Easy Coconut Cupcakes With Coconut Buttercream Frosting

24 cupcakes
50 min

Hello coconut lovers, I have a delicious treat for you, fluffy Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting. This easy recipe starts with a boxed cake mix and bakes up moist and decadent to become a dreamy coconut dessert.

Our favorite coconut cupcake

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Light and fluffy and flavorful, these cupcakes with coconut are a favorite. Every bite is filled with coconut. The soft and creamy coconut frosting is lightly sweetened and flavored with coconut extract, then topped with sweetened shredded coconut.

Make these gourmet-tasting cupcakes with a box mix, then fancy them with some extra ingredients. Adding coconut milk and coconut flakes flavors the batter, and coconut extract flavors the buttercream for a triple delicious treat.

Cupcake Ingredients
Cupcake ingredients
Making this box cake taste better

Cake Mix - use a 15.25-ounce white cake mix.

Butter - Skip the vegetable oil the box recipe calls for and add melted butter for better flavor and extra richness in a cake.

Canned coconut milk - will not only add coconut flavor but adds fat and moisture to the cake. Make sure you are using coconut milk, not coconut cream.

Egg whites - adding four egg white adds moisture and fluffiness to the cake for a soft, tender crumb. And just using the egg whites keeps the cake white instead of yellow.

Icing ingredients
Icing ingredients

Notes about the icing ingredients

Coconut flavoring - To flavor the icing, I used a deeply flavored coconut paste, but you can also use coconut extract which has a watery consistency, however, you may need to use more of the extract to get the coconut flavor you want in the icing.

How to make Coconut Cupcakes: Step by Step

Mixing these cupcakes is very simple; here is how to mix up the batter, and whip up the icing

Step 1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in a cupcake pan.

Step 2. Add the dry cake mix, melted butter, and egg whites in a large mixing bowl, then mix with an electric mixer or a stand mixer on low speed until blended.

Step 3. Add the coconut milk to the bowl and mix at low speed.

Step 4. Once the milk is combined, turn the mixer to medium speed and mix for a minute until the batter is smooth and thick; occasionally, scrape the sides of the bowl.

Step 5. Add the coconut to the batter and stir with a spoon until completely mixed. When done, the batter will be thick.

Step 6. Fill the cupcake papers about ⅔ full; this should be about three tablespoons, or use a #20 cookie scoop for the best results. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-24 minutes.

Scoop the batter into cupcake liners

Step 7. Make the icing by adding the powdered sugar to a large mixing bowl. I like to mix the sugar with the mixer on low speed to whisk it and break up any lumps.

Step 8. Add the room temperature butter and mix on low speed to mix in the butter, then increase the speed to medium and continue beating for a minute.

Step 9. Add the milk, corn syrup, and coconut extract, then mix on medium speed until the icing becomes light and fluffy for 2 minutes. If the icing is too thick, add additional milk.

Note - if using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment.

Steps for making coconut icing

Step 10. Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip; I use 2D, then fill the bag with frosting. Pipe the icing on top of the cooled cupcake to make a rosette, then top with coconut.

Making icing rosettes

This is why these cupcakes are so good; there are three times the coconut in every bite, in the cake, in the frosting, and coconut on top!!!

Coconut milk cupcakes

Using box mixes makes baking convenient and fast, and is perfect to get kids started in the kitchen.

  • These Peanut Butter Cup Brownies start with a box mix and turn into a decadent chocolate dessert made with only six ingredients.
  • If you are a lemon lover, grab a lemon cake mix and a can of Mountain Dew and bake this fabulous Mountain Dew Bundt cake.
  • Black Cupcakes are perfect for a Halloween dessert or even a fancy black-tie dessert. Black cocoa powder is what gives these cupcakes their deep dark color.

Now if you want to go totally gourmet, these Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting are our tribute to baseball season. Don't forget to top it with the classic Cracker Jacks popcorn.

For the citrus lover, bake these Orange Cupcakes with sweet orange buttercream.


  • If you like toasted coconut, you can add that to the batter or sprinkle toasted coconut on top. Or, you can do both.
  • Feel free to use a yellow cake mix, or a lemon cake mix.
  • If you don't have a pastry bag and tip, frost the cupcake the old-fashioned way with a knife and pile on the frosting, then sprinkle on the coconut.
  • You can always bake this batter in a 13-inch cake pan for 18 to 20 minutes, then frost the top and serve. Or make mini cupcakes.
  • If you prefer to keep things easy, you can make the box cake as directed and just add the coconut to the batter plus, I would add a teaspoon of coconut extract for flavor.
  • These cupcakes are fun to serve at Easter; you can tint the coconut with food coloring in pretty Easter colors. You can even add some chocolate eggs on top too!

Baking FAQ's

Why do the butter, dairy, and eggs need to be at room temperature for baking?

Room-temperature ingredients mix better and become more homogenous and smooth. It is easier to aerate a smooth batter over a lumpy batter, creating a fluffier and lighter baked good.

Is coconut milk the same as coconut cream?

These have two different consistencies with the coconut milk having the consistency of cow's milk and is just coconut and water. Coconut cream is made from coconut milk and is the thick layer of cream that floats to the top when making coconut milk.

More to make and eat!
Apricot cake with cherries and a green teapot.

Apricot Cherry Upside Down Cake

A slice of choclate cake on a white plate

Beer Cake

A slice banana cake roll with icing on top.

Banana Roll

An orange poundcake on a clear glass cake stand,

Easy Mandarin Orange Bundt Cake

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Thank you for stopping by the One Hot Oven blog. Please leave a comment to say Hello or just let me know what you are baking these days, I always love hearing from fellow bakers. Have any questions or just want to chat about the recipe? My contact information is on my about page, and I’ll be happy to help.

About Jere'

From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.

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Easy Coconut Cupcakes With Coconut Buttercream Frosting
Recipe details
  • 24  cupcakes
  • Prep time: 30 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 50 min
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Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 15.25 ounce White Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted butter melted
  • 4 Eggs using the egg white only
  • 1 13.5 ounce Coconut milk
  • 1 cup Sweetened flaked coconut
Coconut Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
  • 3 cups Powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2-3 tablespoons Whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons Light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut extract
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Cupcake Instructions
Heat the oven to 350° F. Place paper liners in a cupcake pan.
In a large mixing bowl, or use a stand mixer bowl, add the cake mix, melted butter, and the egg white. Using an electric mixer, mix at low speed for one minute to combine the ingredients.
Pour the can of coconut milk into the mixing bowl and mix at low speed to combine the milk into the batter, then turn the mixer to medium speed and mix for one minute until the batter is smooth and thick. Scrape the bowl as needed.
Add the coconut to the bowl and mix in with a spoon.
Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔ full. This is usually about three tablespoons of batter or use a number 20 scoop to easily divide the cake batter.
Bake the cupcakes for 18 - 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure they are done, they should be golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Frosting Instructions
In a large mixing bowl add the powdered sugar and mix and low speed for 30 seconds with an electric mixer to break up any lumps of sugar. You can also use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Add the room temperature butter to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed to incorporate the butter, then increase the speed to medium and beat for one minute.
Add 2 tablespoons of milk, corn syrup, and coconut extract to the mixing bowl and beat on medium speed to incorporate the ingredients, then turn the mixer to medium-high speed and mix for 2 minutes until the frosting becomes smooth and fluffy. If the icing is too thick add an additional tablespoon of milk.Taste the icing and if you want more of a coconut flavor beat in additional coconut extract.
Frosting the cupcakes
Using an icing knife or a butter knife, spread the tops of the cupcakes with swirls of frosting, then sprinkle with coconut. To make a rosette on top of the cupcake, fit a piping bag with a 2D icing tip then fill the bag with the frosting. Pipe the icing on top of the cupcake, then sprinkle with coconut.
Storing the cupcake
Store any uneaten cupcakes in an airtight container for up to three days.
  • You can use toasted coconut in the batter and you can also sprinkle toasted coconut on top if you prefer.
  • When using flavoring I prefer to use pastes and emulsions, which provides pure flavor over an alcohol-based extract. You can get the coconut paste I used for this recipe from Taylor and Colledge. Otherwise, you will still have great results from using coconut extract.
  • All images and text © Jere' Cassidy / One Hot Oven
Jere Cassidy
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