Soft and moist Coconut Cupcakes are made from scratch with three different kinds of coconut for the best possible taste and texture! Topped with an easy coconut cream cheese frosting and more shredded coconut, these cupcakes always get rave reviews!
Table of Contents
When I took these coconut cupcakes to a church function along with a few other varieties of homemade cupcakes, these were the ones that everybody was talking about and asking for the recipe. Even non-coconut lovers were proclaiming a change of heart over the delicious taste of these coconut cupcakes!
They are super soft and moist thanks to the sour cream in the batter which also helps balance out the sweetness of the coconut. And rather than use regular milk in the batter, I opted to use coconut milk instead for even more flavor. It's one of my pantry staples that I always keep on hand and is so good for baking.
I debated whether to use toasted coconut in this coconut cupcakes recipe but ultimately decided to stick with the sweet, white look and moist texture of shredded sweetened coconut to decorate the tops of the fluffy cupcakes instead.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Butter - I always use salted butter in my baking, but if you only have unsalted butter you can just add an extra pinch of salt to make up for the difference.
- Sugar - Granulated sugar keeps the cupcake batter light and powdered sugar is used for the coconut cream cheese frosting.
- Flour - Regular all-purpose flour works just find for these cupcakes but cake flour can also be used.
- Coconut milk - I prefer using full-fat coconut milk for the best texture and flavor.
- Shredded sweetened coconut
- Vanilla extract
- Coconut extract
- Sour cream
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Cream cheese - We love this in our frosting for these cupcakes because it balances the sweetness of the coconut perfectly.
- Almond extract - Just a little bit of this extract compliments the coconut flavor without overpowering it.
- Heavy cream or milk
How to Make Coconut Cupcakes
Cream butter and sugar. Use an electric mixer or hand mixer to beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Add egg whites, one whole egg, vanilla, and coconut extract. Beat again, stopping to scrape the bowl, until thoroughly mixed.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently mix the batter on low speed to incorporate the dry ingredients but don't overmix. The batter will be thick.
Stir in coconut milk and sour cream. Keep the mixer on low speed while adding these ingredients so it doesn't splatter. Stop again scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl one last time.
Stir in coconut. Mix just until the coconut is evenly distributed throughout the batter. This can be done with the mixer or by hand.
Divide batter between paper liners. Line a cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners and use a large cookie scoop to evenly fill the liners about ⅔ full with the coconut cupcake batter.
Bake. Pop the cupcakes in a 350°F oven for 18-22 minutes until they are a light golden brown on top and baked through. Be careful not to overbake or the cupcakes will turn out dry.
Make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat softened butter and cream cheese until creamy and light. Add the powdered sugar and extracts, beating again for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Be sure to stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add additional cream or milk only if needed to get a nice spreadable consistency to the coconut frosting.
Decorate. Spread a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake first. No need to be too fastidious about how they look because it will end up covered in coconut. I like to use my small cookie scoop to top each cupcake with a dollop of frosting, then spread it around with a knife for easy, consistent results.
Top with coconut. Press the frosted tops of each cupcake into a bowl of shredded sweetened coconut flakes to finish.
My favorite test is to bounce my finger on the top of the cupcakes. If it leaves an indentation then the cupcakes haven't baked long enough. If the top springs right back, the cupcakes are done. You can also test them with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.
Yes! If you prefer the drier texture of toasted coconut, you can certainly use it either in the cupcake batter, or to decorate the tops of the cupcakes, or both.
Tips for Success
- Use room temperature ingredients. This might sound finicky but it really does make a difference! You can speed things up a bit by softening butter for 10-15 seconds in the microwave and placing eggs in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes. You will notice rounder tops and better, moist crumbs from more even baking with room temperature ingredients.
- Don't overbake. Like so many baked goods, one of the biggest problems leading to dry cupcakes is overbaking. If anything I would err on pulling them out of the oven a minute early rather than overbaking by a minute so they stay nice and moist.
What is the Best Frosting for Coconut Cupcakes?
The coconut buttercream frosting really takes the coconut flavor to the next level, but it's a great flavor to pair with other frostings to create something special and new! Chocolate and coconut are a great, classic pairing, as are coconut with fruity flavors like strawberry, raspberry, lemon, or guava.
How to Store
Store the cupcakes at room temperature for 3-4 days. Even though it is a cream cheese frosting, the sugar will help preserve them on the counter. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Can I freeze coconut cupcakes?
Yes, these cupcakes freeze well. You can either freeze the undecorated cupcakes and frosting separately, then decorate before serving by thawing completely and beating the frosting again until it is a smooth, spreadable consistency, or go ahead and decorate and freeze the cupcakes individually before wrapping them in plastic wrap and storing in an airtight, freezer-safe container.
More Cupcake Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
- ½ cup salted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 whole large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled (188g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- ¾ cup salted butter, room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners and set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light. Add egg whites, egg, vanilla extract, and coconut extract and beat again, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed just until combined.
- Add coconut milk and sour cream, mixing on low speed and stopping again to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Stir in the sweetened shredded coconut until evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
- Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full about bake for 18-22 minutes. To test for doneness, bounce a finger lightly on the top of the cupcakes. If it bounces right back, the cupcakes are done. If it leaves an indentation, they may need to bake for another minute or two longer. Cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, beat the softened butter and cream cheese until creamy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, coconut extract, and almond extract, then beat again for 2-3 minutes until light. Add heavy cream or milk only as needed to reach a spreadable consistency.
- Top each cooled cupcake with a generous amount of frosting, then press the frosting into shredded coconut to decorate. Enjoy!
- Storage: You can keep the cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Even though it is a cream cheese frosting, the sugar will help preserve them on the counter. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing: Freeze the undecorated cupcakes and frosting separately, then decorate before serving by thawing completely and beating the frosting again until it is a smooth, spreadable consistency. Or decorate and freeze the cupcakes individually before wrapping them in plastic wrap and storing in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freezing for up to 1 month.
- Toasted Coconut Cupcakes: If you prefer the drier texture of toasted coconut, you can certainly use it either in the cupcake batter, or to decorate the tops of the cupcakes, or both.