Coconut Cupcakes

coconut cupcakesCoconut: people love it or hate it. I’ve never met anyone who said “yeah, coconut is okay.” I happen to love coconut, despite its somewhat odd texture, and look forward to pairing these cupcakes with different types of buttercream in the future. Lime, for example, is high up there on my list, as are lemon and mango.

My friend Jennie had her convalidation today, and I baked these cupcakes for her. Convalidation is a Catholic wedding ceremony for people who are already legally married, but weren’t initially married in the church. Jennie and her husband had a coconut cake at their civil wedding several years ago, and she requested coconut cupcakes as a nod to that. I’m happy to report that they were a big hit.

Coconut Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flavor
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two regular-sized cupcake pans with paper liners; this recipe makes 21 cupcakes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Place eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat for another 30 seconds.

Add vanilla and canola oil and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Batter will be very thin.

Using a quarter-cup measuring cup, scoop batter into prepared regular-sized cupcake liners, filling half full.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, until tops are light golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove cupcakes from pans; cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Coconut Buttercream


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons coconut flavor
  • About 1 cup shredded coconut, for topping


Place butter in a mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes using the paddle attachment, then scrape down the bowl.

Add powdered sugar.  With your mixer on low, completely incorporate the powdered sugar into the butter.  (Hint: I find that placing a kitchen towel over the mixer during this stage prevents a powdered sugar blizzard.)

Increase speed and beat for 2-3 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and coconut flavor; beat for another 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl well.

Fit a 14-inch piping bag with a large coupler and tip; I used the large shell tip from Wilton. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Place shredded coconut in a shallow bowl and dip the top of each cupcake into the coconut.

Store at room temperature for up to three days.


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