IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Light and Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes

Elizabeth Chambers' Coconut Cupcakes + Pecan Squares
Elizabeth Chambers' Coconut Cupcakes + Pecan SquaresNathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

I love coconut cupcakes because they taste like a tropical vacation! They're also light, delicate, perfectly fluffy and delicious.

Technique tip: Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen without buttercream up to 2 months in an airtight container.


  • cup all-purpose flour
  • cups Turbinado sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut purée
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
Coconut buttercream
  • cups high quality, unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 9 cups powdered sugar
  • One 15-ounce can sweetened cream of coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes
  • Toasted coconut, for garnish


For the cupcakes:


Preheat oven to 275°F. Line standard or small muffin tins with paper liners.


In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1½ cups Turbinado sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.


In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together buttermilk, egg yolks, oil and vanilla. Slowly incorporate coconut purée. Pour dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture and mix on a low speed until just combined. Set aside.


In a large bowl, whisk egg whites, slowly incorporating the remaining 1/4 cup Turbinado sugar until soft peaks form. Fold peaked egg whites into batter and mix on a low speed until mixture comes together.


Using a scoop, divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.


Transfer muffin tins to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

For the buttercream:


In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Slowly incorporate powdered sugar. Add cream of coconut and coconut flakes to mixture and beat for 3 minutes or until fluffy.


Fill a pastry bag with the buttercream. For large cupcakes, insert tip of piping bag into cupcakes, squeezing until cake pushes back, being careful not to overfill. Squeeze buttercream onto top of cupcake. Using a small offset spatula, spread cupcake with frosting. For mini cupcakes, use round tip and pipe buttercream in a dollop on top of cupcake.


Garnish with toasted coconut and serve.