Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Hello, from Florida: Cocoa Coco Cupcakes

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Hello, from Florida: Cocoa Coco Cupcakes, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

Little known fact: There are only two states in the U.S. where coconut palms can naturally reproduce and grow fruit without irrigation. Guess where. Hawaii…and Florida! Based on that fact alone, I really feel like I HAVE to incorporate coconut somewhere in my lineup of regionally inspired foods for the Hello, From Florida photography show.

At first I was thinking macaroons, cause I already have a great recipe for those. But I wanted to try something new. Plus, I recently came across the tantalizing, Ming Makes Cupcakes and was reminded of how darling cupcakes are. After gawking at Ming’s cupcakes for all too long I felt inspired and decided that if I was going to make cupcakes they should be cute and fun like hers.

So here we have them – Cocoa Coco Cupcakes. A real blast, huh? And it doesn’t stop there! I’ve decided to make them mini cocoa coco cupcakes, cause who can say no to a tiny cupcake that fits right in the palm of your hand?


Chocolate and coconut usually work nicely together, and though I’ve never seen the combo as a cupcake, I had a good feeling about it. Plus, I really like saying cocoa coco cupcake.

I knew right off that it would be a challenge to make the batter coconutty enough to stand up to the cocoa frosting. So in addition to shredded coconut, this batter calls for coconut milk instead of regular milk, which really pumps things up.


By the way, don’t even dare taste the raw batter. It is too good and you won’t stop. I don’t usually get like that cause I have raw egg phobia, but I found myself making out with the mixing spoon and actually had to say, “stop it you weirdo” out loud.


The cupcakes turned out perfect. Fluffy and really coconutty. BUT, and this I a huge but, while the chocolate frosting was delicious and the paring was nice, I think the cocoa overpowered the coco more than I would like. Kind of a shame to do that to such a delicious coconut cake so l’ll probably just go with a vanilla cream frosting of some kind so as not to take away from that awesome coconut flavor. Or maybe just a dollop of guava jam?

But would I recommend the cocoa frosting to you? Yeah, totally. I’m just saying for this event I need a stronger coconut presence. I followed a pretty basic chocolate frosting recipe and then folded in some whipped cream to make it creamier and fluffier.


Love the contrast of the shredded coco against the cocoa frosting!

Coconut batter adapted from here.

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Be sure to use regular coconut milk, not the light stuff. If you’re looking for a really intense coconut flavor, you might want to go with the vanilla coconut frosting option instead of the cocoa one.

You need:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of sweetened desiccated coconut

Cocoa coco frosting option:

  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4 oz. heavy whipping cream

Vanilla coco frosting option (my pick!):

  • 6 oz marscapone cheese
  • 6 oz soft cream cheese
  • 8 oz heavy whip cream
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 sweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream together until light and fluffy again. Scrape sides for even mixing. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each to ensure mixing. Scrape down the side
  3. In a second bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In third (smaller) bowl, mix 1 cup of a well shaken can of coconut milk and a teaspoon of vanilla.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry flour ingredients to the bowl of creamed butter/sugar and mix. Then add in 1/2 of the coconut milk/vanilla ingredients and mix. Continue alternating with the wet and dry mixtures, ending with the dry. Stop mixing once the ingredients become incorporated, but don’t over beat. Dice up desiccated coconut into shorter pieces and fold coconut into batter.
  5. Scoop batter into cupcake papers three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Check with toothpick for doneness. If the toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean, then they’re ready (don’t over bake). Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute or two in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the cocoa coco frosting:

  1. Make sure butter and milk are room temp! Cream butter in mixing bowl. Add cocoa and sugar, alternating with milk and beat until spreadable consistency. In separate vessel, blend/mix whipping cream until thick. Fold desired amount of whipped cream (I did about 2 ounces.) into frosting.
  2. Spread across cupcakes and top with coconut! Place in fridge to cool until easily spreadable

For the coco vanilla frosting:

  1. Beat marscapone cheese and cream cheese together. Add sugar and beat until incorporated. Whip cream and vanilla together until stiff peaks form. Fold half of whipped cream into cheese mixture.
  2. Chop coconut into shorter pieces. Fold coconut and remaining whipped cream in. Place in fridge to cool until easily spreadable.



  1. Posted May 6, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    I love coconut – love love love. And I’m from FL!

  2. Posted May 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    Ah, they look delicious. I really like the idea of coconut milk in the batter. I did not know that bit of trivia about coconuts. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Posted May 7, 2010 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    I love me some coconut cupcakes. I like to use cream of coconut in frosting and in the cupcakes along with shredded. Mmmm.

    Oh! These cupcakes remind me of mallocups! I don’t know if you can get mallocups in FL, but they’re like reese’s pb cups but there is the chocolate shell but with toasted coconut in it and a marshmallow creme center. Also delicious in ice cream form.

    So anyway, I’ll be making these, thanks for the recipe :D

  4. gabi
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    Dammit, don’t think I’ve ever had a mallo cup. I just looked them up, and yup, they’re pretty cute!

  5. Posted May 7, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Shit yes we have mallocups in Florida. If I know nothing else, I know this. Actually, I think you can get them anywhere. I’m going to one up Florida-style with these: http://www.candy.com/Key-Lime-Coconut-Patties-24-Count_p_1604.html

    And Gabi- Guava jam. And mini Cubans. C’mon…

  6. gabi
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    Look Kathryn, we’re not doing mini Cubans. Not happening. Next you’ll be asking for cafe con leche and mini cigars too. Will you drop it if I make you a Cuban sammie this weekend? And alright already with the guava! Apparently you think this is the Hello, Cuba show. Sheesh.

    FYI: I am doing guava and queso blanco toasts. Hopefully that will appease you somewhat.

    Those coconut patties are insane.

    i love you.

  7. Posted May 7, 2010 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    Oh I know what might be good, if you put guava paste in the middle. You can buy a cube of it at Publix, I use it to make guava pastries with phyllo all the time. This sounds like a fun event to get to cater!

  8. gabi
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Yup, got a block of it and a jar of the jam waiting in the fridge ;) Not sure I’ll do it in the cupcakes though. I’m thinking guava and cheese toasts.

  9. Posted May 8, 2010 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    these look so amazing. my mouth is watering.

  10. Posted May 12, 2010 at 2:42 AM | Permalink

    Can you send one to me? Australia isn’t so big on the grand coconut.

  11. Posted May 14, 2010 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Oh my gosh. I want these, right now. :) It was great to meet you the other day at the It’s Better meet up.

  12. Posted May 26, 2011 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    Very interesting cup cake recipe, I’ve never had cup cake with shredded coconut before, looks really delicious. I have to make this cup cakes. Thanks for the recipe.

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