Somewhat Simple Recipe: Coconut Cupcakes

Frock Files | Coconut Cupcakes

Each year, my mom makes Ina Garten’s coconut cupcakes for her friends just before Easter. I should stop here to point out that my mom is gluten-free and doesn’t really eat dessert, so this is a complete act of generosity. My reasons for baking these cupcakes were slightly less benevolent: I had a crazy craving and wanted to devour them all. (I didn’t, but I wanted to.)

I used Ms. Garten’s cupcake recipe exactly as she intended, but swapped out her cream cheese frosting for the fluffy buttercream frosting I’m partial to, since it’s lighter and not as sweet. As someone who tends to default to boxed cakes, this recipe isn’t the simplest way to make cupcakes but it’s definitely the most delicious. And in the end, they only took slightly longer than the just-add-an-egg variety.

Frock Files | Coconut Cupcakes


3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

See the frosting recipe here. I swapped out the 2 teaspoons vanilla extract for equal parts vanilla and almond extract.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line your muffin tins (24) with cupcake liners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar on high, between five and seven minutes. Add one egg at a time, then add the almond and vanilla extracts.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add one third of the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add half of buttermilk to wet ingredients, mix until combined. Continue with remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk. Fold in coconut
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from tin.
  5. Frost and sprinkle with coconut.

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Frock Files | Coconut Cupcakes

These are hands down the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, and at least 357 other people agree with me (that’s the number of five star reviews this recipe received). And because it’s always fun to watch someone do something they’re really good at, here’s Ina demonstrating the recipe.

What’s your favorite cupcake?

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  1. Total yum! I need gluten free recipes! haha!

    • Monica, I haven’t tried it myself, but my mom has used (and loves) Cup4Cup, which is gluten free flour that you can use just as you’d use all purpose flour. You can find it at Williams-Sonoma. I bet it would work well with these cupcakes!

  2. love the cupcakes on top of milk shots images! so clever and classy. mmm coconut!!!!

  3. Oh. my. GOD. Are you freaking kidding me with these? They look amazing and your photos are gorgeous! Now I want a cupcake. I only thought that my breakfast was awesome – oatmeal with a banana and cadbury caramel easter egg mixed in! What?! I was out of blueberries! Don’t judge! šŸ™‚ xo

    • Your oatmeal sounds ingenious! I’ll have to try that. (No judgment here — I’m all about sinful oatmeal!)

  4. Oh, how I adore the styling! The glasses are so clever and the cupcakes just look amazing. My husband loves coconut…I think I’ll surprise him with these on the next occasion. I’m not totally GF but I just might try Cup4cup so thanks for the tip on that!

  5. Yuuum! Great job, Joy!

  6. Kathryn says:

    Amazing photos, Joy! I think I benefit a little too much from your mom’s baking. šŸ™‚

  7. These look absolutely decadent! I love how you placed the cupcakes in a glass of milk. I would have gladly helped you eat this batch!

  8. Joy, these cupcakes look so yummy! Placing them on top of a shot of milk is so clever. And wouldn’t you know that I love The Barefoot Contessa. I have two of her cook books and love her recipes. I forgot to tell you that I made your meringues for Easter. They were a big hit. Thank you!

  9. Ina has a recipe for plain vanilla cupcakes–I think they’re called “Flower Cupcakes for some reason–and they are so delicious! She’s a goddess, that Ina!

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