Trip to Paradise: Toasted Coconut Cupcakes With Vanilla Frosting

Indulging in this toasted coconut cupcake recipe will tingle your senses and perhaps even take you to paradise. Seriously, one bite is like taking a journey through coconut groves along the beaches of the South Pacific. Let’s trick our brain into thinking we’re on an exotic vacation, shall we?

Take your kitchen on a tropical getaway when you make coconut cupcakes topped with a special vanilla frosting and toasted coconut.

coconut cupcake

What makes this different from other coconut cupcakes?

These coconut cupcakes are incredible because they’re made with not only love, but also with rich luscious coconut milk. It makes for such an interesting and creative cupcake flavors.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is usually sold in cans and it’s made from the pressings of fresh and ripe grated coconut meat — purely delicious bliss!

Sweetened shredded coconut

We’ll also be adding sweetened moist flake coconut into our batter for texture and more flavor!

Coconut cupcake recipe

Makes about 28 cupcakes.


¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup full fat coconut milk (from can)
1 cup sweetened moist flake coconut


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated, then add vanilla.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Add the flour mixture into the wet in three batches, adding half the coconut milk and between each batch. Make sure all the ingredients are completely incorporated before each batch addition. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.

5. Add coconut flake and mix on low until completely combined.

6. Spoon batter evenly into lined muffin tins (they should be just over half full) and bake for 20-22 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely and top with vanilla coconut buttercream (recipe below) and toasted coconut.

vanilla buttercream with coconuttoasted coconut

Recipe for vanilla buttercream with toasted coconut


2 cups sweetened moist flake coconut
1 ½ cups unsalted butter at room temperature
4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ – 3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk (from can)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Evenly spread coconut over the cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and stir, then bake for another 3 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp, stirring the coconut each time you check for readiness. Let cool completely and set aside.

3. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time and scrape down the sides as necessary. Add vanilla and beat at medium speed. As it beats, lower the speed and add coconut milk one tablespoon at a time. Beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes.

4. Top cooled cupcakes with a dollop of frosting garnished with toasted coconut flakes. I like piping with buttercream in a circle along the edge of the cupcake, press the toasted coconut onto it and top it with another small dollop of buttercream. Enjoy!

Coconut cupcakes decoratedcoconut cupcake trio

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