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Coconut Cupcakes

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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


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

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Thursday 16th of June 2022

2 questions for the coconut cupcakes : can you use the small muffin pans with this recipe of course to get more cupcakes from one recipe? Can they be frozen and if so how long are they good in the freezer


Monday 20th of June 2022

Yes, you should be able to bake these in a mini muffin pan for mini cupcakes. You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes, wrapped well, for up to 3 months. Hope this helps! Jamie

marie johson

Sunday 22nd of December 2019

One of the best cupcakes i've ever tasted! thanks for this amazing recipe <3


Saturday 6th of July 2019

I have made these three times for different events. People say they are the best cupcakes they have ever eaten and I have to agree. Thank you for posting the recipe.


Tuesday 9th of July 2019

So happy to hear you enjoyed the cupcakes, Sue! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

StaSea S

Sunday 23rd of June 2019

Omg, I made a similar version of these yesterday for my dad's 75th birthday party and they were a hit. I even put some coconut in the batter and also toasted the coconut to put on top. I used store brought frosting because making frosting isn't my thing. Actually I'm good at taking box cake mix and making it what I want it to be. But anyway I use the cream cheese frosting and that was perfect.

I see you have a lot of recipes with box cake mix so your blog will be my go to for ideas. Thank you for letting it be know that you can make a box cake mix your own you just have to know what you're going for.


Monday 24th of June 2019

Thanks so much for stopping by, StaSea! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie

Sherry Kirkland

Tuesday 1st of August 2017

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 


Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

Sherry- 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! -Jamie

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