Coconut Cupcakes

For as long as I can remember, my family’s birthday cake tradition has been a cake named “Bathroom Rug Cake.” Appetizing, huh? Don’t worry, it’s not named for the taste – more for the look. The cake is so named because of the fluffy coating of fresh coconut across the entirety of the cake that resembles a white shag rug you might have lying on your bathroom floor.

Nothing can touch the taste of that cake in my mind, but these cupcakes come pretty darn close. My taste-testers declared them “the best cupcakes ever.” Well, in my world, that’s good enough praise for me to share these with you. If you’re a coconut lover, these cupcakes are for you. They’re packed with coconut goodness from bottom to top.

Coconut Cupcakes

Infused with coconut milk, the cake is perfectly moist, and incredibly light and fluffy. Coconut is a delicate flavor, so you don’t want a heavy cake or frosting weighing it down. I looked through a ridiculous number of coconut cupcake recipes trying to find one I wanted to use. I found recipes altering a basic cake mix, using cream of coconut, coconut milk, coconut extract – if it was coconut flavored, you bet someone has put it in a cupcake.

I landed on a delicious recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker because of a couple specific ingredients in the recipe. Namely, I wanted these cupcakes to taste fresh, so I wanted to use real coconut milk, but I thought coconut cream might make them too heavy, and I wanted these to be light and airy. I made one change to the frosting recipe – instead of coconut extract, I used more coconut milk, partially because I don’t particularly care for the taste of fake coconut, and partially because I’m all for not buying more ingredients than you need!

As the finishing touch, sprinkle the tops of these cupcakes with some more coconut (toasted, if you’re feeling fancy), and your trifecta of coconut delight is complete.

Make these for yourself, make them for a friend, make them for a birthday or because it’s cold outside. Any way you make these, I know you’ll be sold after your first bite of luscious, fluffy coconut cupcake.

Coconut Cupcakes (2 of 2)

Coconut Cupcakes

Original recipe found at: Coconut Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Frosting

Cook time: 20 minutes; Total time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 cupcakes


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg white, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened (full fat) coconut milk (well-stirred) (tip: coconut milk naturally separates; when you open the can, dump it directly into a bowl and mix well with a whisk)

Frosting: (note: this makes enough frosting to liberally cover each cupcake, but if you really like to pile on the frosting, I recommend doubling this recipe)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut milk

Finishing Touch:
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (toasted, if desired)


Preheat oven to 350 and place 12 paper liners in a standard muffin tin. Place shredded coconut in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, then mix in shredded coconut.

Using an electric mixer (whisk attachment if using a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg white, and vanilla. Beat until fully combined. Alternate additions of the coconut milk and flour mixture to the butter with the mixer on low, beating until combined after each addition.

Divide the batter between cupcake liners, and bake for 12-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then allow to cool on a rack completely.

While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Using your whisk attachment again, whip butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the powdered sugar in small doses. Once fully incorporated, add the vanilla and coconut milk and whip until fluffy (about 2 minutes).

Once the cupcakes have cooled, spread frosting on each cupcake and sprinkle with coconut. Store in an airtight container.