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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!




Monday 23rd of July 2012

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.


Monday 23rd of July 2012

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.


Monday 5th of March 2012

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!


Tuesday 19th of July 2011

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


Tuesday 19th of July 2011

¡Muchas gracias!


Thursday 23rd of June 2011

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


Friday 24th of June 2011

that's awesome!! what a great find! thanks so much for sharing that great tip with us!


Tuesday 14th of June 2011

I love coconut... these sound so good.. love the liners.. can't wait to try some of those too :)

Jenn Magofna

Tuesday 14th of June 2011

Thanks, Michelle :) The liners are definitely my new fav... I want to use them for everything... Hope you're having a great week!