I know at least one of you will be throwing a party soon. And every party needs cake.
You have quite a selection to choose from, 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!
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?
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 fridge and pantry.
The recipe uses a small handful of essential kitchen ingredients, like oil, flour, sugar, and vanilla extract, with just a few specialty ingredients like canned coconut milk and flakes, and vegan butter.
It was a HUGE relief when I found out I had all of the ingredients at home!
I kissed that unnecessary trip to the grocery store goodbye, and unwanted nuisance after a tiring day of work.
And this was incredibly lucky for me since, since I already had my sweatpants on and a chilled glass of sangria in my hand.
Serve and enjoy these on their own, or with a few spoonfuls of fresh raspberries on the side for a pop of delightful color.
The glass of sangria is optional. Or a necessity, depending on your perspective is. As long as you’re happy, I’m happy.Print
Vegan Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
Need a vegan dessert recipe worthy of any fun celebration? Make these moist and fluffy vegan vanilla coconut cupcakes.
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 margarine, room temperature
- 3–3 1/2 cups vegan powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1–2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, shredded coconut, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the remaining liquid ingredients, and mix just until incorporated.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and allow to cool.
For the Frosting and Garnish:
- In a small skillet, toast the coconut flakes on medium-high heat until golden brown, tossing continually. Set aside to cool.
- While the coconut flakes are cooling, beat the margarine 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, milk, and vanilla until completely incorporated, adding more milk and sugar as needed to adjust the consistency.
- When cupcakes are completely cool, pipe the icing on top, and garnish with a couple of the toasted coconut flakes. Serve and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Cupcakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Vegan
Keywords: coconut, coconut milk, cupcakes, vanilla, vegan
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Set aside.
Measure all of the ingredients for the batter.
Step 2 – Combine 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
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 becoming tough and chewy.
Step 4 – Divide Batter in Muffin Pan
Evenly divide the batter among the 12 liners in the prepared muffin pan. I like using a large cookie scoop to get the most uniform amount of batter, which will promote even baking.
Step 5 – Bake
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
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
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 and gradually add the powdered sugar, 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
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.
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 vegan cake at a party (hello, quick and easy chocolate cake!). 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: June 15, 2022 at 12:52 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.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger 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's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
16 thoughts on “Serve These Vegan Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes for Your Next Celebration”
These turned out super tasty and this recipe is now a go to.
Seriously, Kimmy, it’s a DEFINITE go-to that you can make quickly and easily. Just made a big batch for all of my co-workers last week!
Looks great, & I can’t wait to try it! However, I only have oat milk. Can I use oat milk in place of the canned coconut milk?
Oat milk is higher in sugar/carbs, higher in fiber, and lower in fat than canned coconut milk. You should be able to use it as a 1:1 substitute in this recipe, but your cupcakes might come out a bit darker than the ones pictured here, since the sugar will likely caramelize a bit more. Please let us know how they turn out!
By baking soda do you mean baking powder or bicarbonate of soda??
Hey, Nicol! Not baking powder – that is a different product. Baking soda is a common name for soda bicarbonate, or bicarbonate of soda.
Would I be able to substitute apple cider vinegar for the white vinegar? The recipe looks so delicious!
Yup, that would be an easy substitution!
Hi! Looks amazing and can’t wait to try this recipe. Can I use vegetable oil instead of canola oil?
Thanks, Shnee! Yes, that would be totally fine to use vegetable oil instead of canola oil, since they are both neutral-tasting oils. Use an equal amount.
Yes, that’s fine!
My friends and family loved these cupcakes! They were super easy to make, too. Thanks for sharing!
Easy recipe and the results were fantastic. Thanks for publishing this!
Hi! Should I use the liquid or solid part of the coconut milk? Or should I mix them together?
Hey, Yazmin! If the coconut milk has separated, I recommend mixing them together to get a thick and creamy homogenous liquid before adding to the recipe.
Super easy and delicious!! I only bake the cake ..I used organic virgin coconut oil instead of canola (not available). I sprinkle some sugar and coco flakes on top and broil it very quick to caramelize the top 😅. Turned out great!!! Quick snack for today’s warm weather in NJ. THANK YOU!!