Coconut lovers: These moist and tender Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting will thrill your palate with your first nibble. The decadent mound of cream cheese frosting guarantees that these will be unforgettable!

If you love a Coconut Cake Recipe, these delectable cupcakes provide built-in portion control. Though, I’d never fault anyone for going back for seconds. They’re just that irresistible!!!

Coconut cupcakes on a white tray

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

My mother had an immense influence as far as my palate is concerned. I was the oldest of four daughters. A rule follower. She’d eat sardines, I’d eat sardines. She’d eat chicken hearts, I’d eat chicken hearts. She’d eat liver, er…I’d, uh, taste liver.

When I was a wee first-grader, Mrs. McGinnis asked our moms to send in two favorite recipes which she used to compile a cookbook. One of my mom’s contributions was Mounds Bars; and, to this day, I treasure the stained mimeographed pages with our block print signatures. I think I could have eaten my weight in those rich, coconut gems back in the day. Maybe even now.

Coconut desserts still catch my eye. And making Coconut cupcakes is like having your own mini Coconut Cake! Built-in portion control is key when I’m around coconut. So when our Holiday Food Party group decided to cook up some Mother’s Day dishes to share with you all, I knew it had to be something coconut. This was my excuse to make a Coconut Dessert Recipe!

Overhead view of Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on a silver tray

Ina Garten Coconut Cupcake Recipe

This recipe was one of the first I made from Ina Garten’s original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Way back in 1999. Before many of my food blogger friends were even out of first grade. Before the Barefoot Contessa had her own Food Network TV show. When dinosaurs still roamed the land. Well, maybe that’s just me showing my age.

There must be something in the double X chromosomes as none of the guy folks in the family are as gung-ho about coconut as Katie and me. We were happy to hoard these babies in honor of Mother’s Day. Girl power and all that. Coconut Desserts for the win! And now for some more recipes from some of my very favorite food bloggers so you can treat the wonderful mothers in your life to some deliciousness. I know my mom would approve of me sharing a mini version of Coconut Cake. In fact, she’d eat one for breakfast!

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on a small white plate

How to Make Coconut Cupcakes from Scratch

  • Have all your ingredients at room temperature for the best results. It’s much easier when you don’t have to cream the butter when it’s cold from the refrigerator.  So butter, eggs, cream cheese, and buttermilk should be taken out of the fridge at least an hour before you start mixing.
  • Use the paddle attachment for mixing this cupcake batter. You do not want to whip air into the mixture.
  • PRO-Tip: If you’ve ever forgotten to purchase buttermilk, you can easily make it at home. To a one-cup liquid measuring cup, add either a tablespoon of lemon juice or a tablespoon of vinegar. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar provides the most neutral flavor. Fill the rest of the cup with milk. Let rest for 5 minutes or so and it will start to thicken and curdle. Use as directed.
  • The acid in buttermilk helps to tenderize the gluten in the flour resulting in a softer crumb.
  • Purchase shredded, sweetened coconut for this recipe, not unsweetened.
  • PRO-Tip: I like to use a large, 1/4 cup scoop to dish out the cupcake batter. This helps ensure the cupcakes are approximately the same size.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in a couple of the cupcakes comes out clean. You can also test by gently pressing your finger on top of the cupcake. If the cake bounces back up, the cupcakes are done. If the indentation remains, they need more baking time.

Holiday Food Blog Party

Check out all the marvelous recipes to celebrate Mother’s Day below. There’s something for everyone…and a couple of coconut dessert recipes for me!!!


1. Coconut Cupcakes from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
2. German Apple Cake from Magnolia Days
3. Baked Lemon Pasta with Broccoli and Shrimp from What Smells So Good
4. Cinnamon Pear Cake from Roxana’s Home Baking
5. Strawberry Whiskey Sour from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
6. Huevos Rancheros from Crumb Blog
7. Triple Lemon Cake from Created by Diane
8. Banana Chocolate Chip Bread from Chocolate Moosey
9. Lemon Thyme Shortbread from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
10. Pineapple Coconut Sweet Rolls from Pineapple and Coconut
11. Caramilk Stuffed No-Knead Brioche from Gotta Get Baked
12. Mom’s World Famous Sponge Cake from Hungry Couple NYC
13. Brown Butter Pecan Fudge Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream from Cupcakes and Kale Chips

More Coconut Desserts You’ll Love:

Don’t Forget to Subscribe!

Have you subscribed to my weekly newsletter? You’ll get the latest blog recipes plus some seasonal favorites delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning! And as a bonus, you’ll receive a series of 5 Tips & Recipes for Leveling Up Your Desserts! Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time!!


This recipe was first shared in May 2014. Photos and text were updated in 2020.

coconut cupcakes featured image

Coconut Cupcakes

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 10 cupcakes

Moist and tender coconut cupcakes topped with a decadent mound of cream cheese icing!


For cupcakes:

  • 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 pounds powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat the oven to 325º.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 3½ ounces of coconut.
  4. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
  6. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.


Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 721Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 501mgCarbohydrates: 81gFiber: 2gSugar: 62gProtein: 7g


Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest