Light and delicate coconut cupcakes topped with velvety-smooth cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut. These cupcakes are moist, fluffy, and taste like a dream. Plus, they’re so easy to make!
I’m a big fan of coconut AND a big fan of cupcakes. So coconut cupcakes only make sense :). I think I love the flavor so much because it always reminds me of a tropical vacation, which I could really use right now, by the way. I have several recipes with coconut, like coconut cake and coconut cream pie, and these coconut cupcakes are going straight to the top of the list as one of my favorite coconut recipes.
I use my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe as the base of these cupcakes, but substitute the milk with coconut cream. However, you can use whole milk or coconut milk instead if you prefer. Not all coconut cupcakes have great coconut flavor, so I also add shredded coconut to the batter. I also top the frosting with more shredded coconut.
So if you love the flavor of coconut as much as I do, you will LOVE these cupcakes!
How to make coconut cupcakes
This recipe makes enough batter for 12 standard-sized cupcakes.
- Combine the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all the butter and sugar are incorporated.
- Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
- Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients, followed by the coconut milk, and beat until combined. Add the other half of the dry ingredients and beat only until combined (Note: Be careful not to mix the batter too much – the less you mix, the lighter and fluffier your cupcakes will be).
- Bake. Divide the batter evenly between cupcake liners in a cupcake pan, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350°F/180°C, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Frosting coconut cupcakes
Before frosting, make sure your cupcakes are completely cool. Otherwise, the frosting will melt.
I prefer using cream cheese frosting for these cupcakes, but feel free to try another one of these as alternatives if you prefer – both taste great, too!
To frost the cupcakes, you can use a piping bag and a piping tip or simply use a spoon or knife. Either way, they’ll taste amazing!
Tips for making coconut cupcakes
- Don’t over mix the batter. The less you mix, the lighter and fluffier the cupcakes will be.
- Use full-fat coconut cream or coconut milk. The fat adds richness and flavor to these cupcakes, so go for the full-fat variety.
- Toast the shredded coconut for added flavor. You can toast the shredded coconut garnish to enhance its flavor. To do this, place the coconut flakes in an even layer in a pan and heat on medium heat, stirring frequently. You’ll know they’re ready after a few minutes when the coconut flakes appear toasty brown. Allow them to cool completely before garnishing.
- Serve the cupcakes at room temperature. If using cream cheese frosting, you’ll need to store these cupcakes in the fridge. However, I recommend taking them out of the freezer 30 minutes before serving so they warm up slightly.
More of my favorite cupcakes
- Chai Cupcakes: Full of warm autumn spices, topped with creamy cinnamon frosting.
- Funfetti Cupcakes: Perfect for any celebration!
- Tiramisu Cupcakes: All the flavors of decadent tiramisu in cupcake form.
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes: Incredibly moist and topped with velvety-smooth cream cheese frosting.
- Lemon Cupcakes: Bursting with fresh lemon flavor.
Light and fluffy coconut cupcakes made with coconut milk and coconut flakes, topped with velvety smooth cream cheese frosting and more coconut flakes.
- 1 ¼ cups (170g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick/115g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 ml) canned coconut milk, or coconut cream, or whole milk
- ½ cup (sweetened or unsweetened) shredded coconut
- Cream cheese frosting*
- 1-2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, for topping**
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients, followed by the coconut milk, and beat until combined. Add the other half of the dry ingredients and beat only until combined. Do not over mix—the less you mix, the lighter the cupcakes will be. Using a spatula, gently fold in shredded coconut.
Divide batter evenly between liners, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with sweetened shredded coconut—as much as you like!
Store the cupcakes in the fridge but serve at room temperature (remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving). Cupcakes are best the same day they are made. Unfrosted cupcakes can be kept tightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw on the counter or overnight in the fridge.
*Pay attention to the quantities the frosting yields and adjust the recipe according to your number of cupcakes.
**You can toast the shredded coconut to enhance the flavor. To do this, place the coconut flaked in an even layer in a pan and heat on medium heat, stirring frequently. You’ll know they’re ready after a few minutes when the coconut flakes appear toasty brown. Allow them to cool completely before garnishing the cupcakes.