A dessert inspired by spring, these Coconut Lime Cupcakes are filled with bright and tropical flavors. The cupcakes are light and fluffy and the frosting has just the right amount of sweetness. Decorate these finished cupcakes with a little toasted coconut and a lime wedge!
Hey there! Molly here from What Molly Made. I’m the recipe developer, photographer and writer on my little corner of the internet. From healthy sweets like blueberry basil popsicles and Greek Yogurt banana bread to indulgent desserts like these cupcakes, I’m a lover of all sweets.
I’m especially a lover of sweets in the springtime. A great Christmas cookie or pumpkin pie is amazing, don’t get me wrong. But there is just something special about a zesty citrus dessert or lightened up favorite that gets me excited about the warm weather to come
And that’s exactly what these coconut lime cupcakes do! One bite and I wasn’t instantly transported to the beach, catching sun rays and just relaxing. It’s a reminder of a slower and more simple life. And one that involves a lot of sunshine.
That’s a lot of pressure on one little cupcake, but trust me, these coconut lime cupcakes do not under deliver on emotions or flavor. Speaking of flavor. Let’s talk about all the ways the flavor of these coconut lime cupcakes are enhanced.
Starting with the coconut:
Toasted coconut: Real coconut is a must in this recipe! I absolutely love toasting the coconut prior to including it in the batter and sprinkling it on top because it brings out so much toasty flavor. Color = flavor in my book. And lightly browned and sweetened coconut is the perfect addition to these coconut lime cupcakes. Just bake the shredded coconut at 325°F for 10 minutes, stirring half way through. It’s that simple to make a big flavor impact!
Coconut Milk: This is my little secret! It’s the special ingredient in these cupcakes that adds that much more coconut flavor, but also provides an amazing texture. You find canned coconut milk in the baking aisle, typically. It’s usually right next to the evaporated milk! If you’re having trouble finding it or don’t want to make a special trip you can use regular milk (I guess) but I highly recommend coconut milk.
Coconut extract: A little bit goes a long way here. A small amount does the trick and adds just a little boost of coconut so that it isn’t overpowered by all the lime happening in these cupcakes as well.
Now for the lime:
Lime zest: The zest of a lime provides so much extra zing to recipes. It also has a deep green color and gives the cupcakes a little hint of green so people know there’s lime in there. I add it to both the cupcake and frosting!
Lime juice: This is just another way of getting extra lime flavor in these coconut lime cupcakes. It’s tangy and vibrant and just right in the cupcake itself and the frosting.
The coconut and the lime are the key players in these coconut lime cupcakes for obvious reasons. The rest of the recipe is pretty straight forward in the world of cupcakes. The usual suspects including flour, sugar, butter and others are needed as well.
A few tips to make these cupcakes even better:
- Make sure you’re using room temperature butter for the cupcakes and the frosting. I like to leave mine out of the refrigerator for about 2 hours prior to baking. You should leave an indent in the butter if you lightly push your finger into it.
- Don’t overmix the cupcake batter. You don’t want to end up with dense cupcakes! Mix until just combined and call it a day.
- Do overmix the frosting! Light and fluffy frosting is the result of butter that’s been beaten thoroughly. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and beat the frosting for the full time.
- Fill the cupcakes just over half way full. It may seem like you’re not filling them enough but I promise you are. These cupcakes will rise a lot! The last thing you want it an overfilled cupcake that spills over the edge. It just doesn’t look pretty! And they won’t bake evenly either.
If you follow these tips I guarantee you’ll end up with light and fluffy coconut lime cupcakes with a killer frosting every time. The flavor from the coconut and lime will wow all of your family and friends.
You’ll all be imagining yourselves on the beach by the time you’re done!
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- ½ cup canned coconut milk (shaken) or whole milk
- zest + fresh juice of 2 and a half medium limes (save the last half for the frosting)
- 2 cups toasted sweetened shredded coconut, divided
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- juice and zest from half a lime
- pinch of salt, to taste
- Start by toasting the coconut. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread 2 cups of sweetened coconut on a baking sheet covered with a silat mat or parchment paper. Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and stir with a spatula. Place back in the oven for 5-6 more minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
- To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and coconut extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add half of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined then add half of the coconut milk. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and coconut milk. Increase speed to medium and add the lime juice, lime zest and 1½ cups of the toasted coconut, leaving some out to decorate. Try to avoid overmixing.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared liners until1/2 - ⅔ full. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, in a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on low at first then increasing to high speed until completely incorporated. Once all powdered sugar has been added, beat in the vanilla extract, lime juice and lime zest. Add a little salt if it's too sweet.
- Once cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes and top with a wedge of lime and reserved toasted coconut. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.