let the easter play – coconut cupcakes

by hungryrabbit on April 19, 2011

Easter Coconut Cupcake

About this time of the year, the world of food bloggers world is flooded with Easter related posts. We barely got through the preparation for Passover and now it’s onto the finish line for pastels, chicks, and bunnies.

I grew up not observing either holiday. In Hong Kong, unless you were Christian, Easter as well as Christmas was more commercial Hallmark-like holidays than true religious observances. Until I came to the States, Easter meant an annual extravagant buffet luncheon with the family.

Another thing I associate Easter with is craft projects. I clearly remember my excitement about learning how to dye and paint eggs in grade school. It was only a decade ago that I learn how to make a sugar egg from a friend and decorated it.

Even since I started my blog, I resisted on the topic of Easter because there are just so many fantastic posts already. This year, however, I’ve fallen under the spell of cuteness and have an urge to play with my food.

Coconut Cupcakes

yield: 12 cupcakes


2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish
1 bag of speckled chocolate eggs ( I used M&M)

8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
1-1/3 cups (6-3/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, from a can
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Coconut Buttercream, recipe to follow


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place unsweetened coconut on a baking tray, bake for 7-10 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from oven, set aside to cool completely.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla, almond and coconut extracts and mix well.

4. In 3 parts, alternately add the flour mixture and the coconut milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in shredded coconut.

5. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 24-26 minutes, until the tops are slightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Coconut Buttercream

yield: enough for 12 cupcakes


2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter (10 ounces), softened
2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (10 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk


In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low, add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl, add both extracts and coconut milk, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl during the process if necessary.


1. Set aside 1-1/2 cups of buttercream and place the rest into a piping bag fitting with a star tip (1/2- inch in diameter)

2. Using a small off-set spatula or a knife, spread a generous tablespoon of buttercream in the center of the cupcakes. Then pipe a ring around the edge.

3. Press toasted coconut lightly onto the ring of buttercream. Do not worry if it gets in the center. Decorate the center with 3 eggs.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Chez Us April 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

I am really glad that you gave into the world of cuteness, and decided to play with your food. This are ADORABLE! I love them, and now I want to succumb to the world of cuteness.

Brian @ A Thought For Food April 19, 2011 at 11:51 am

I have no doubt that these cupcakes are super tasty! And what a great way to celebrate the holiday!

Maris (In Good Taste) April 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm

These are so cute! How could you resist!

Urvashee April 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm

These are perfect for the season and coconut is one of my favorite flavors. From the above commenter, sounds like you don’t like cuteness. I’m gonna say it anyway. These are too cute!

Joan Nova April 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Such beautiful work. Glad you decided to play.

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle April 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Seems you have the makings of a ‘cute’ cult. I’m in!

They look adorable and well, chocolate and coconut is an all time favorite for me!

Daydreamer Desserts April 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I’m so glad you couldn’t resist the urge to post an Easter “Themed” post, these cupcakes fit the bill perfectly!

Diane {createdbydiane.blogspot.com} April 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Oh they look so delicious. I LOVE coconut!!!! Beautiful photos!

SMITH BITES April 20, 2011 at 9:12 am

coconut and chocolate? reminds me of an almond joy candy bar which just happens to be one of my childhood favorites . . . coconut anything will always get my vote. these are absolutely beautiful Ken, tastefully decorated and the addition of coconut extract bumping up that coconut flavor, puts these over the top!!

foodwanderings April 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

Wabbit, I love anything coconut!! Love it!! Did you also paint this eggs? I love pastels bacause they are the opposite of my personality. lol. Great job as usual!!

Andrea@HighLowFoodDrink.com April 20, 2011 at 10:36 am

I love how you decorated your cupcakes like cute bird nests!

Kay @ chopstix2steaknives April 21, 2011 at 9:03 am

That just looks too cute with eggs on top.

Maria @ Scandifoodie April 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm

They certainly look adorable Ken! The coconut butter cream sounds delicious too!

Jamie May 9, 2011 at 4:03 am

Oh this are not cute, they are beautiful! I never do anything for Easter but I may just have to start! I love these cupcakes – coconut! Must bake…

Dana March 23, 2012 at 9:10 am


I tried the recipe this week. The cupcakes were wonderful, however the butter cream recipe is off. I found that the ratio of butter to sugar was too much and it melted.


Kim Johnson April 7, 2012 at 10:41 am

Good Morning!

I have added your lovely pohot of the coconut cupcakes to an Easter blog post! I hope you enjoy it!

Kim Johnson

hungryrabbit April 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

Thanks Kim, the post is beautiful, honored to be part of it.

Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen March 16, 2013 at 6:59 am

Your easter cupcakes look totally gorgeous!

Meagan March 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

Too cute! May I ask what the measurement is for the unsweetened coconut milk in the cake batter recipe? Thank you!

hungryrabbit March 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Hi Meagan, it’s 1/2 cup of coconut milk. I have revised the recipe, thanks for bringing the missing info to my attention. Happy Baking! -Ken

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