Serve These Vegan Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes for Your Next Celebration

I know at least one of you will be throwing a party soon. And every party needs cake.

Vertical image of mini desserts topped with frosting swirls and toasted garnishes, with text on the bottom and top of the image.

You have quite a selection to choose, lucky duck: there are layered cakes, cookie cakes, and cheesecakes, just to name a select few.

But if you’re on the hunt for something specific, say, a dairy-free cupcake with a bit of flavor and texture, I have exactly what you need!

Vertical image of part of a cupcake topped with a swirl of frosting, in front of a black background and white towel.

Vegan vanilla coconut cupcakes are moist and sweet, with creamy coconut milk and flecks of coconut throughout each bite.

Topped with a little mountain of fluffy vegan vanilla frosting and garnished with pretty toasted coconut flakes, birthday candles are close to irrelevant.

They’re beautiful, aren’t they?

Vertical top-down image of a series of decorated vanilla baked goods on a slate surrounded by golden-brown garnishes.

It’s a surprisingly simple and easy recipe – with no crazy alternative ingredients to replace the dairy and eggs, don’t be shocked if you already have everything you need in your kitchen and pantry.

The recipe uses a small handful of essential kitchen ingredients, like oil, flour, sugar, and vanilla, with just a few specialty ingredients like coconut milk, flakes, and vegan butter.

Vertical image of vanilla baked goods topped with white frosting and golden-brown garnishes in front of empty muffin liners.

It was a HUGE relief when I found out I had all of the ingredients at home!

I kissed that unnecessary trip the grocery store goodbye once I got back home from a tiring day of work.

Vertical close-up top-down image of a dessert with a swirly mound of frosting and a golden-brown garnish.

Which was incredibly lucky for me since, since I already had my sweatpants on and sangria in my hand.

Serve and enjoy them on their own, or with a few spoonfuls of fresh raspberries on the side for a pop of delightful color.

Vertical close-up image of a swirly mound of white frosting with a golden-brown topping.

Glass of sangria optional. Or a necessity, whatever your perspective is. As long as you’re happy, I’m happy.

Print
Horizontal image of decorated cupcakes with toasted coconut garnishes.

Vegan Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x

Description

Need a vegan dessert recipe worthy of any fun celebration? Make these moist and fluffy vegan vanilla coconut cupcakes.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegan granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

For the Frosting and Garnish:

  • 1/2 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) vegan stick margarine, room temperature
  • 33 1/2 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add the remaining liquid ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
  4. Pour batter into cupcake liners, and bake 25-30 minutes or until centers come clean. Remove from oven, and allow to cool.

For the Frosting and Garnish:

  1. In a small skillet, toast the coconut flakes on medium-high heat until golden brown, tossing continually. Set aside to cool.
  2. As the coconut flakes are cooling, mix the margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until whipped.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time, starting at a low speed and slowly increasing to high speed, until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the salt, milk, and vanilla until completely incorporated, using more milk and sugar as needed.
  5. Pipe the icing on the baked cupcakes, and top with a couple of the toasted coconut flakes. Serve and enjoy!

  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: coconut, coconut milk, cupcake, frosting, vegan

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep

Horizontal image of assorted dry and wet ingredients in bowls on a dark surface surrounded by white flakes and a white towel.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with 12 liners. Set aside.

Measure all of the ingredients for the batter.

Step 2 – Combine Dry Ingredients

Horizontal image of a white bowl with white dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, vegan granulated sugar, coconut shreds, baking soda, and salt.

All-purpose flour is great, but if you want a slightly lighter and fluffier final product, consider using cake flour instead.

Step 3 – Add the Liquid Ingredients

Horizontal image of a thick light yellow batter in a white bowl.

Add the coconut milk, canola oil, vanilla extract, and white vinegar to the bowl of dry ingredients. Only mix until just combined, which will prevent the cake from being too tough and chewy.

Step 4 – Divide Batter in Muffin Pan

Horizontal image of a muffin tin with each cup lined and filled with a light yellow batter.

Evenly divide the batter among the 12 liners in the prepared muffin pan. I like using a large cookie scooper to get the most even amount of batter.

Step 5 – Bake

Horizontal image of baked light yellow muffins in a pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the they are puffy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove immediately from the oven, and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.

Step 6 – Toast the Flakes

Horizontal image of a pan with orange handle, with toasted coconut flakes.

While the cupcakes are cooling, place the 1/2 cup of coconut flakes in a small skillet. Toast over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until they reach a golden-brown color.

Immediately remove from the heat and let cool completely before garnishing.

Step 7 – Make Frosting

Horizontal image of frosted cupcakes on a slate.

Measure all of the ingredients for the vegan frosting, being sure your vegan stick margarine is at room temperature for easier mixing.

Mix the margarine sticks in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until whipped.

Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time, starting at a low speed and slowly increasing to high speed, until light and fluffy.

Mix in the salt, non-dairy milk, and vanilla until completely incorporated.

The mixture should be thick, but still easy to spread. If it is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Place in a piping bag fitted with your choice of piping tip (we used a star tip), and pipe the frosting on top of each cupcake.

Step 8 – Decorate and Serve

Horizontal image of decorated cupcakes with toasted coconut garnishes.

Garnish the top of the frosting with one or two pieces of the toasted flakes. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Enjoy every bite!

You Might Never Go Back to Plain Ol’ Vanilla Cake!

Oh, yes, I’m serious! For someone who consumes A LOT of dairy and eggs (no shame!) I’m head over heels for this vegan dessert recipe.

Vertical image of one single decorated cupcake with vanilla frosting, next to toasted garnishes.

And once you taste it, you’ll know why:

It’s moist, it’s fluffy, it’s soft… and with the most tantalizing texture of flaked coconut!

Sure, there are tons of options to serve all kinds of cake at a party. But you betcha I’ll be making this cupcake recipe over and over again.

How do you celebrate a fun shindig while sticking with a vegan diet? What are some of your favorite recipes to bake as a sweet showstopper? Let me know in the comment section below!

For more vegan sweets, take a look at some of our other favorite cake recipes:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on June 18, 2009. Last updated: September 11, 2019 at 22:23 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best cheesesteaks, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

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