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Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes

My Coconut Cupcakes are the last word on coconut.  The cake base is flavored with delicious coconut milk, a bit of coconut extract and some finely shredded sweetened coconut flakes to make them ultra tasty and out of this world.  Instead of seven minute frosting that most recipes call for in a coconut cupcake recipe, I use a simple coconut buttercream frosting that is absolutely addictive.  Each cupcake is crowned with more sweetened flaked coconut for all to enjoy.  Make no mistake, you’re going to be tempted to eat one as soon as you start decorating them because they will beckon you to.

Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes

One good thing about cupcakes is that, not only are they very easy to make and assemble, they’re super quick to bake in the oven.  Twenty minutes at most and you have the most inviting and tempting little coconut cupcakes eagerly awaiting a bit of frosting as soon as they’ve cooled.  Make an giant batch of them for the Easter holiday and top them with little jelly beans or perhaps some malted chocolate eggs in beautiful pastel shades.  Set them atop some cake stands (with or without domes) or place them on large platters, and invite everyone to grab one.  Even those who claim not to like coconut are going to be tempted.  Don’t be surprised if you catch someone taking a second one.  They’re that good! 

Coconut Cupcake Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups {380 g.} cake flour, spooned & leveled
  • 3 teaspoons {15 ml.} baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon {1.25 ml} fine sea salt
  • 1 cup {85 g.} sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 sticks or 16 tablespoons {226 g.} unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups {400 g.} granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons {7.5 ml.} coconut extract or 2 teaspoons {10 ml.} pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon {1.25 ml.} pure almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups {300 ml.} coconut milk (not cream of coconut)

To Assemble
  • Coconut Frosting (recipe below)
  • About 2 additional cups sweetened flaked coconut for sprinkling

Equipment: standard-size muffin tins, cupcake liners
Yield: 28 cupcakes

Line standard-size muffin tins with cupcake liners and set them aside.  I used two, 12 muffin tins and one 6 muffin tin to make this entire batch.

Center oven racks and preheat to 
350° F (177°C)
Measuring Cake Flour
I decant my cake flour into a large apothecary jar.  With a scoop, I lighten the flour and remove what I need.
 The flour is spooned into a measuring cup until it's heaping.

 With a straight edge, I scrape off the excess.
This is one cup cake flour that's been spooned & leveled.  A good thing.

In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder & fine sea salt.  Place the 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add this to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine thoroughly.  Keep this bowl ready.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until light, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add the granulated sugar in a steady stream and cream this mixture until light and quite fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle at least once.

Add the eggs one at a time, letting each emulsify into the butter/sugar mixture, before adding the next.  Add the coconut extract and almond extract, beat well.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl & attachment at least once or twice during this process.

On low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions and the coconut milk in two additions, alternating between the ingredients.  Start and end with the dry ingredients.  Mix the batter just until combined and no flour is visible.  Don’t overbeat the batter.

Remove the bowl and attachment, scraping off all that batter and give the entire mixture one or two turns with a large rubber spatula.  Make sure you reach all the way to the bottom of the bowl (sugar & butter tend to stick there.).

Quickly divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins, filling each cavity 3/4 full.  

Pop them in the preheated oven
and bake for approximately 
18-20 minutes

The cupcakes should spring back when lightly touched on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each should come out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring them to racks to cool completely.

Coconut Buttercream Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 sticks or 12 tablespoons {170 g.} unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups {700 g.} confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons {75 ml.} coconut milk or regular milk
  • 1 teaspoon {5 ml.} coconut extract or 1 1/2 teaspoons {7.5 ml.} pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine sea salt

Yield: approximately 3 cups frosting, enough for 28 cupcakes

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer, cream the butter until light, about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and add the entire confectioners’ sugar, coconut milk, coconut extract and pinch of salt.  Start the mixer on low speed until everything comes together and then gradually increase it to medium speed.  Beat until the buttercream comes together and is smooth, about 3 minutes.  If the icing seems to stiff, you can beat in an additional 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml.) of milk.  

Assembling the Cupcakes

Place the flaked coconut into a bowl.  Spread each cupcake with icing, covering the entire top and turn it upside down into the bowl with coconut.  Roll it around until it’s completely covered.  You can also pack the coconut onto the tops by hand if you wish.  Continue with the remaining cupcakes.

The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 day in the refrigerator or in a cool place in your kitchen.  

When ready to serve, place them on a cupcake wire stand, platter or a set of cake stands.  

Cupcakes will never go out of style for me.  Is it because they seem to bring out the kid in all of us or is it because they capture our attention as soon as we spot some at a bakery or at a celebratory gathering?  Perhaps our love for them is as simple as being able to eat one with one hand, no fork required.  Whatever the reason, I do love a good cupcake.  Make my Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes soon and let your loved ones devour them up.  Enjoy every bite!  


  1. I'm adding this recipe to my notebook, David. We love coconut here! Have you ever toasted the coconut for the topping? My husband asks for that on top of his birthday cake every year. :) We are going to LOVE these!

  2. What lovely cupcakes, David!

    They not only look perfect - they look moist, tender and delectable! I'm not a huge fan of coconut, but your cupcakes have me converted!!


  3. Nancy, I've never tried toasting the coconut, but what a GREAT idea! I think I'm going to have to try them that way the next time I make a batch.

    I know you're going to love these. Yum!

  4. Oh you'll be a fan of coconut cupcakes when you get a taste of these, Janet. I can almost guarantee it!



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