Delicate coconut cupcakes topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting and sweetened shredded coconut.
I talk quite often about how picky I am when it comes to cupcakes because the overly-sweet frosting is not really my thing, although the phrase ‘overly-sweet’ is something you’ll rarely ever hear me say. Still, I can easily find myself eating 3 or more of these chocolate cupcakes, peanut butter cupcakes, or coconut cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong, they are still sweet, but in totally good and addictive way.
Not all coconut cupcakes have great coconut flavor, so to make sure these ones do, I use both coconut cream and shredded coconut in the batter, as well as top the frosting with additional shredded coconut. The photos don’t really do justice to the amount of coconut I usually add since it’s not uncommon for me to cover the frosting in it. With that said, you can add as much or as little as you like.
I use my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe as the base and substitute the milk with coconut cream, but you can use whole milk or coconut milk instead.
Tangy cream cheese frosting complements the sweetened coconut well, making it the perfect choice in my opinion. If you’d rather use another one, try my classic vanilla buttercream or this satiny Swiss meringue buttercream.
In addition to shredded coconut, I like to add toasted coconut flakes or chips on top for visual appeal, but that’s definitely optional.
- 1 ¼ cups (170 g/6 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) 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 350F/180C. 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!
*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.