lychee swirl cupcakes 3

I have been wanting to make a swirl cupcake with two-toned frosting ever since my friend Marta showed me a photo of some cherry swirl cupcakes she had made a few years ago. They were just beautiful! But the thought of getting two colors of frosting to pipe neatly seemed a bit of a headache, and I’d be so disappointed if I spent so much time for them to turn out poorly. So I saved making swirl cupcakes for a time when I had the most free time I’ve had in my life in a long while – the last two months of medical school!

Med school is like a fire hydrant that always remembers to hose you down just when you think you’ve gotten back on your feet. But thankfully medical school is almost over, I am post-residency match, and it is time to enjoy the last 2 months of absolutely no rotations and no clinical responsibilities before the storm that is residency. It was a good friend of mine’s birthday party, and she was moving all the way to Boston for residency, so now I had the perfect conditions for trying to make swirl cupcakes!


Since it is summer time, I selected lychee as the flavor of the cupcakes. Two large cans of lychee and all the lychee syrup in them later, these cupcakes plus the lychee flavor frosting were ready. I chopped up the lychee fruit to put into the cupcake, and used the lychee syrup in place of water/soymilk for the frosting.

cupcake-tips-1lychee swirl cupcakes

To create the swirl frosting, I filled two separate bags of white and pink colored lychee frosting (Careful not to add too much) and put both of those bags into an empty bag fitted with my tip. It worked beautifully, I think mostly because the amount of icing was about the same in the two bags so there wasn’t too much of one color!

lychee swirl cupcakes
The tops I decorated with little fondant sugar flowers, painted with pink glitter. This is the glitteriest most fun cupcake I’ve made in a long while, but med school is ending and don’t we all deserve the shinnest send off to residency? ; ) Happy Birthday Christine my dear!


Lychee Swirl Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 cupcakes
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • ⅓ cup canoa oil
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 8 ounces chopped lychee (2 cans)
  • ¼ cup lychee syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup nonhydrogenated shortening (I used Spectrum brand)*
  • ½ cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup lychee syrup from the canned lychee
  • Pink gel food coloring.
  • Fondant, about a quarter sized ball
  • Pink edible glitter dust
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, and add cupcake liners to a cupcake pan
  2. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl and mix till well combined
  3. Scoop lychees out of lychee can and pulse till chopped to small pieces in the food processor. Save the lychee syrup in a bowl, you will use it for the cupcake stump as well as the frosting.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, then add the remaining wet ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix using a spatula until well combined.
  6. Fill cupcake liners, about ¾ of the way full each.
  7. Bake 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Make the frosting by creaming the shortening and margarine till fluffy (use mixer), then adding the powdered sugar, and wet ingredients. Beat until light and fluffy.
  9. Scoop half the frosting in a separate bowl and add pink gel coloring and mix with a mixer till you get the shade of pink of your dreams.
Decorating the cupcake
  1. Make the flower decals by rolling a quarter sized ball of fondant flat about 5 mm in height, then use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut small flowers. Use a plastic fondant shaper to push down each petal to make the petals curl.
  2. Add a few drops of water to pink glitter dust to make it pasty like paint. Now paint onto the center of the flowers and let dry.
  3. Add a portion of the white frosting into one piping bag, do the same for the pink but in another bag. Do not add too much! You will be putting the two bags together. Do not cut the tips of the bags before you add stuff. You will notice the frosting sits about 1-2 inches away from the tip.
  4. Now take a third, totally empty frosting bag, slip a wide round tip through it (so you need to cut the tip). Now it is time to add the other two bags into the empty bag. To do this, lightly cut the tips of both right before you slide them in. Then slide the two bags in.
  5. Push to let the frosting come out, both colors at once.
  6. Frost each cupcake starting at the middle and ending with a burst of pressure. Apply flower decor to the top!
cupcake stump recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World book (these cupcakes are not vegan though like in the original recipe, just dairy free. To make vegan, substitute 2 equiv egg replacer or 5 tablespoons of flax seed mixed in 6 tablespoons water)

*it is very important to use the right shortening, that is non-hyrogenated vegetable shortening. Please do not use Crisco! It will not work.



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