These coconut cupcakes are unbelievably moist and delicious! They are adorned with a crown of creamy coconut frosting sprinkled with sweetened coconut on top!
Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting
Coconut cupcakes are so elegant and classy despite how easy they are to make! They’re light, fluffy, and laced with coconut flavor throughout which, if you’re not headed to the tropics anytime soon, is the next best thing!
Everyone loves a good cupcake so having a simple and delicious recipe to fall back on is not to be taken lightly. When there’s a luscious frosting on top, well that’s just the icing on the cake ;)
These coconut cupcakes are easy to make for all kinds of occasions and the simple elegance of the white on white is stunning for wedding showers, baby showers, and as an Easter dessert!
Let’s Talk Ingredients
We’re using 3 kinds of coconut in this coconut cupcake recipe!
- Traditional baking staples. To start, the base of these cupcakes uses all-purpose flour, baking powder, fine sea salt, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, and canola oil.
- Coconut milk delivers a rich and creamy texture to the batter. Use full fat, which includes the cream layer on top.
- Coconut flakes on top of the frosting adds a delicate finishing touch. Sometimes I like to use toasted coconut for a little something extra.
- Coconut extract gets added to both the cupcakes and the frosting on top because if nothing else, these cupcakes should be coconut-y!
What Do I Need For the Frosting?
Powdered sugar, coconut milk, coconut extract, pure vanilla extract, and shredded coconut are everything you need to make this amazing topping for your coconut cupcakes.
You’ll need softened butter for both the batter and the frosting, so check out my tips on how to soften butter. Knowing how to soften cream cheese will also come in handy.
Using Vanilla Beans
Use the seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean instead of the extract for extra flavor and flecks throughout your frosting.
How to Make Coconut Cupcakes
- Combine dry ingredients. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small or medium bowl and set it aside.
- Then the wet ingredients. Mix the butter, oil, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Scrape down the sides as you go, then add the eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract.
- Assemble the batter. To the bowl with the wet batter, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk. Again, scrape the sides of the bowl as you give it a good mix. Do not overmix!
- Fill cupcake liners. Divide batter into each of the paper liners into the muffin cups to about 3/4 full.
- Bake cupcakes. Transfer the pan to a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the cupcakes spring back when touched. You can also test with a toothpick. If it comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake, it’s clean.
- Allow your cupcakes to cool on a wire rack before frosting.
- Decorate. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle some yummy flakes on top, if desired.
How to Make Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream together the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, and coconut extract. Whip until your desired consistency has formed.
Recipe and Baking Tips
- Measure flour correctly. With any baking recipe, it’s important to follow instructions and measurements carefully. Using the spoon and level method to measure your flour will ensure accuracy. Too much flour and you’ll end up with dense cupcakes.
- Start with room temperature ingredients. Bring the butter and cream cheese out about 1 hour before starting, but also consider bringing your eggs and coconut milk to room temperature too. This makes for even baking from start to finish.
- Don’t overmix. Again, this is a fast way to end up with heavy, dense cupcakes.
- No piping bag? Use a Ziploc bag instead. Cut the tip with scissors and carefully pipe the frosting through the hole. It probably won’t be as neat, but it will still be as yummy!
- If using an electric mixer for the batter, make sure it’s on low speed. If you’re using it for the frosting, then a higher speed is fine.
- Unsalted butter. I use unsalted because there is added salt in the cupcake ingredients. If salted butter is all you have, consider eliminating the extra salt or using less.
- Unsweetened coconut milk. Same deal. There is already sugar in the cupcakes, both in the batter and the frosting.
Nope! The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook has a slightly different version that uses buttermilk in her cupcakes and almond extract in her frosting. Both would be neat to try!
I wouldn’t. It’s gluten-free, and although I get where you’re going with the flavor theme, working with other types of flour can get tricky. You would need to make adjustments to other ingredients to make up for it which would alter the recipe as written.
For sure you can! This comes in handy if you’re preparing for a party. Bake them a day in advance, keep them covered in an airtight container once they’ve had a chance to cool, then frost them just before serving.
More Desserts You’ll Love
- Lemon Coconut Bars: Bright, vibrant, and perfect for summer.
- Easy Coconut Macaroons: Soft, chewy, and adorable for Easter!
- Almond Joy Cookies: The coconut-y flavor paired with almonds is heavenly.
- German Chocolate Brownies: Same flavors as the famous cake, but in brownie form.
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- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup butter , 4 Tablespoons softened
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup butter
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (or seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean)
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- Coconut , for topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- Whisk together your flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together the butter, oil and sugar. Scrape the sides of your bowl, and then add the eggs along with the vanilla and coconut extract.
- Alternate between adding the flour mixture and coconut milk. Scrape the side of the bowl, and give it one last good mix. Divide the batter between you liners, each should be 3/4 full.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. The cupcakes are done when they spring back when touched, or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place your cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Start by creaming together your butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, coconut milk, vanilla and coconut extract. Whip until your desired consistency has formed.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle coconut on top if desired.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
These cupcakes were really amazing! Everyone loved it and they can’t wait for me to make it again!
Yay! Glad they were a hit :)
We love coconut but I have never been able to find a good coconut cupcake recipe until now. The coconut frosting on top is everything.
I followed the recipe exactly written. The topping didn’t look as perfect as yours (due to a lack of my piping skills) but it tasted marvelous. This recipe is a keeper.
I’m so happy to hear you loved the recipe, Sam! :) Thanks for your comment and review!
Mmm..it looks very tasty!
Would it be good if i took out the coconut part completely and just used classic buttercream for the frosting instead?
I think it would be just fine if you took out the coconut! Good luck!
Hi Jamielyn. These cupcakes look fantastic! I’m confused by one part of the recipe though so I was hoping you could clarify one point for me.
Sorry if this seems like a dumb question but at dot point three it says “Alternate between the flour and milk…”. By milk are you referring to the 1 cup of milk (which I assume is regular milk) or are you referring to the coconut milk that is referenced in step 1?
If you’re referring to regular milk, how do you think using buttermilk instead would affect the recipe?
Thanks you advance for your help. Looking forward to making these!
Hi Elisa! This was a guest post, but at step three she is referring to regular milk. Step 1 is using coconut milk, but that is used later in the recipe in step eight. Sorry for the confusion. :) Using buttermilk will probably change the flavor a bit. I have heard from some that it makes cakes more moist and some that it changes the acidity in the cake which makes it not rise. Definitely let us know if you try it! :)