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Slightly floral and lightly citrusy, with beautiful specks of black seeds, this Dragon Fruit Buttercream Frosting pairs perfectly with my favorite moist chocolate cupcakes recipe to make an interesting, tasty dessert.
Interesting frostings are so much fun and a great way to put a personal stamp on your treats! Some of our other favorites are Lemon Buttercream Frosting, Light & Fluffy Oreo Frosting (aka Cookies & Cream Frosting), and Guava Frosting.
Dragon Fruit Buttercream Frosting
When we were in Cambodia with our girls a couple of years ago, we really enjoyed eating dragon fruit, something we had never had much of here in the states. But aside from eating them plain like we do with any other fruit, I have never used them in a recipe before. When Melissa's Produce sent me a huge box with some of their freaky fruits for Freaky Fruits Friday, an event I did with some blogging friends, I decided to challenge myself and do some recipe testing with all of it from the kiwano melon to the strawberry papaya.
And while some recipes were more successful than others (my cherimoya crumble bars were a total fail, while we absolutely loved the cast iron blood orange chicken thighs and passion fruit lemon loaf cake) I had one more winner that many of you asked me to share after I posted about it on Instagram.
These cupcakes are as delicious as they are pretty, and you really can taste the dragon fruit in the dragon fruit buttercream frosting that I paired with my best ever moist chocolate cupcakes recipe.
My family loved these and I took the extras to the 16-18 year old youth I work with at church, who were enamored with the deeply chocolatey cupcake paired with something a little more interesting than your typical plain vanilla buttercream.
What does dragon fruit taste like?
If you have never had it and wondered what does dragon fruit taste like, it can be difficult to describe. The flavor is much more subtle than most fruits, reminding me of kiwi fruit crossed with a pear, but much less intense and less sweet with a slightly floral taste to it.
Some people complain that it is bland and disappointing, but like many things, I think that depends on both ripeness and your expectations before eating it. Because it's such a showy looking fruit with it's magenta and green outer skin and flashy white and bright pink insides, it makes you think it will have a flavor to match when actually it's flavors are very muted.
I recommend eating a few slices before adding it to anything so you can really appreciate dragon fruit for what it is before it gets overwhelmed by other ingredients for things like smoothie bowls or salads, which are both common uses for dragon fruit thanks to it's gorgeous appearance when sliced.
How to Cut Dragon Fruit
The skin of the dragon fruit may look intimidating with it's green-ish scales and pink leathery skin, but it's really easy to slice in half with a knife since there is no pit or stone to worry about inside.
Then you can easily get the insides out of the skin by just popping it out of the skin or running a spoon around the edges, just like you would for an avocado.
How to Make Dragon Fruit Buttercream Frosting
It not much different to make dragon fruit buttercream from any other American buttercream frosting except that there is the addition of a fruit puree, which can complicate things because of the added extra liquid. I was inspired to try this by a quick search for dragon fruit cupcakes and finding this post by The Little Blog of Vegan.
Start by cutting a dragon fruit in half and scooping out the flesh of ½ of the fruit, reserving the other half to be sliced and used for decorating the tops of the cupcakes. Puree the other half in a blender or food processor and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in medium-high speed for 3 minutes until fluffy, then add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, along with the dragon fruit and a pinch of salt and mixing slowly to combine.
I always like to add a pinch of salt to my frostings because it actually brings out the flavors of the ingredients better.
Once combined, the frosting might look a little funky. Just keep adding the remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until you get a nice, pretty typical buttercream consistency, which I found to be between 4-5 cups total of powdered sugar.
There is no need to adding any milk to the buttercream, as the liquid from the dragon fruit puree provides plenty all on it's own.
Then fill a piping bag with the buttercream and pipe onto your completely cooled cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to serve. I think this frosting, like dragon fruit itself, is best served slightly chilled, but you can definitely serve them at room temperature as well.
More Delicious Frosting Recipes to Try
- Homemade Rainbow Chip Frosting
- Graham Cracker Frosting
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Coconut Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting
Dragonfruit Buttercream Frosting
- ½ dragonfruit white part with seeds only
- 1 cup butter softened
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Blend the dragonfruit in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
- Beat the butter in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, dragon fruit puree, vanilla, and pinch of salt and mix together on low speed to combine. Continue to add the remaining powdered sugar to get a nice, smooth buttercream.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and use to decorate cupcakes. Garnish with extra bits of sliced dragon fruit.