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Coconut cupcakes

These coconut cupcakes don't just look like clouds, they are truly light and airy with the most delicious coconut and vanilla flavor. There is shredded coconut and canned coconut milk in both the batter and frosting, making them the perfect treat for anyone who loves coconut.

My husband is a huge fan of coconut, and we both love coconut in cake. For our wedding, we had a three tier cake and the top tier was just for us to save and freeze for our anniversary. At our cake tasting, we both fell in love with the vanilla cake and coconut frosting so now coconut cake will always remind me of our wedding! I knew I wanted to make a coconut inspired cupcake for our first anniversary, and they came out so incredibly light and delicious.

One of the things that makes these cupcakes so light and fluffy, a bit different from how I typically like my cake, is the additional egg white. It's important to use a hand or stand mixer so you can get some air whipped in when you add in your eggs. Though this could be done by hand, it would be tough to get the same effect.

When I made these cupcakes in a first round, I made them with a little less frosting (about 2/3 of the recipe I shared). I love these with a bit of extra frosting on top but know that you could always use less frosting and save any leftovers for another treat with fruit or even to top cookies or another dessert with.


Cupcake batter

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature 85g

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 216g

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or other neutral oil

  • 1 large egg + 2 large egg whites

  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you have)

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose cake flour 168g

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut


  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature 170g

  • 1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar 225g

  • 1 tablespoon + 1-2 teaspoons canned coconut milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you have)

  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened, shredded coconut divided in half

Total time: About 3 hours including chill time

Prep time: About 30 minutes

Bake time: 18-20 minutes

Chill time: 1-2 hours

Servings: 12


  • Cupcake pan

  • Cupcake liners

  • Hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment

  • Spatula

Cooking instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. And if you haven't already, ensure that your eggs, butter and coconut milk for your cake batter are all at room temperature.

Make your cupcakes. In a large bowl if using a hand mixer, or your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add your room temperature butter and granulated sugar. Mix at a high speed for about a minute. Then, add in your oil and continue to mix for a minute or two until everything is fully combined.

Next, add in your egg and two additional egg whites. Mix at a high speed for about three minutes until your mixture is thickened, fluffy, and lightened in color.

Scrape down your mixer and the sides of your bowl, and then mix in your coconut milk and vanilla extract at a low speed.

In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients - cake flour, shredded coconut, salt, and baking powder. Add your combined dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and mix together at a low speed until your batter just forms.

Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Add your cupcake batter to your pan to make 12 cupcakes - the batter should fill up just a bit below the top of the cupcake liners.

Bake your cupcakes for about 18-20 minutes and allow to cool at room temperature until cool to the touch, about 1-2 hours.

Make your frosting and finish your cupcakes. Place your unsalted butter into a large bowl if using a hand mixer, or into your stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment. Mix at a high speed for about a minute or two until your butter softens and smooths.

Next, add in your powdered sugar. Turn your mixer on slowly and pulse until your sugar begins to mix into your butter. Mix at the highest speed for 2-3 minutes. Pause, scrape down the sides of your bowl and mixer and then add in your shredded coconut, coconut milk, and vanilla extract. Slowly turn your mixer back on and up to its highest speed and mix for about 3-5 minutes, pausing halfway through to scrape down your bowl and paddle attachment.

Frost your cupcakes, top with the remaining shredded coconut and enjoy!

Serve and store your cupcakes. You can enjoy your cupcakes right away, or store them in the fridge in an airtight container. Your cupcakes will remain fresh for a couple of days as well in the fridge if stored in an airtight container. You can also freeze your finished cupcakes and defrost at room temperature or in the fridge to enjoy any time.

Carb and serving info:

Carbs for full recipe: 632

Carbs per serving (1 of 12): 53

Carbs from frosting: 260

Carbs from cake: 371

Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.

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