Coconut Cupcakes

Happy weekend, javacupcakers!  Today I am going to share with you the coconut cupcakes that I made for 2 of my favorite people at work.  They wanted coconut, so I made coconut. Here we go…

I found a few recipes online that had great reviews, including Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes, I love me some Barefoot Contessa… but she used buttermilk instead of coconut milk, so I decided to go with a super, slightly adapted version of Simply Recipe’s, Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  If you have a little bit  more time, Bon Appetit has an amazing version that calls for reduced coconut milk and vanilla bean.

Instead of doubling this recipe, I just made 2 batches separately.  I used large liners so I ended up with 15 from each batch, which was great since I was gifting a dozen, if 1 or 2 didn’t work out, it was going to be okay.  Ps. these liners. THE BEST.  They’re sturdy enough to bake standing on their own, no muffin pan needed, and since they’re so big I was able to fit a hefty ice cream scoop full of batter into each cup.  I already have a few more packages in my cart because I want to use them all the time!

Coconut Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of canned coconut milk*
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of sweetened desiccated coconut

*Coconut milk can be found at your grocery store in the Asian aisle, I usually have some on-hand from the actual Asian store, but if you don’t have one of those in your area, your grocery store should carry some.  They also may have some in the natural section of your store.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine & whisk the flour, salt and baking powder.  Measure 1 cup of well shaken coconut milk to a liquid measuring cup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Mix well.
  3. In a standing bowl mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy at least 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each to ensure mixing. Be sure to scrape down the sides after each egg to ensure even mixing.
  5. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients to the mixer, with 3 additions of flour, beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix the batter until there are still a few streaks of dry batter and stop.  You do not want to overmix.
  6. Gently fold in the shredded coconut. Scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake for 18-22 minutes.  (If you’re using the same cupcake liners that I used, I baked my cupcakes for about 25 minutes, but you’ll want to keep an eye on them.)
  7. Remove cupcakes from oven when a tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (more if needed to reach desired consistency)
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut milk (as needed)
  • 2 cups toasted, sweetened, shredded coconut
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese in a standing bowl mixer, with the paddle attachment, for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar with the mixer on low and mix until combined.
  3. Add coconut milk as needed to reach desired consistency.
  4. To toast coconut: Add coconut to a baking tray, toast for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven, allow coconut to cool before garnishing cupcakes.
  5. Frost as you wish! Either with large dome of frosting that is covered in toasted coconut, or with a large star tip and a sprinkling of toasted coconut 🙂

These cupcakes are super delish.  They’re dense, but in the best way possible.  The cupcake is heavy, but the texture is still super light and fluffy.  They’re not too sweet and the coconut flavor isn’t overpowering at all, instead it’s nice and subtle.  Please don’t skip out on the toasted coconut, in my opinion, that’s what really makes these special. The aroma of the coconut is really great from the toasted coconut and it’s just so pretty!

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know! Happy baking!


16 thoughts on “Coconut Cupcakes

  1. thank you thank you, im all over those liners, going to order some today, how freaking clever is that…and i have coconut milk and going to make these tomorrow to bring in to work on monday…thanks again for all your hard work and sharing for us….

    1. No problem! I hope you love them, Connie! 🙂 Please let me know what you think… and yes! I love those little liners too, they’re pretty genius! Thanks for stopping by… xo-Jenn

  2. I’ve been searching online for a great coconut cupcake recipe and I decided to go with this one yesterday and now I stumble upon your blogpost!
    I’m going to make them sometime this week, but I was wondering if it’s possible to make half a batch… or do you think they would come out wrong? Many of my friends don´t really like coconut (?!) and I don’t want to end up eating 20 cupcakes by myself… or do you happen to know if they freeze well (with or without the frosting)?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Yes you could absolutely do this recipe in half… however some of the ingredients may be difficult to cut in half exactly. You could however convert your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe into a coconut cupcake very easily. Just replace the regular milk for coconut milk and the even the vanilla extract for coconut extract and then make sure to add the 1 cup of coconut to the batter. The key to any good coconut cupcake is the coconut milk…. it really adds so much great flavor! 🙂

      Good luck and happy baking!

  3. Hey, i was just thinking i discovered coconut oil at my local hannafords; who’da thunk it right. it is a solid kind of like shortening but if you take the metal top off and microwave the glass jar it becomes crystal clear. I used the oil in my fav vanilla cupcake recipe with all the substitutions you suggested and the flavor was so good. I also learned from a nutritionist friend of mine the fat in coconut is not bad fat the saturated fat is very good for you! Yay since im a coconut addict. thanks for the recipes my cupcake soulmate

  4. ¡Hola! sencillamente amo tú página, muchas gracias por compartir tus recetas, haré esta apenas pueda, se ve deliciosa!
    Saludos desde Venezuela!

  5. I’ve been looking for a coconut cupcake recipe to make for Easter and use the frosting to make bunnies on top — this sounds delicious! One question: the frosting recipe calls for 1 cup or 1 stick of butter — 1 stick of butter is a 1/2 cup. Can you clarify what the correct qty is? Thanks!! Excited to try the recipe and love your blog!

  6. do you think i could subsitute the coconut milk for coconut extract? i live in a very small town, and we dont have coconut milk, but we do have extract.

    1. Not only does the coconut milk add flavor to the cupcakes, but it also adds the required moisture. If you can’t find the coconut milk in the Asian section of your grocery store… I’d suggest using sour cream or a full fat milk and adding a 1tsp coconut extract. The flavor won’t be as strong, but it should work.

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