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Coconut Cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes on a cake stand
These coconut cupcakes are bursting with so much coconut flavor between the coconut-flavored cake and the velvety cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18
Calories 380 kcal



  • 1 box vanilla cake mix (15.25 ounces)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut milk, canned (NOT cream of coconut)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canned coconut milk (NOT cream of coconut)
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 18 cupcake paper liners. 
  • In a large bowl, add the vanilla cake mix, eggs, canned coconut milk, vegetable oil, and coconut extract. Beat on medium speed with a hand mixer for 2 minutes or until the batter is smooth.
  • Add the sweetened shredded coconut and stir to fully combine.
  • Fill the cupcake liners ¾ full with the batter and bake cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature before frosting. You can make the frosting while your cupcakes are cooling.
  • To make the frosting, add the cream cheese and unsalted butter to a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Beat the butter and cream cheese for 1 to 2 minutes or until fluffy and smooth.
  • Add the coconut extract, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat for an additional 30 seconds to combine.
  • Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, to the cream cheese mixture, beating to incorporate between each addition.
  • Add the canned coconut milk and beat the frosting for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. If your frosting is too thick, you can add an additional 1 tablespoon of canned coconut milk.
  • Transfer your coconut frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large piping tip or a zip-top bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe your frosting onto each cooled cupcake and garnish with a sprinkle of sweetened shredded coconut.


  • DO NOT use canned cream of coconut in this recipe. It's not the same as canned coconut milk. Cream of coconut will have a thick layer of coconut fat that sits on top of a very sweet coconut liquid. This is best used to make tropical cocktails and not for baking. Coconut milk will resemble heavy cream in texture and looks. It is typically found unsweetened or in a light version. They are typically found in the same area in your grocery store so you will want to read your can carefully.
  • For an easier way to pour and measure your can of coconut milk, you can use an old-fashioned bottle/can opener (the kind with the point on the end that pokes a hole in the top of a can). Place a hole on opposite sides of the top lid of the can then that will make it very easy to pour out the coconut milk into your measuring cup.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cupcakes at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
  • You can lightly toast your ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut for the garnish on the top of your cupcakes. It will enhance the coconut flavor and add a nice texture to your cupcake.


Calories: 380kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 3gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 304mgPotassium: 107mgFiber: 1gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 366IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 1mg