Coconut Cupcakes

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These soft, moist coconut cupcakes are a new favorite of ours! If you are a fan of coconut desserts, these flavorful cupcakes belong on your must-bake list.

Coconut Cupcakes on a cake platter.

How to Make Coconut Cupcakes

You can find the full, printable coconut cupcake recipe at the bottom of this post. Here is a quick look at our steps!

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, add paper cupcake liners to cupcake pan(s)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside
  • In another bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil and coconut extract. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each until the yellow of the yolk has blended.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of liquid).
  • Mix just until incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix.
  • Fold in the sweetened flaked coconut.
Coconut Cupcakes Batter
  • Next, scoop about ¼ cup bake batter into each cupcake liner (in the cupcake pans)
Coconut Cupcake Batter in the cupcake pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just few crumbs attached.
  • We like to remove cupcakes immediately from the pans to prevent over-baking. Baking times can vary depending on pan & oven- check at 15 minutes to be on the safe side, but it may take a few minutes more.
Coconut Cupcakes, cooling on a wire rack.
  • This recipe makes 30-32 cupcakes (approximately ¼ cup of batter per cupcake)

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

You can use whatever frosting you're in the mood for, but coconut cream cheese frosting is always a great choice!

This simple recipe is based on our classic cream cheese frosting. It is a combination of softened butter and cream cheese, powdered sugar, coconut extract, and a pinch of salt.

It is a very creamy and flavorful frosting, and it pipes great too. Just as with any cream cheese frosting, it is a bit on the softer side and so you can refrigerate your bowl of frosting or piping bag for a few minutes as needed while decorating.

*Cakes and cupcakes frosted with cream cheese frosting should be refrigerated. However, for the best flavor and texture, remove from the fridge a couple of hours before serving. This will allow them to warm and soften.

Decorating the Cupcakes

Anything goes with decorating these cupcakes! We went with simple swirls and shells using a disposable piping bag fitted with a 1M (large star) piping tip.

Another option is to snip the tip off of a disposable piping bag or ziplock bag and pipe your frosting that way, starting in the center and spiraling outward (or vice versa). Top with a sprinkling of sweetened flaked coconut if you'd like!

You may also like to check out our tutorial for piping with a star tip as well as our cupcake decorating tutorial for more cake decorating ideas!

Coconut Cupcakes on a platter.

Recipe FAQs

Yes, because of the coconut cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes should be refrigerated (in an airtight container or cake dome, etc.).

However, for the very best flavor and texture, remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving. This will allow them time to warm and soften.

 

Sweetened coconut is softer and more moist than unsweetened, and so we prefer to use it in our cakes and cupcakes.

Yes! Just as with the majority our cakes and cupcakes, (from butter pecan cupcakes to red velvet cupcakes, lemon velvet cake and more), these cupcakes freeze beautifully- and can be frozen for up to three months!

After baking and cooling the coconut cupcakes, line them up in rows on a sheet cake board or tray. Wrap in a sheet or two of plastic wrap and then wrap tightly in foil. Pop them in the freezer.

To thaw, move the cupcakes (still wrapped) to the kitchen counter. After about 20 minutes or so, loosen or remove the wrapping until ready to frost.

More Coconut Cakes

We've made many coconut cakes (or cake recipes with coconut)over the years! Some of our favorites are Coconut Cream Cake, Italian Cream Cake, Almond Joy Cake, and Pina Colada Cake.

Coconut Cupcakes on a platter.

Coconut Cupcakes

These moist, soft, and fluffy coconut cupcakes have wonderful flavor!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 30
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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter softened (holds it shape but dents when pressed)
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • teaspoons Coconut Extract (10g)
  • 4 eggs, room temperature (If in a hurry, place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.)
  • 3 cups cake flour (342g)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (8g)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (3g)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (3g)
  • cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (54g) We use Canola Oil
  • ¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut (We used Baker's Angel Flake Coconut)

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter softened
  • 16 oz Cream Cheese, softened (This is two 8 oz packages) Use full fat cream cheese.
  • 6 to 6 ½ cups 690g - 747g powdered sugar Start with 6 cups, and adjust to your liking
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract (8g) Adjust amount to your liking.

Instructions

For the Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, add paper cupcake liners to cupcake pan(s)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside
  • In another bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil and coconut extract. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your mixer, add the softened butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each until the yellow of the yolk has blended.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of liquid).
  • Mix just until incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix.
  • Fold in the sweetened flaked coconut.
  • Scoop about ¼ cup bake batter into each cupcake liner (in the cupcake pans)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just few crumbs attached. We like to remove cupcakes immediately from the pans to prevent over-baking. Baking times can vary depending on pan & oven- check at 15 minutes to be on the safe side, but it may take a few minutes more.
  • Makes 30-32 cupcakes (approximately ¼ cup of batter per cupcake)

For the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Add the softened butter to the bowl of your mixer, mix until smooth.
  • Cut the softened cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, mixing until blended.
  • Add the coconut extract.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until well blended.
  • This coconut cream cheese frosting will pipe best if used while still chilled. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly and remix. Do not microwave to soften. If the frosting becomes too soft while using just refrigerate the piping bag or bowl for a short while to firm it up.

Assembly

  • Decorate the cupcakes however you like! Ours are decorated using a disposable piping bag fitted with a large 1M star piping tip. You could also add a bit of sweetened flaked coconut on top if you'd like!

Refrigeration

  • These cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container, sealed bakery box, or under a cake dome in the refrigerator. However, for the very best flavor and texture, remove them from the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving. This will allow the cupcakes time to warm and soften (as cakes and cupcakes containing butter become more firm when chilled).

Notes

Refrigeration & Serving: Because of the cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes need refrigeration. Remove two hours before serving to allow for the frosting and cupcakes to warm and soften.
 
Recipe makes approximately 7 ½ cups batter.

5 from 1 vote

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9 Comments

    1. Hi Carolyn! I would start checking after 10 minutes although they may take a bit longer- hope you enjoy the recipe!

  1. I just have a question, please. I would love to make this recipe but as it is only my husband and myself, should I make a few and freeze the batter or bake them all at once and then freeze? I'm thinking if I freeze the batter, my cupcakes will taste more fresh. your opinion is appreciated. Thank you! 😊

    1. Hi Desi, I've never tried freezing cake batter. I would freeze the cupcakes- we have great results with that, as long as they are tightly wrapped. (They will stay fresh for up to three months.)

  2. just wanted to remind everyone to check the coconut package for sulfites.. Extremely important if anyone eating this cake has asthma

  3. 5 stars
    These cupcakes are delicious, and I'm not even a big coconut fan! Made them for 4th of July and guests were swooning. After eating strawberry shortcake, they couldn't resist the cupcake cuteness, and swooned at the moist, tender cake, and not-too-sweet creamy frosting. The recipe makes a lot, so I halved it to get 16, and it worked out perfectly. Froze for 4 days so they'd be super fresh, and unthawed in the fridge, taking them out 2 hrs before serving. Perfect all around, thank you!