Soft and sweet, these buttery Coconut Cupcakes are filled with toasted coconut and topped with swirls of creamy coconut buttercream frosting.
Perfect Coconut Cupcakes 💙
Soft and tender coconut cakes filled with toasted coconut and topped with swirls of coconut buttercream. Can you even?!
If you love all things coconut and are still fond of the cupcake craze, you’ll fall madly in love with these cupcakes and their fancy pants frosting.
Last year, I published my Coconut Cake recipe, and since then, I’ve been obsessed with coconut cake.
Seriously light and fluffy, with that rich nutty flavour permeating the whole cake, it rivals even the best chocolate cake.
But let’s be real. The magic is in that dreamy, creamy coconut frosting. I mean, just pass me a spoon and I’m done. All finished with a few crisp coconut flakes.
These pretty Coconut Cupcakes are perfect for celebrations like weddings, engagement parties, baby showers and the like. There’s something sort of magical about their cloud-like white appearance.
Why You will love these cupcakes
- Full of coconut flavour
- Use only everyday ingredients (with a few easy substitutions)
- Simple to make yet they look SO impressive
- Perfect for celebrations or parties
HOW TO MAKE COCONUT CUPCAKES
- Start by toasting desiccated coconut on the stove. Place coconut in a shallow frying pan on a low heat and stir occasionally until coconut turns golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly. If you don’t have access to desiccated coconut, you can use shredded coconut instead.
- Ensure your butter is at room temperature. Begin by creaming together butter and caster sugar using an electric mixer. If you don’t have access to caster sugar, you can use granulated sugar here.
- After a minute or two, the butter and sugar should be creamy and pale. It’s then time to add a dash of vanilla extract and an egg. Beat briefly just to combine and then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Next, add flour, baking powder, salt and the toasted coconut. Remember plain flour is the same as all purpose flour.
- And finally, add canned coconut cream – ensuring you’ve given it a good stir before adding. While canned coconut milk is not quite the same (it has a lower fat content), I have tested the recipe with both and either coconut cream or coconut milk are ok to use.
- Beat on a low speed for 30 seconds or so until a creamy cake batter forms. Spoon out cake batter into a 12-hole muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. Bake cupcakes for approximately 18-20 minutes.
Let’s talk coconut buttercream
We love buttercream here at Sweetest Menu. Earlier this year, I shared all my tips and tricks for making perfect vanilla buttercream.
But now there’s a new kid on the block: coconut buttercream. And it just might be my new favourite thing. It’s delightfully smooth and buttery – like a good frosting should be. But the addition of coconut cream makes it FULL of flavour with a lovely, thick texture – perfect for piping.
Tips for making smooth buttercream
- Make sure your butter is at room temperature. You don’t want it fridge cold nor do you want it so soft it’s melty. You should be able to easily press it using your thumb and make an indent.
- Sift your icing sugar. This is crucial to ensuring your buttercream is lovely and smooth. Also add the sugar in batches.
- Add coconut cream sparingly. Because we are piping this buttercream, we want it thick enough to hold its shape. Add coconut cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until your buttercream is thick and smooth. It’s easy to add a little more coconut cream if it’s a bit thick, but hard to take it away! If your frosting is too runny, leave it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so to chill.
Commonly asked questions
Desiccated coconut is dried coconut in small flakes. It is typically unsweetened. It is much finer than shredded coconut. It is not the same as coconut flour. If you don’t have access to desiccated coconut, you can use shredded coconut in this recipe.
Coconut milk and coconut cream are not the same. Coconut cream has a higher fat content and is therefore thicker in consistency and richer in taste. Coconut milk is thinner and more watery in comparison. While I prefer to use coconut cream (because of it’s creaminess) in both the cupcake AND the frosting, coconut milk does still work well.
Here in Australia, our store bought coconut (whether it’s desiccated, shredded or flaked) is typically unsweetened. So that’s what I have used in this recipe.
MORE COCONUT RECIPES
Soft and fluffy Coconut Cupcakes topped with coconut buttercream.
- 50 grams (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut*
- 115 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, roughly chopped
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 210 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) full fat canned coconut cream or coconut milk, stirred
- 170 grams (1.5 sticks) butter, room temperature, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 500 grams (4 cups) icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
- 3–4 tablespoons full fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream, stirred
- Coconut flakes, to decorate
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Add desiccated coconut to a small non-stick frying pan and place on a low heat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until coconut turns golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat together using an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add vanilla and egg and beat briefly until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder, salt and toasted coconut. Then add coconut cream. Beat on a low speed until a thick and creamy cake batter forms. Don’t over mix.
- Spoon out cake batter into your prepared liners and bake for approximately 18-20 minutes or until golden. Leave cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Add butter to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until your butter is smooth and creamy. There should be no lumps.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and beat briefly to combine. Then add 125 grams (1 cup) sugar. Beat on a low speed to combine, then turn up the speed to medium and mix for 30 seconds or so. Mixture should be thick and appear a little dry – this is fine.
- Next, add 250 grams (2 cups) sugar, along with 2 tablespoons of coconut cream. Beat on medium speed until mixture is thick and creamy.
- Finally, add remaining 125 grams (1 cup) sugar and beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Buttercream should be lovely and thick at this stage with no lumps.
- If the buttercream is too thick, add an extra tablespoon or two of coconut cream. To finish, remove your mixer, and give your buttercream a good stir by hand using a spatula – this helps to eliminate any air bubbles.
- Transfer your buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Frost swirls of buttercream onto each cupcake. Sprinkle over flaked coconut.
Desiccated coconut: If you don’t have access to desiccated coconut, you can use shredded coconut instead.