What if I do not want the desiccated coconut. How does that change the amounts in this recipe?
Hi Jerome, I haven’t made this recipe without the desiccated coconut. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you.
I just made these as part of a pull apart cupcake cake for my daughter’s first birthday (the other kind was chocolate – also a recipe from this site!). I didn’t make the icing as listed, I made a buttercream one for both kinds of cupcakes. They were fabulous – light and coconutty, but not super sweet. I received quite a few compliments. I will be making these again.
This does translate well to a 2 layer cake as well! I make it with “drunken pineapples” in between (pineapples cooked in coconut rum). My absolute favorite!!
If I am using unsweetened coconut would you toast it first? Add more sugar?
Could pure coconut butter be substituted for dairy butter in the frosting recipe?
Hi Margo, I don’t know if you can do a straight substitution. You might be better off searching for a frosting recipe that was designed to use coconut butter.
How long can these be stored in an airtight container? The top of my cupcakes have bubbles on the cream cheese frosting so I am tossing them out because I am assuming they are no longer good lol
Hi Veronica, a couple of days? If bubbles are forming on the frosting that weren’t there before I would say probably not a good idea to eat.
I’m trying these for the first time, recipe states makes 20 is that 20 large or mini cup cakes.
How many oz would 1 can of coconut milk yield for this recipe?
Not sure. I would follow the recipe as it is originally before deviating. ~Garrett
Oh yumyumyum! I didn’t know what to do with the rest of the coconut milk in the can (I’m filling my gems with a mango curd and topping them with a mango buttercream) so I reduced the whole can down to one cup over the stove. The coconut flavor is wonderful! They are light and moist. And it made exactly twenty cupcakes. Perfect all around! Thanks Elise and Garrett! Another hit!
I used your recipe for some cupcakes I was selling to someone for a baby shower. The same person has now ordered a cake for her daughter’s birthday. I just took the cake layers out of the oven. (I did 2 – 6 inch layers and 2 – 8 inch layers using 3 recipes of batter. I think 2 1/2 recipes would have been perfect.) They look great! I’m going to fill them with chocolate ganache. Thanks for the great recipe!
This one really sounds yummy, but is there anything to substitute the eggs with as I dont eat eggs?
I suggest looking for a vegan recipe as there isn’t a proper substitute for eggs. ~Garrett
Not only are these the best coconut cupcakes, but without the shredded coconut they are also the best vanilla cupcakes. I used cake flour and they were delicious!
I was wondering if the butter can replaced with something else?
I wouldn’t suggest it. I think that if you’re making cupcakes you need to commit to the fact that they aren’t health food. ;) ~Garrett
Do you think I can make these without the addition of sugar? I would like to use this recipe to make cake pops. In order for the cake pops to stay together, they must be bound with frosting before formed into balls, which adds A LOT to the sweetness. What do you think?
No clue. I’ve never made a cake pop before. ~Garrett
I would like to make this as a bundt cake – what do you recommend for baking time?
No idea. I would check other bundt cake recipes and go by those. ~Garrett
I have some unsweetened dried coconut flakes that I would like to use in this recipe. Do you recommend that I rehydrate them or just use them as is and increase the sugar a little bit? Thanks!
I think you can just do a straight substitution. ~Garrett
May I know how many cupcakes will this recipe makes? Will it affect the texture, taste etc., if I cut the recipe by half as I would like to bake about only twelve cupcakes?
The recipes notes that it makes 20 cupcakes. If you cut it in half you will have ten cupcakes. Halving the recipe won’t affect the outcome. ~Garrett
Any idea if I can use coconut oil in place of butter for the frosting? I’m trying to make a faux cream cheese frosting with Tofutti cream cheese and coconut oil since my kids are allergic to milk products. Thanks.
I have no idea. I’ve never made dairy-free frosting. However, Elena over at Elena’s Pantry has a dairy-free, vegan coconut cream frosting recipe that I’ve heard is quite amazing. ~Garrett
These cupcakes are absolutely phenomenal. They’re yummy and moist with a subtle coconutty flavor. I always reduce the sugar to 2/3 cups and they come out delicious every time!
Great coconut cupcakes! These were delicious! My friends loved them! Rich and tasty, and one is enough. They’re very moist and light cupcakes. Very gourmet. I added the leftover coconut milk to the cream cheese frosting, and it was delicious!
I have been looking for a recipe that produce perfect, excellent results. This was a little too sweet for the average sweet-tooth, but I am above average.
I substitutes 1/4 cup flour for some coconut flour and added an additional 1/4 cup of coconut milk. I then baked the batter in muffin tins for 23 minutes. Delicious! Many, many thanks!
I just had to try this recipe. I LOVE coconut! I made some adjustments like using cake flour instead of all purpose flour, and used some coconut extract as well as vanilla in the batter. For the icing I just used a whole 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar and thinned the icing a bit with some of the leftover coconut milk. I made mini cupcakes and they turned out fantastic! I was going to take these to work but now I’m thinking I don’t want to share :P
Made these a few days ago – yum. Love the coconut taste in the actual cake as well as in the frosting. Thanks for another great recipe, Garrett!
I’m curious about the icing. I am going to make coconut cupcakes for my sisters baby shower but I need an icing that can really hold up. I want the tops to be big and fluffy and be able to hold a white fudge duck. Will this icing do the trick or should I try something different? Can’t wait to try them :)
They should be fine. If you are a bit worried then add a bit more sugar to the recipe to make it stiffer. ~Garrett
These cupcakes are truly divine. I have made them a couple of times and they are gone before the evening is out. I have given the recipe out so many times and always turns out for everyone. One thing for sure is load up the cupcakes with the entire batch of icing…it tastes totally delish!!!!
I’m a big follower of your blog and usually get all my recipes from you. I want to use this recipe to make a coconut cake instead of cupcakes. Are there any substitutions I need to make to convert this to a cake recipe?
You will need to increase the baking time to about 30-45 minutes. Other than that the recipe needs no alterations. ~Garrett
Try your recipe yesterday and I would rate this as a perfect 10! Though I had made some adjustment, I combine around 70/30 all purpose flour and coconut flour…next time will try to substitute suger with coconut sap(sugar) and a little bit of pandan leaves for that extra smell. Will update you on the outcome but for now, my cupcake didnt last the next day. It was gone before night fall. thanks for sharing.
Just made these cupcakes a few minutes ago. I let it cool first and ate a piece before I apply frosting on it. It came out really good! I even used unbleached All-Purpose flour (the only flour I have left after the holiday baking!). Followed almost all of the ingredients except for the sweetened desiccated coconut. Instead of 1/2 cup, I added 1 and 1/4 cup which turned out awesome! I can taste more coconut in the cake… And I wont put anymore desiccated coconut on the frosting…
Might be using a different frosting though…
Really delicious. All visitors to my home request I make these goodies. Thanks for this divine recipe. TIP to all you fellow brits out there… as measurments are by cups and not by our own weight usage, your local £1 store are selling sets of cups to use with recipes.
I’m looking forward to trying this recipe – sounds lovely. As for Judith’s comment, using 2 cups of coconut flour with 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (if I’m interpreting your comment correctly) would be ishy, I’m sure. Especially if you didn’t add the additional liquid that coconut flour requires. I haven’t had any luck with complete or major coconut to wheat flour substitutions, even when I follow the directions on my Bob Mill’s bag.
I’ll be back with a more helpful review after I make these gems for Thanksgiving. :)
This is an excellent recipe which I made for a family dinner on the weekend. Made as directed, apart from using an 8×8 pyrex pan instead of making cupcakes. I was particularly impressed with the fine crumb of the cake, and also the prominent coconut flavour. Everyone enjoyed dessert and I will certainly add this recipe to my collection. Thank you, Garrett and Elise.
I recently made a batch of these cupcakes!! They came out delicious and I will make them again. I tweaked the recipe to my taste and I’m just in love!! Thanks for sharing!!
Sometimes when I make vegan desserts I refrigerate a can of coconut milk and skim the solid off the top to use in place of fats and heavy cream. Do you think I could replace the butter in the frosting recipe with this coconut fat?
Also we have lactose issues in our house as well but can do goat and sheep’s milk… so I substitute goat cheese for cream cheese in frosting recipes–it’s really good!
Thanks for this recipe, I have a friend that requested coconut cake for her birthday and this will definitely fit the bill!
No idea. But if you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you. I’m intrigued. ~Elise
Would coconut water work? I’m having trouble finding the milk.
No, you need coconut milk. The water doesn’t have any fat in it. ~Garrett
I don’t like cupcakes, but I love to make them. Weird, I know. That being said, these were the BEST cupcakes I have ever made! Delicious! I ate three still hot from the oven. This is unheard of from me.
One change I made was that I added some coconut cream and extract to the frosting and did not add shredded coconut because I wanted to pipe a pretty pattern and not have chunks in it. I threw some toasted coconut on top. Again…INSANE GOOD!
My experience with this recipe has two rounds:
Round 1: As I went upstairs to call my boyfriend after taking the cupcakes out of the oven, I tasted the “runt” cupcake (the smallest one made with the end of the batter). It was delicious, even without the frosting. I left the rest in the kitchen on the cooling rack, planning to frost them later. By the time I finished my phone call, a mere 40 minutes later, every last one of the cupcakes were GONE!!! My family had eaten them ALL!!! WITHOUT THE FROSTING!!! But I was determined to make the entire recipe from start to finish, so I made them again a week later.
Round 2: This time, I ate the runt cupcake downstairs, and guarded the cooling ones. I accidentally added a splash of imitation cherry flavoring to this batch (just grabbed the wrong bottle and freaked when I saw pink liquid splashing onto my precious batter), but it ended up being a nice addition. While this recipe is nothing short of pure genius, I might recommend a lil’ cherry in your cupcakes. Anyway, for the frosting I also substituted soy cream cheese (we have a little lactose problem), and added a teaspoon of vanilla extract. The result (which finally came to fruition thanks to my vigilance) was the most divine, light, fluffy, delicious batch of coconut cupcakes EVER!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. (By the way, the second batch also only lasted 40 minutes…again. *sigh*)
I’ve been to a couple of markets looking for “dessicated coconut” to no avail. Is this the same as the “normal” flaked coconut, i.e., Baker’s coconut? I am making these cupcakes for a party this weekend and would like to know ASAP. Thanks all!
Go for shredded then (same thing). Flaked is often dry and bland in my opinion. However, if you can only find flaked then just run with it. ~Garrett
I am going to try this recipe this week! Since I don’t keep all purpose flour in the house, I was wondering if I can sub with whole wheat pastry flour?
You can, but the resulting cake will be much denser and, of course, have a whole wheat flavor. ~Garrett
Looks really good!
Could you use frozen grated coconut instead of desiccated coconut?
The recipe requires sweetened desiccated coconut, which has a higher sugar (and therefore moisture) content than plain grated coconut. They are generally not interchangeable in baking recipes. ~Elise
I made these a while back and they were AMAZING!!! My family loved them. Would like to make this as a layer cake for my daughter’s birthday next week. Any suggestions on how to make it into a layer cake? Thanks for another wonderful recipe.
You’ll need a longer baking time. ~Garrett
Tried this recipe last night with a few friends. LOVED the recipe and the coconut cream adds a nice touch. Most other recipes just have you incorporate chopped coconut which can get too sweet. Not sure if it’s supposed to be like this, but they also came out dense, which I didn’t mind. The only thing that I would change is to reduce the salt to 1/4 tsp.
I would definitely bake these again!
Michelle, these cupcakes are dense due to the coconut milk. No worries. =) ~Garrett
My friend started a cupcake business, and just to help her out, I ordered some coconut cupcakes from her. They were so good, I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Just sooo creamy and coconutty.
I wanted to see if I could reproduce them, so I tried this recipe. Unfortunately, when I made them, they turned out very dense. Maybe I overbeat them? I also think there is waaaay too much butter in the frosting. If I try this again, I’ll go with a more traditional cream cheese frosting. Also, I wonder if coconut extract (do they make that?) would kick up the coconut flavor a notch.
These are fairly dense cupcakes. If you liked your friend’s version, why don’t you ask her for the recipe or some tips? ~Elise
I don’t think I’ve ever had coconut cupcakes before and I have to admit that at first taste I was a little disappointed. I wanted a much stronger hit of coconut, I think. These are lovely and subtle, but I still wonder if there isn’t a way I could intensify the flavor a bit more.
I made these for my mom’s bday this week and she LOVED them – her grandma used to make her a coconut cake every year for her bday, so this year I gave it a try. They were delish! Could you tell me how to convert this into a recipe for two 9″ round cake pans? Wanna do it for another birthday in a couple weeks. Thanks!
I would increase the baking time to about 35-40 minutes, maybe. Keep an eye on it. ~Garrett
Would someone pls tell me how to store these cupcakes? At room temperature or in the fridge?
Ruby, store them in an airtight container in the fridge, then bring them to room temperature before eating. ~Garrett
I made these cupcakes today for my nieces birthday. I am a big coconut lover and they were amazing. The coconut milk made the cake incredibly moist. They were a big hit and looked beautiful displayed on a cupcake tower stand with fresh floowers atop each one. Everyone loved them. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
I have a can of something called “cream of coconut” in my pantry. Can I use it in place of the coconut milk?
Coconut milk is diluted coconut cream. The coconut cream has lots of oils, fats, sugars, and so on. Coconut cream shouldn’t be used in place of coconut milk. ~Garrett
These cupcakes are amazing! I just made them for a friend’s birthday picnic and they were a hit. Thanks, Elise and Garrett!
We recently discovered your blog and we LOVE it. Wow, your work is amazing. This recipe was our first recipe that we tried from your blog. We posted our pics on our blog. They were delicious! We noticed that when we refridgerated them the next day you could really taste the butter in the frosting. Well, anywho, we will continue to check your blog out weekly!
Bring the cupcakes to room temperature first. As the two main ingredients are butter and sugar though, it shouldn’t be a surprise. ;) ~Garrett
These cupcakes were wonderful moist, and full of coconut flavor. However the frosting was quite a bit buttery and the butter used could be tasted. The butter overpowered the cream cheese and coconut taste. When I make this next time I will use 2 tbsp of butter not 8.
Made these for my sister’s birthday as she’s a huge coconut fan. They were a big hit! Nice, dense, and sweet with coconut in every bite!
I gave this receipe to my daughter who loves to bake. She now makes them all the time. So when we went to visit her she had make them for us. Fantastic. Although she has a different cream cheese frosting that she likes. I would prefer it a little less sweet.
Can one substitute cake flour in equal proportions to regular flour?
No, cake flour is different from all-purpose. ~Garrett
I made these cupcakes last night and I, too, found that the frosting was a little off for me. Like Nikki had said, it doesn’t taste like cream cheese frosting. I also found the cupcakes really dense. They almost turned out to be the texture of moist scones. Maybe I should’ve substituted cake flour for this? Otherwise, the coconut flavour was really yummy–turns out my brother-in-law loves coconut AND cream cheese =).
Be sure to taste the frosting as you go, use less or more sugar, and if you are concerened, start with less butter. Each person has a different preference for how they like it. =) ~Garrett
I made these on the weekend for a potluck dinner – they were definitely a hit. They were made to direction, except I did not use unsalted butter, nor sweetened dessicated coconut. Just the regular version of each. One comment though, mine yielded only 18 cupcakes – though I do tend to make them slightly on the larger size. Additionally, the frosting recipe definitely provided more than enough for each. So you may even consider halving the recipe, if you don’t want to drown each one in frosting!
These are AWESOME!! I made them for a going away party and made mini cupcakes. They were such a huge hit, I am making them again today for a family BBQ. Although, it’s been requested that I make regular sized cupcakes this time.
If you love Coconut, you have to try this.
Can you please tell me what type of flour this recipe should be made with? In England recipes state either plain flour or self raising flour. I wasn’t sure which to go for so chose plain, on the basis that baking powder was being added anyway. The cakes were delicious but quite dense in the middle and I wonder whether I used the wrong flour?
I used all-purpose. What it’s UK equivalent is I’m not sure. ~Garrett
I made these yesterday – while the cupcake is moist, light, flavorful, and delicious – the frosting seems off to me. For a package of cream cheese and a stick of butter, 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar is not nearly enough. It tastes more like slightly sweetened butter with a bit of a tang, rather than cream cheese frosting which should melt in your mouth.
Feel free to add more powdered sugar, you should taste as you go and add more or less as you see fit. Personally, I never like mine all that sweet, but then again I have friends who would love it if the frosting was pure sugar with a dab of dairy. ~Garrett
I made these on Sunday morning for a lunch I was having, and I found them delicious. The cream cheese was the perfect amount of tartness, and overall the cupcakes were not too sweet.
Can I use fresh coconut meat instead of sweetened dessicated coconut? Won’t it affect the outcome and the taste of the cupcake? I will try this one!
Yes, it will alter the taste of the cupcake. ~Garrett
I made the cupcakes today and they are delicious. I used the sweetened coconut and there is absolutely no “cloying sweetness”. This is a keeper recipe. I solved the problem of having more than the two of us can eat by sharing with a bachelor neighbor of ours.
Fantastic recipe – went out and bought the extra ingredients I needed and tried it today! Truly scrummy and I even managed to convert US measures to UK. Didn’t quite follow all the recipe instructions (sorry Garrett!) particularly when combining wet and dry but they turned out fantastically light and moist. I’ve frozen a batch plus the frosting to save for my parents coming to visit!
I love everything coconut. This makes quite a few cupcakes and since there are only the two of us I’m wondering if I can freeze them frosted. If not how long will the cream cheese frosting keep in the fridge? Also, can I freeze the left over coconut milk?
I would freeze the frosting and the cupcakes separately. Otherwise one my thaw out before the other and it may affect the cupcake. The cream cheese frosting should keep for a few months. I have kept some for about three, though the taste seemed to dissipate a bit. As for the coconut milk, I am not sure as I have never frozen it before. ~Garrett
I made these tonight (strictly following the recipe) and while they were indeed yummy, I am surprised at how dense the cake turned out especially since the batter seemed so light. Where did I go wrong? Should I have used cake flour instead of all-purpose?
Not sure Carina, every time I make these they come out very light. Possibly altitude or weather conditions? Cake flour may be the answer for you. Another issue may be the baking powder – was it fresh? If it’s more than six months old, then toss it out as it won’t work anymore.~Garrett
Sounds so good! You could also use extra virgin coconut oil in place of part of the butter, that would really add to the coconut flavor. Can’t wait to try this recipe!!
These turned out great – so delicious. The coconut milk was the secret ingredient!!! I only made a few changes. I used unsweetened shredded coconut. The one that Goldmine Organics sells. I also used organic white whole wheat flour (King Arthur) that I ran through the food processor to make it more like pastry flour in hopes of maintaining the light texture. Also – for the fat I used a combo of butter and coconut oil – not just for the taste but the health benefits as well. Thanks again for this great recipe!
I have been slowly toying w/a similar recipe. Im Jamaican and coconut is one of my top 3 flavors.
I use coconut milk, coco. extract and coconut cream… Im still tinkering w/it to figure out the sugar/liquid ratio that gets thrown off with the coconut cream.
Everytime I bake them they’re a bit different – but always good!
Mmmm, coconut. They look divine. Is it me or am I seeing a lot of coconut recipes lately? I’m not complaining though, I very much like coconut. Have you had haupia? A lovely coconut pudding enjoyed by Hawaiians, but also enjoyed by many in Asian countries.
Thanks for this recipe. I will definitely try it out. Keep up the great work!
A must do on my list.
As I live in Italy can’t find cream cheese, what can I change it with?
Mascarpone or Neufchâtel might be perfect options for you! ~Garrett
I have a coconut cake recipe similar to this, except I use cake flour to make it extra light and delicate. Also, freshly grated and lightly toasted coconut is a much better addition than that cloyingly sweet pre-shredded stuff (I did find a decent unsweetened brand at Whole Foods).
True, fresh coconut is always better, but it’s not always doable due to time restraints, lack of equipment, lack of access to fresh coconuts, or whatever. If you can get a hold of fresh coconut go for it, but the packaged stuff is great too for this recipe. ~Garrett
Yum! I’ve never been a huge fan of most coconut cakes — I agree with you that they often don’t have enough coconut flavor, but I love the idea of using coconut milk instead of regular milk and adding shredded to the batter to make it really coconutty. And if this is the penultimate coconut cupcake recipe, I can’t wait to see what you’re still hiding up your sleeve!
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