frosting

Lime and Coconut Cupcakes filled with Key Lime curd and topped with Hibiscus frosting


I’m really drawn towards natural pink colors lately, especially the color that comes from soaking dried hibiscus flowers in water. This is how Agua de Jamaica is made, if you’ve ever sipped on that at a Mexican restaurant.

I had an amazing weekend which included a trip to the Rosewood Miramar Resort in Montecito. We picked up a drink at one of the bars and sat overlooking the ocean. I ordered a mezcal and hibiscus cocktail that came garnished with a candied hibiscus flower.

These cupcakes are honestly so good. The cupcake trend blew up some years ago and now it seems difficult to find a die hard cupcake fan in my neck of the woods. But these cupcakes are something else. The cake itself is not dry or flavorless, but quite the opposite. The key lime curd surprise on the inside is tart and that lovely pink swoop of frosting on the top is the sweet counterpart to the tart lime curd.

Cupcakes adapted from here (makes 10 cupcakes)

1 stick butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg white + 1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

zest of one lime

1 cup flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 10 liners.

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and lime zest. Add egg and egg white and continue to beat for another 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy again.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate medium sized bowl. Whisk to combine.

Add half of flour mixture to butter and sugar mixture and beat for ten seconds. Add half of coconut milk and beat for another ten seconds. Add rest of flour and coconut milk and mix until just combined (do not want to overbeat the batter).

Pour batter into cupcake tins and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cupcakes are lightly browned and bounce back when pressed in the center.

Key Lime Curd adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1/2 cup key lime juice

2 eggs + 3 yolks

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

To make the curd:

Combine lime juice and sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved.

In a separate medium sized bowl, beat together eggs and egg yolks.

Slowly whisk in the hot lime juice and sugar mixture into the eggs. You want to do this slowly so that you do not cook the eggs. Pour egg mixture and lime juice mixture back into the saucepan and continue to cook over medium low heat until curd begins to thicken and reaches 170 degrees. Remove from heat, add butter and stir till butter melts. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and store in air tight container in the fridge.

Hibiscus Frosting

1 stick butter, room temperature

4 to 6 cups powdered sugar

4 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup hibiscus tea

1 teaspoon beet powder

For the frosting:

Beat butter until fluffy and add 3 to 4 cups of the powdered sugar and beat. Add cream cheese and coconut milk and beat till smooth

To make the hibiscus tea: Soak one cup of dried hibiscus leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes. You can find dried hibiscus leaves in the “Hispanic” section of grocery stores like Albertson’s.

Add cooled tea to the frosting and if you want the color more pink, add the extra beet powder. Use immediately to frost cooled cupcakes.

To Assemble the cupcakes:

When cupcakes are cool, use a butter knife to cut out a small hole from the center of each cupcake. Use a spoon to spoon the cooled curd into the centers. Top with frosting and garnish with toasted coconut.

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