If you’re a fan of coconut, you’ll definitely want to try these delicious coconut cupcakes! Made from scratch with plenty of coconut flakes, and topped with luscious cream cheese frosting these treats are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
This recipe is inspired by the Ina Garten coconut cupcakes from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Truth be told, they didn’t turn out great the first time around, but after several tweaks, they were perfect!
They have a similar texture to pound cake, and are nice and moist instead of being light and crumbly. And of course they have great coconut flavor.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THESE COCONUT CUPCAKES
- Unlike other coconut cupcake recipes I’ve tried, they actually have coconut in the batter, not just coconut cream or coconut flavoring. I love texture of the coconut, not to mention the flavor!
- Ina’s recipe calls for buttermilk, but I like the texture a bit better with yogurt or sour cream.
- When I made the original recipe, the cupcakes overflowed. Now I know to only fill the cups 1/2 or 2/3 full, and they turn out perfect!
- Butter adds great flavor, but the oil helps keep the cupcakes nice and moist.
- A blend of vanilla, almond, and coconut extract gives them an amazing flavor!
- The frosting, oh the frosting. Can you go wrong with cream cheese frosting?
- Toasted coconut on top. Seriously, toasting it makes it oh so yummy, and adds a perfect crunch that compliments the creamy frosting. Delish!
For moist cupcakes, oil is better than butter. Since oil is liquid at room temperature, it keeps baked goods more moist than butter, which is a solid.
Adding buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, or applesauce is another way to make sure your cupcakes will be moist.
And of course, don’t over-bake them! Even a perfect recipe will yield dry cupcakes if you bake them too long.
HOW TO MAKE COCONUT CUPCAKES
- PREP – Let your butter and cream cheese soften to room temperature on the counter. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Fill 16 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.
- WET INGREDIENTS – In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, oil, and sugar with a hand mixer until creamy. Beat in the eggs, yogurt, and extracts.
Note – I was making this recipe x 1 1/2 for a large group, hence the 3 eggs in the photo. 😉
- DRY INGREDIENTS – In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir gently into the wet ingredients. Fold in the 1 cup of coconut flakes.
- FILL LINERS – Scoop the batter evenly into the 16 muffin cups. (I like to use a large cookie scoop.) Don’t overfill.
- BAKE – Bake at 400° just for 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350°, then bake for another 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned and set in the middle.
- COOL – Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove to wire racks. Let them cool completely before frosting, or the frosting will melt.
- TOAST COCONUT – I like to toast my coconut as soon as I take the cupcakes out of the oven. Spread it into a pie tin or baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Watch closely!
- FROSTING – Beat the soft butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. You may need more or less powdered sugar depending on if you are piping or spreading the frosting.
- DECORATE – After frosting the cupcakes, sprinkle the tops with toasted coconut.
- For best results, let your butter and cream cheese soften on the counter at room temperature instead of using the microwave, which can lead to lumps.
- Cooking the cupcakes at high heat for the first few minutes helps the edges rise and set, so your cupcakes will round nicely instead of flattening out onto the muffin tin.
- Use full fat cream cheese for the frosting if you are piping it on. The lower fat version is softer, so it only works for spreading frosting.
- Don’t be tempted to make larger cupcakes. If you overfill the cups, the batter spills over the sides.
- Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting, and make sure the toasted coconut is cool before using it for garnish.
VARIATIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS:
- I have used buttermilk, sour cream, and plain yogurt all with good results. I think greek yogurt would work fine as well.
- You can replace the butter with coconut oil, but I like the texture and flavor of butter better.
- I definitely like sweetened coconut for this recipe, but if you don’t like things as sweet, you could try unsweetened flaked coconut in the batter. I wouldn’t use it on top of the frosting though.
- Don’t overmix the batter. The original recipe called for beating the butter and sugar for 5 minutes, and beating in the buttermilk alternately with the dry ingredients. I tried that, and my cupcakes didn’t rise well.
- If you like, you can also toast the coconut that goes inside the cupcakes. I loved the flavor of it, but I think the cupcakes are prettier without toasting.
STORING LEFTOVER COCONUT CUPCAKES
These cupcakes are definitely best served at room temperature, so that’s how I store them. I’ve kept them on my counter in an airtight container for up to three days with no problems.
That being said, some people like to refrigerate cream cheese frosting. If you do refrigerate your cupcakes, you will need to let them sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before serving. Otherwise both the cupcake and the frosting are hard.
If you know you won’t be eating all of the cupcakes, you can store the cupcakes at room temperature and the frosting in the refrigerator. Just let the frosting come to room temperature, then pipe it on.
You can freeze either the cupcakes or the frosting, but I recommend freezing them separately in heavy duty freezer bags. They will last up to 3 months.
MORE TASTY CUPCAKES:
- Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
- Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
- Butterscotch Cupcakes
- Cherry Limeade Cupcakes
- Peanut Butter Cupcakes
- Carrot Cupcakes
COCONUT CUPCAKE RECIPE
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp coconut flavoring
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 6 oz soft cream cheese
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar (approximately)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp toasted coconut (for sprinkling on top)
- Let your butter and cream soften at room temperature for a few hours.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Beat the butter, oil, and sugar in a large bowl on high speed until creamy.
- Add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, almond, and coconut extracts and mix well.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
- Stir in the dry ingredients just until flour is moistened. Fold in the 1 cup of coconut.
- Line muffin pans with 16 paper liners. Fill each liner about 1/2- 2/3 full.
- Bake at 400°for just 5 minutes.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 350° and bake for another 11-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
- While cupcakes cool, toast the 2 tablespoons of coconut. Spread it in a pie tin or small baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- Pipe or spread cooled cupcakes with frosting and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
- For frosting: Beat soft cream cheese and butter in a bowl until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients and add powdered sugar till it is the consistency you need. If you are spreading on the frosting, you may not need all the powdered sugar. If piping it on, you may need to add a bit more.
-Depending on the temperature of your butter and cream cheese, your frosting may not be thick enough to pipe. If it isn't, just cover it and pop it in the fridge until it thickens.
-A blend of vanilla, almond, and coconut extracts really does taste the best, but you can just use 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. You can also use 1 tsp coconut extract instead of using the almond.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn a small amount from your purchase, no cost to you.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 210mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 29gProtein: 3g
This coconut cupcakes recipe is perfect for Easter, but really they are tasty any time of year!