Mar 29, 201707:37 AMStyle Girls

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Tropical Treats

Tropical Treats

I’ve been making these cupcakes for a few years now, and out of all the baked goods I make, these are by far the most requested for holidays and birthdays. In fact, I make them every Easter.

This recipe is super easy and simple (it only requires one bowl people, ONE BOWL!), which is part of the reason it’s so great. It’s also gluten-free, which means it’s perfect for those with food allergies or sensitivities—my aunt with celiac disease can vouch that these are “the best” gluten-free cupcakes she’s ever had (thanks aunt Lezlie!). The secret to the ultimate coconut flavor is coconut oil in the batter of the cupcake; not only does it make every bite nutty and sweet, it also adds a spongey texture that lasts for days. I start this recipe by making the icing first, that way it can chill in the fridge and become the perfect texture for piping. Then I just rinse out my mixer bowl and start the cupcakes—it’s easy breezy.

*I found these adorable daffodils on Etsy from Fondant Flowers; the owner was super nice and shipping was fast, in case you make these for Easter and don’t have time to make your own toppers.

Emmy’s Famous (Gluten-Free) Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream

Makes one dozen cupcakes.

Disclaimer: If you like a lot of icing on your cupcakes, I suggest doubling the icing recipe. It will make just enough to frost 12 cupcakes.



2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut milk (canned works fine)
1 tablespoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 unrefined cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 large eggs
1 cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix *Must have xanthum gum for this recipe to work. King Arthur is the BEST gluten-free flour to use for baking, in my experience.
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups coconut flakes for topping (optional)



  1. In a large bowl attached to a stand mixer, combine sugar, butter, coconut milk and extracts at low speed. Stop and scrape down the sides, then increase the speed to medium and beat an additional 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  2. Scoop icing into a plastic container and seal with a lid. Place it in the fridge to chill until the cupcakes are ready to be frosted.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake papers, and lightly spray the insides of the papers with non-stick spray.
  4. In your same stand mixer bowl (rinsed, of course), combine the sugar, butter, coconut oil, and coconut extract together at medium speed until well blended and lighter in color.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated after each addition.
  6. On low speed, add in the baking mix alternately with the coconut milk.
  7. Scoop batter by 1/4 cups into prepared muffin tins.
  8. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and the middle springs back when pressed lightly, about 20 to 22 minutes.
  9. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Allow them to cool on a rack for 5 minutes before removing them from pan. Cool completely on rack before frosting.
  10. Remove icing from fridge. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round or star tip and frost cupcakes. If spreading icing instead, you may need to microwave it for 20 seconds until it becomes spreadable.
  11. Sprinkle with or dip cupcakes in coconut flakes.
  12. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour: