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Super Easy Vegan Coconut Cupcakes with Frosting

The best vegan coconut cupcakes ever! Super moist, fluffy, and light cake with coconut and vanilla in the cake and the frosting! Easy to make and totally amazing. 

Many vegan coconut cupcakes on a light and bright table scene. Each cupcake has a big swirl of frosting and sprinkled coconut on top.
Multiple vegan coconut cupcakes frosted and ready to serve!

These vegan coconut cupcakes are bursting with coconut flavor, that is made even sweeter with a generous pour of vanilla extract, that combines into a super soft, moist, and rich coconut cake! Topped with a creamy vegan coconut buttercream frosting and sprinkled with toasted coconut shreds, this makes for honestly one of the best ever cupcakes. Coconut lovers and even non-vegans will love these vegan coconut cupcakes! 

Why You’ll Love these Coconut Cupcakes 

  • Super moist and delicious! Dry cupcakes? Not with these! Even after a week in the fridge, these cupcakes were soft and delicious. 
  • Easy to make in just one bowl. Making dessert doesn’t have to be difficult with this recipe. All the ingredients mix together in one bowl for easy clean up. 
  • Frosting is outta this world good. Every time I make this, I can’t help but steal some right from the bowl before the frosting gets near the cake. It is just that good. 

Ingredients 

Ingredients for the coconut cupcakes in various glass bowls on a wood table. Black and white labels have been added to name each ingredient.
Many bowls filled with the measured ingredients ready to mix up cupcakes.
  • Full-fat coconut milk: Using the coconut milk from the can makes these cupcakes extra rich and super soft! You can also try using coconut cream for the ultimate tender cupcake. If using coconut milk from the can, you don’t need to chill it, the milk can be room temperature. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This mixes with the coconut milk to make a vegan buttermilk. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar you can use lemon juice in an equal amount. 
  • Oil: A bit of oil helps to keep things moist. I used canola oil since that is what I always have on hand, but using coconut oil will give these cupcakes an even more pronounced coconut flavor. 
  • Sugar: I used simple white granulated sugar here but you can use coconut sugar for a refined sugar free cake. Just know that the cupcakes will be a bit darker in color if you use the coconut sugar. 
  • Shredded coconut: This not only helps with the coconut flavor, but it gives a great texture to the cupcakes. You need some to mix into the cupcakes directly and some to toast in the oven for sprinkling on top after baking. 
  • Vanilla: This vegan coconut cake has a ton of coconut flavor so I love to enhance it with some pure vanilla extract. You don’t need to add coconut extract to get a delicious coconut flavor. 
  • Flour and leaveners: Simple all purpose flour or cake flour can both be used in these cupcakes. And a bit of baking soda and baking powder to help them rise in the oven. 

Instructions 

Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.

These coconut cupcakes are based off of my vegan vanilla cupcakes – one of my most favorite recipes! Unlike other coconut cakes, these cupcakes are super light and fluffy while still being full of flavor. 

  1. Start by whisking together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar. Let this rest for a few minutes to slightly curdle, making a vegan buttermilk. Then, add the remaining wet ingredients: oil, sugar, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract. Whisk this together. 
A glass bowl on a wood table is filled with the vegan buttermilk mixture.
Mixing the vegan buttermilk.
A glass mixing bowl with the wet ingredients is on a wood table. A whisk is inside the batter.
The whisked together wet ingredients.
  1. Into the same bowl, sift in your dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Gently fold this together until the cake batter comes together. 
A glass bowl with a whisk on a wood table is filled with the finished cake batter.
The finished cake batter might be lumpy from the coconut shreds.
12 unbaked cupcakes in a silver cupcake tray on a wood table.
Don’t fill more than halfway full or else they will overflow like muffin tops.
  1. Pour into lined cupcake trays and fill about halfway. It’s okay if they are a little under or over, but halfway filled gives a good rise with a nice curve on top. 
  2. Bake them for 23 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake pulls out clean. 
  3. Let them cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. 
6 baked coconut cupcakes in a silver tray on a wood table.
If filled only halfway, the cupcakes should have a nice rise on them without overflowing.

Coconut Frosting Instructions 

This vegan coconut frosting is so simple but makes for the most amazing, smooth and creamy frosting ever! 

Various glass bowls on a wood table filled with the ingredients for the coconut frosting. Black and white labels have been added to name each ingredient.
Ingredients for the coconut frosting in various bowls all measured out and ready to mix together.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer, whip the vegan butter until it starts to get light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and coconut milk. Mix again until your frosting is super smooth and creamy. It takes me about 5 minutes to whip this all together. 

A single vegan coconut cupcake on the countertop with a big swirl of frosting on top and toasted shredded coconut all around.
A single cupcake with a big swirl of frosting and topped with toasted coconut.

Frost the top of each cupcake with a piping bag and tip or even just the back of a spoon. Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes over top, serve, and enjoy!

Tip! To toast coconut, add about a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes to a parchment lined baking pan. Toast in the oven at 325F/160C for 10 minutes, stirring them about halfway through to evenly toast the coconut. 

A pile of vegan coconut cupcakes on a table. One has been opened and placed on its side so you can see the fluffy texture of the baked cupcake.
The inside of the cupcakes are fully baked and not gummy at all but they are super soft and moist!

FAQs about coconut cupcakes

Of course! This recipe makes about 16 cupcakes, which is enough for 1 8-inch cake pan. Double the recipe and bake for about 27 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick pulls out clean. For a sheet cake, again, double the recipe and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick pulls out clean. 

The only ingredient you’ll need to change is the all purpose flour. I have always had great results with King Arthur Measure for Measure flour in my cake making. 

How to Store 

Pop any leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

More Vegan Cupcakes Recipes

I hope you love these vegan coconut cupcakes as much as I do! It is honestly one of my family’s favorite recipes I’ve made and is a go-to for birthdays and basically any special occasions! 

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

If you try these out, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want more delicious, vegan friendly recipes you can subscribe to the newsletter. Did you make these? Please tag me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest! I love to see your creations!

Many vegan coconut cupcakes on a light and bright table scene. Each cupcake has a big swirl of frosting and sprinkled coconut on top.

Best Vegan Coconut Cupcakes

The best vegan coconut cupcakes ever! Super moist, fluffy, and light cake with coconut and vanilla in the cake and the frosting! Easy to make and totally amazing.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cool Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keyword: cakes and cupcakes, dessert, frosting
Servings: 16 cupcakes
Calories: 335kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls
  • Mixing spoons
  • measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Hand mixer / Stand mixer
  • Cupcake trays
  • cupcake liners

Ingredients

Coconut Cupcake

  • 6 tablespoons oil canola or coconut
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Coconut Frosting

  • ½ cup vegan butter softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 cup toasted coconut optional for rolling

Instructions

Coconut Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/170°C. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven. Line 15 to 16 cupcake wells with paper baking cups. Set aside.
  • Make the vegan buttermilk. Start by whisking together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar. Let this sit for 5 minutes to make the vegan buttermilk.
  • Whisk the wet ingredients. Into the same large bowl with the vegan buttermilk, add the remaining wet ingredients: oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk it together.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Into the same bowl, sift the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and shredded coconut. Gently fold until the cake batter comes together.
  • Transfer. Fill each cupcake liner with batter until it is about halfway full.
  • Bake. Bake the cupcakes for 23 to 25 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out clean.
  • Cool. Cool the cupcakes in the hot trays for the first 10 minutes. Then carefully remove them and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

Coconut Frosting

  • Toast the coconut. To make the homemade toasted coconut, preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Add a cup of unsweetened coconut shreds and bake uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.
  • Mix and frost. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or a stand mixer, whip the vegan butter until it begins to be light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and coconut milk. Mix again until the frosting is very smooth. This takes me about 5 minutes in total to make. Frost the tops of the cupcakes and sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

How to Store 
Pop any leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
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