Coconut Cupcakes

Well, I made it through my first week back to work. And let me tell ya, hanging out in a second floor classroom while the temps soared to the mid-nineties had me begging for fall temperatures or a rather large air conditioning unit.

Much like my students, I get cranky when I’m hot, so the thought of turning on the oven after work was not happening. In fact, I really didn’t do much baking or cooking at all last week – I just kind of adjusted to being awake at ridiculous o’clock and also got caught up on episodes of Big Brother.

Stop judging me! It’s become a little bit of a guilty pleasure and I kinda think Frank is adorable. I’m also obsessed with watching him dodge bullet after bullet.

Since I slacked all week, I decided to use my time wisely this weekend and whipped up a last couple of summery desserts. I’m warning you now, once the calendar hits September, I am in full-fledged Fall mode. I don’t care if it’s still 90 degrees, I will be busting out the pumpkin, apples and cinnamon – so get ready!

After a quick scan of the fridge and pantry, I realized that not only did I not bake last week, but I was also lacking in the whole grocery shopping department. I did have a few basics, so I decided to make do with what I had – putting off that horrible task for one more day. Hooray for procrastination!

This little impromptu baking session resulted in easy, crazy delicious coconut cupcakes topped with what is probably the best buttercream I’ve ever made. I kid you not.

The cakes are made simply, with my favorite Doctored Up Cake Mix recipe. The buttercream, however, is transcended with the addition of coconut milk and lime zest with a few fresh, Summery flavors to create one of the most dreamy cupcakes ever.

I’m pretty confident that these Coconut Cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate the end of Summer!

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream

Yield: 24 cupcakes


For the Cupcakes

  • 1 box French Vanilla cake mix (see note below)
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package Jell-o Coconut Cream pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk; divided use (see note below)
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

For the Frosting

  • remaining 9 ounces of coconut milk
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • zest of 2 medium limes
  • 1.5 pounds (about 5 3/4 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract


For the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners or spray wells with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs and 1/2 cup (4 ounces) coconut milk. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Fold in the shredded coconut.
  3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Prepare the frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. Place the remaining coconut milk into a medium saucepan with high sides. Over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium-low heat and reduce the coconut milk for about 20 minutes. Turn the burner off and allow the coconut milk to cool completely. Cover and chill (about an hour), this will cause the coconut milk to thicken up a bit
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and reduced and cooled coconut milk on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Add in the lime zest and mix to combine.
  3. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners' sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in extracts and mix until incorporated. Turn off the mixer and check the buttercream for taste and texture. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the mixture for about 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  4. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and if desired, garnish with a dusting of shredded coconut.


  • I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe French Vanilla Cake Mix for this recipe.
  • Coconut milk can typically be found in the ethnic aisle of most grocery stores.
  • I used a large Star Tip to pipe the frosting.
  • Recipe edited on 8/29 regarding the chilling process of the reduced coconut milk.
Source: My Baking Addiction

– The Amazon links within this post are derived from an affiliate program. My Baking Addiction receives a small commission on products that are purchased through these links.

125 Responses to “Coconut Cupcakes”

  1. Kim — February 6, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    I just took my cupcakes out of the oven and they deflated after a few minutes. I don’t recall this happening to me before with cupcakes (cake yes, but cupcakes no). What do you think went wrong? They are baked all the way through.


    • MBA — April 11, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      I am sorry to hear that you had an issue with the recipe. If you have specific questions about what could have went wrong, feel free to email me at Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your valuable feedback. Have a great day.

  2. Erin — March 15, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Do you have an alternative recipe for the dry ingredients instead of the boxed mix?


  3. LaDawn Austin — May 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    This recipe follows the same formula of my favorite chocolate cupcakes (devilsfood cake mix + pudding + sour cream, etc.)

    I was hoping they would turn out as good as they looked in the pics . . . and guess what? They are DIVINE! My husband and kids went bonkers over them, and I think I have a new favorite cupcake. I followed the instructions exactly as written, and even though it’s a bit time consuming waiting for the coconut milk to cook down on the stove, the end result is worth it.

    Also, this made 32 cupcakes for me – (3 Tbs batter per cupcake) and there was plenty of frosting for all of them. I toasted coconut for sprinkling and that bit of crunch on top is oh so perfect! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!!!!!!


    • Suzanne H — April 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      If you sub out the vanilla cake mix with the devil’s food cake mix, would you also sub out the coconut pudding with chocolate? Or just keep the coconut in with the chocolate cake mix?? I want to try this tomorrow for my parents going away party and want to make sure that i get it right! :)
      Also, I love the toasting the coconut for the topping idea, FAB!

  4. Rakhee — May 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I love coconut! I so want a bite right now… sigh!


  5. Monica — May 21, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Most of the reviews I read are about how good they look. Well, they not only look amazing but they taste amazing. I made them for a Mother’s Day Party and for a Mary Kay Meeting and everyone LOVED them!!!


    • Jamie — May 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Yay! Thanks so much for stopping by and reporting back on your experience with the recipe – we greatly appreciate it.

  6. Maria DaSilva — May 31, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Hi, I love these cupcakes…I tried them yesterday and they turned out great, however, I could not find the Jell-o Coconut Cream pudding mix…where can I find this, can you help?

    Thanks for your great posts…


    • Jamie — June 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

      I found the pudding at Walmart. It is still on their product page, so I am guessing it’s just a matter of finding a store near you that carries the product.

  7. Maria — June 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks…I found it. I will have to try these again.


  8. Allie — June 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    How would you store the over night? In the fridge?


    • Jamie — September 13, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Hi Allie,
      Yes, I typically store my cupcakes in the fridge overnight.
      – Jamie

  9. Manu — November 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Trying this tomorrow. It’s similar to the chocolate cake recipe I always make, so I am guessing it would be delicious. Have you ever tried this in cake form? That’s what I’m doing!


    • Jamie — November 20, 2013 at 11:45 am


      I have not tried it in cake form, please stop back and let us know your experience with the recipe! Have a great day!


    • Manu — December 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Jamie, the layer cake worked out great! However I made a white chocolate ganache that made it too sweet. So next time I will make it with semi sweet chocolate ganache and I think it will be delicious!
      I made some french macarons to decorate it with.

    • Manu — December 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Here: if you click on it you will see I credited your recipe. Thanks again.

  10. Lisa — December 3, 2013 at 12:53 am

    My lord these look good! I have to make a treat for my kid’s school before the holidays and these would be perfect. Thank you for sharing:)


    • Jamie — December 4, 2013 at 4:28 pm


      You’re very welcome! Please stop back and let us know your experience with the recipe. Happy holidays and thank you so much for following MBA!


  11. Rachelle Pierre-Louis — January 8, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    mine deflated when i took the out.. did u add extra baking powder or something?


    • Jamie — January 10, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Hi Rachelle, I did not add anything other than what you see in the recipe. Sometimes cupcakes will deflate if the wells are filled too full.
      – Jamie

  12. Baking Friends Forever — January 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I love the use of coconut milk for extra flavor, nice touch, I need to try this recipe!


  13. Kerre Bell — January 21, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Made and love the cupcakes but where can I get those adorable milk glasses from for my daughters? Thanks!!


  14. Wendy — January 28, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I like this recipe. It is pretty versatile, and similar to a popular White Almond Sour Cream cake recipe. I have been craving Coconut cupcakes for a week, almost, and these totally hit the spot! Super fast, too, with the mix there isn’t much measuring and weighing required. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!!


  15. Wendy — January 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    One small note, since my local grocery store didn’t have the DUNCAN HINES french vanilla, I bought the Betty Crocker brand which is 15.25 ounces, so to make up for the difference, I weighed out 2.75 ounces in cake flour, about 1/2 cup without a scale. It worked out just right and they baked up nicely.


    • Jamie — January 28, 2014 at 8:04 pm


      Nice substitution! I’m so happy to hear that the recipe was a success. Thanks so much for stopping in to share your experience! Have a great day and thank you for following MBA!


  16. Alex — March 1, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Hi! They look great! But… Where i live you can not find the Jello pudding mix… Could i use a vanilla pudding powder? And the cake mix… They don’t sell it here either…. How could i substitute that mix? For any other brand? Or is that mixture for a fluffy kind of cake? Or … Could you suggest something, i’ll be thankful!


    • Jamie Lothridge — May 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Alex,
      Since those two ingredients are pretty much the most vital in the recipe above, I think this recipe is not for you. I’m sure doing a google search for coconut cupcakes will come up with some other recipes that don’t use either.
      – Jamie

  17. Patricia Bourgoyne — March 2, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I absolutely LOVE coconut cupcakes, cake or whatever!!! I add crushed pineapple into the cupcakes and they are SOOOOO delicious!!! Also, I use a frosting recipe from friends who have a bakery, I add some coconut into the frosting and they are just about the best I have ever ate!!!


  18. Melanie — May 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    These were fabulous! I made them for a family birthday dinner, and everyone loved them! Not everyone in the family is a fan of fresh coconut, so I omitted the shredded coconut. The cupcakes stayed moist for an entire week in a Tupperware container. Thank you so much for this recipe!


    • Jamie — May 19, 2014 at 11:14 am


      Thanks so much for stopping by to share your experience with the recipe! I’m thrilled that the cupcakes were such a hit. Have a fantastic day and thank you for following MBA!


  19. Linda — May 24, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I see this was first posted a couple years ago. Cake mixes have changed so much in the last couple years, now I can’t depend on a recipe calling for a cake mix to be as accurate as the boxes have gotten much smaller.

    What size box mix did you use in this original recipe? Have you made it with any other sizes? If so, did you do anything different to compensate?

    I am wanting to try this recipe as it’s the first one I’ve seen that actually uses coconut milk in the batter and the frosting.



  20. Anna — July 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Just made these today for my grandma’s 85th birthday…truly one of the best cakes, let alone cupcakes, I’ve ever eaten. Thanks so much!


  21. taimee — May 31, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    For the pudding part, is it instant pudding or the cook type?


    • Jamie — June 14, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Instant pudding will work in this recipe. Thanks for visiting.


  22. Brenda — June 11, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I had the same issue as some of your other reviewers with the cupcakes sinking. They rose beautifully in the oven and then sunk after cooling. I’ve found the same problem though with every cupcake recipe I’ve ever used that has sour cream in the recipe.


  23. LHS — December 1, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    I have had my eyes on this recipe for a year now. I finally had the chance to make these yesterday. They came out delicious. They raised fine, they are moist and the flavors are subtle. I made a cream cheese frosting to go with them and since the frosting was a little thick I experimented adding some of the coconut milk to it and a little bit of coconut flavoring and a few squirts of lime…. And voila. The consistency was great and went amazingly well with the cupcake. To garnish them I sprinkled toasted coconut on top for that nutty flavor and crunchy texture. They tasted and looked gourmet.


  24. Regal — March 9, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I absolutely love this recipe!! My family requests it at almost every function. They bake perfectly as cupcakes but when I bake them as a double layer 8 or 9 inch cake they fall and become extremely misshapen :( Any ideas why? I’ve tried making them into cakes three times already with the same result.


    • Jamie — March 9, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Hi, Regal! I’m so sorry to hear that the cake deflated. Are the cake pans dark? The temperature in the recipe might be too high for the cake; try reducing it about 25 degrees. Also make sure you don’t open the oven door while baking, which could lead to deflated cake. Please let me know if I can answer any thing else. I’m really glad you enjoy the cupcakes!

  25. Regal — March 25, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    That’s it!! Reducing the oven temperature did it!! Only one layer raised slightly lower than the other which is a HUGE improvement over my other attempts I happily leveled it and as always it was a hit this past weekend!!



    • Jamie — March 26, 2016 at 10:47 am

      I’m so happy that it turned out, Regal! Take care!

  26. Kindra — May 20, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    For the coconut pudding, is that instant pudding or cook pudding mix?


    • Jamie — May 21, 2016 at 8:10 am

      Hi, Kindra! It’s instant pudding. I hope you enjoy them!

  27. Jean S — May 31, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I made these cupcakes for a neighborhood cookout this weekend. Followed the directions, my only deviation was to toast the coconut that I used to sprinkle on top. These were awesome!!!! My neighbors raved about them, and days later were begging for more.


    • Jamie — June 2, 2016 at 9:44 am

      I’m so glad everyone liked them, Jean!

  28. Brenda — July 1, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I’m going to try these again…my first batch sunk in the middles! Boo. I’ve read through previous posts to figure out what I need to do differently. Hoping my next batch is successful as I have a wedding order for 100 coconut cupcakes (and 300 more of other flavors)!


    • Jamie — July 3, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Let me know how it goes, Brenda!

  29. Sherry Kirkland — August 1, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    First, I must say, these are the BEST cupcakes I’ve ever had.   This is my go-to recipe now.   I want to make this into a four stake wedding cake.   any conversion ideas on how much I will need in ingedients.  I know it will be a lot, but definitely worth it.  Thanks for any help 


    • Jamie — August 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      I have never made a wedding cake in my life, so I have no idea where to even begin. I hope it works out for you though!

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