These delicious Coconut Cupcakes are moist, soft, and full of coconut flavor. I use the reverse creaming method for the cupcake batter which produces a delicate soft crumb and a level top when they're baked. The cupcake batter is made with coconut milk, giving the cupcakes an all natural coconut flavor, then they're topped with a soft, creamy coconut frosting also made with coconut milk. It's a double dose of coconut in these melt-in-your-mouth cupcakes that will have your family asking for more.
- Why This Recipe Tastes So Good
- Ingredients for Coconut Cupcakes
- How to Make Coconut Cupcakes
- How to Make Coconut Buttercream Frosting
- How to Frost the Cupcakes
- How to Store Coconut Cupcakes
- Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
- If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
- Coconut Cupcakes
My mother loves coconut. Coconut cake, coconut cream pie, and every year I make her a coconut cake for her birthday. One year we decided to add coconut cupcakes to the mix and these were a hit at the party. If you love coconut you’re absolutely going to love these cupcakes. If you’d like to make a coconut cake instead of cupcakes try this Coconut Cake Recipe.
Why This Recipe Tastes So Good
The basis for these cupcakes is my Vanilla Cupcake recipe which I tested multiple times to ensure fluffy cupcakes with a nice rise and a moist flavorful interior.
For these cupcakes, part of the butter is replaced by the fat in the coconut milk. The combination of coconut fat and butter fat produces a moist and tender cupcake. Using the reverse cream method reduces the development of gluten, so the cupcakes stay soft and tender. These are the perfect cupcakes for birthday parties or when you want a little treat.
Ingredients for Coconut Cupcakes
Here is what you’ll need for this easy Coconut cupcake recipe:
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: Flour provides the structure for the cupcake
- Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness and helps ensure moist cupcakes.
- Unsalted Butter: Adds fat, flavor, and moisture to the cupcake. I recommend using unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in the final bake. Some recipes use vegetable oil, but you'll love the taste of butter in these cupcakes.
- Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is the main flavor component instead of coconut extract. Make sure to use full-fat coconut milk for this recipe and not reduced-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. The amount of butter for this recipe was reduced to account for the fat in the coconut milk. For a 14-ounce can the nutritional label should say 11 percent fat.
- Baking Powder: The baking powder helps the cupcakes rise once they hit the heat of the oven.
- Large Eggs: The egg yolks provide flavor and fat helping to create a soft cupcake. The egg whites provide structure to the cupcake.
- Kosher Salt: A little salt elevates all the other flavors.
How to Make Coconut Cupcakes
Before you start mixing make sure the butter and eggs are at room temperature. For baking purposes, room temperature is between 65 - 68F degrees. The fat in the coconut milk often solidifies at the top of the can so place the top of the can in warm water to melt the coconut fat before opening the can.
For this cupcake recipe and most of my other cupcake recipes, I use the reverse creaming method. This method creates a light, airy fluffy cupcake with a level top that is perfect for decorating.
In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and 1/3 cup of the coconut milk. Line the muffin pan with paper liners.
Place the dry ingredients - all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment mix the dry ingredients on low speed until there are combined. Add the butter and the remaining coconut milk and mix on medium speed just until the cupcake batter is creamy about 1 minute. Be careful not to overmix the batter, which could result in a sunken cupcake. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Add the egg mixture in two batches beating after each addition until the eggs are incorporated.
Divide the cupcake batter between the 12 cupcake liners. Each cupcake should be about 2/3 full and the amount of batter should weigh about 60 grams in each liner.
Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes. The tops will be light golden brown and slightly domed. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Let them cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling to room temperate before frosting them.
How to Make Coconut Buttercream Frosting
This frosting is the best creamy coconut frosting you'll ever taste. Because of the coconut milk, it has a delicious sweet coconut flavor with the richness of regular buttercream.
The frosting contains the following ingredients.
- Granulated Sugar. Adds sweetness to the frosting
- Flour and Cornstarch. The flour and cornstarch thicken the slurry and help give it a nice creamy texture.
- Coconut Milk. Coconut milk is the flavor bomb in this recipe. If you don't have coconut milk you can use regular whole milk.
- Kosher Salt. The salt balances the sweetness of the recipe.
- Unsalted Butter. The butter gives this frosting its rich, creamy texture.
Combine all the ingredients except the butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook these ingredients over medium heat whisking constantly until the mixture is thickened.
Cool the slurry to room temperature, before adding it to the whipped butter. Once the butter and slurry are combined, whip it with the whisk attachment for about 8 minutes on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.
The flour slurry can be made the night before and chilled. Once it is thoroughly cooked, put it in a heatproof bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and chill. Before combining it with the whipped butter bring it to room temperature, warm it slightly over a pan of simmering water and stir until it becomes more fluid and is about 68-72°F.
This frosting is so good and so easy to make, that if you've never made it before, I think it will become a new favorite.
How to Frost the Cupcakes
Once your coconut cupcakes are cooled to room temperature, it’s time to frost them. Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcake with a piping bag and my favorite Wilton 1M Tip. Other frosting or buttercream options include:
After frosting the cupcakes top the buttercream with coconut flakes or sweetened shredded coconut, toasted or untoasted.
How to Store Coconut Cupcakes
Store unfrosted cupcakes at room temperature for up to 2 days in an airtight container. Store the cupcakes at room temperature for 1 to 2 days after frosting them.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- For the best results weigh the flour and the butter. Too much flour or too little butter will result in dry cupcakes. Using a scale will ensure the best results for your cupcakes.
- The butter and eggs should be a room temperature to ensure that the batter emulsifies properly. Cold butter won’t fully incorporate and cold eggs will result in a dense rubbery texture.
- Don’t overfill the cupcake liners. The cupcakes will overflow when baked and possibly stick to the pan.
- Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting them. Otherwise, the frosting will melt and slide off to the side.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make these cupcakes up to 2 days in advance. Store them at room temperature in an airtight container.
If your cupcakes are dry it is most likely because you added too much flour.
If your cupcakes sank in the center it may be because you overmixed the batter, added too much baking powder, or used coconut milk that had a much higher fat content.
If the cupcakes are dense it may be because you used cold eggs, overmixed the batter, or used too much flour.
If you make these coconut cupcakes please leave a rating and a comment below. And if you would like to be notified of the latest recipes, subscribe to the Baking Newsletter.
If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 2/3 cups (212 grams) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (114 grams) unsalted butter room temperature (65-68 degrees F)
- 2/3 cup (161 grams) coconut milk room temperature (65-68 degrees F)
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs room temperature
Coconut Ermine Frosting
- 5 teaspoons (14 grams) cornstarch
- 1-1/2 tablespoons (15 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (180 grams) coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 14 tablespoons (197 grams) unsalted butter room temperature (65-68 degrees F)
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Line the muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- The fat in coconut milk tends to solidify at the top of the can. To ensure a homogenous mixture, place the can of coconut milk upside down in a container of hot water to melt this solid layer of coconut fat. When you open the can, stir the milk to ensure it is well combined before measuring out 2/3 cup for this recipe.
- In a small bowl combine the eggs and 1/3 of the coconut milk and whisk the ingredients together. Cut the butter into 8 pieces.
- Add the sugar, all-purpose flour, the kosher salt and the baking powder to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment mix the dry ingredients on medium-low for 30 seconds to thoroughly combine them. Add the butter and remaining coconut milk and mix on medium speed until the butter and coconut milk are thoroughly incorporated and the batter is creamy, about 1 minute. Be careful not to overmix. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the egg mixture in two batches, mixing on medium speed until the egg mixture is thoroughly incorporated each time. Scrape the sides and bottoms of the bowl and fold the batter by hand to ensure all the batter is mixed together.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups of the muffin pan, about 60 grams each. Each muffin tin should be about 2/3 full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until they are done. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan to a wire rack. Let the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.
- If making the cupcakes one day in advance before frosting them, store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature.
For the Coconut Ermine Frosting
- This recipe makes 3 cups of frosting, enough to frost 12 cupcakes.
- In a 3 or 4-quart nonreactive pan whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk the in the coconut milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping the corners of the saucepan, until the mixture boils and is very thick, about 6-10 minutes. When the mixture starts to boil whisk it for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a wide bowl or glass pie plate and let cool completely, about 2 hours.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter (which should be between 65-68 degrees F) on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-minutes. Turn off the mixer, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the cooled coconut milk-flour mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
How to Decorate the Cupcakes
- Using a Pastry Bag: Fit your pastry bag with a open star tip or your favorite decorating tip and fill it with frosting. Starting at the outside edge of the cupcake, pipe frosting in a swirl with the tip about 1/4" to 1/2" above the cupcake, exerting even pressure on the bag continuously. Finish the swirl in the center of the cupcake by removing the pressure and lifting up the tip slightly as you near the center. If you’re new to decorating cupcakes it may take some practice.
- Using a Knife or Offset Spatula: Use a large tablespoon to add about 2 tablespoons of frosting onto the cupcake. Use the back of a spoon, a non-serrated butter knife, or a small offset spatula to spread the frosting to the edge. While pressing down on the frosting slightly, move your spoon or knife in a spiral pattern from the outside edge of the cupcake to the center of the cupcake, to create a pretty spiral or swoop.
- Top the frosting with sweetened shredded coconut.
How to Store the Cupcakes
- Once the cupcakes are cooled to room temperature, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days. Once the cupcakes are frosted, they can sit at room temperature for up to one day. The cupcakes taste best if consumed the same they are frosted.