Coconut Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting are tender, full of coconut flavor and have the most amazing lime flavored buttercream ever! Needless to say, these cupcakes are at the top of my list of favorites!

I loved these cupcakes so much, that after we switched over to a Kety lifestyle, I remade them into a keto version! If you are interested in Keto recipes, then be sure to try my recipe for Keto Coconut Cupcakes!

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

Cooking Light Recipe – Family Favorite

I originally found the original Coconut Cupcake recipe in a Cooking Light magazine. One ingredient out of the norm in this recipe is potato starch. This is not something I normally keep on hand so I looked for a substitute and found you can easily substitute cornstarch. And, your cupcakes will still turn out light and delicious.

I am completely and totally enamored with coconut and lime. I love flavors separately, but I really love them combined. That makes these cupcakes the number one favorite (non-chocolate recipe) on my list!

3 cupcakes on a green and white napkin

FAQ about this Coconut Cupcake Recipe

Can I use coconut extract in place of the vanilla extract?

You can use any flavor that may compliment your cupcake and the lime buttercream frosting.

What is potato starch and why is it used in this recipe?

Potato starch is very similar to cornstarch. It can be used as a thickener and adds moistness to baked goods. Cornstarch can be used in place of potato starch.

Can I substitute unsweetened coconut in place of sweetened coconut?

Sweetened coconut is just that, coconut with added sweetener. It is moister than unsweetened coconut. Having said that, you can substitute. You can expect the cupcake to have a little less sweetness to it but it shouldn’t affect the final product.

a bag of fresh limes

Tips for making Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

  • Coconut can have long strands. Since you are using only 2 tablespoons of coconut, I recommend chopping it before measuring it. This way you don’t have long “string like” pieces of coconut in your cupcake.
  • For an actual coconut flavor, substitute coconut extract in place of vanilla in the cupcake portion of the recipe.
  • When making the frosting, be sure your butter is at room temperature. If it’s too hard, it will not cream well with the powdered sugar.
  • If your frosting doesn’t have enough lime flavor, you can always add another tablespoon of lime juice. You may need to add a little more powdered sugar if you do so to make sure the frosting is of spreading consistency.
Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

Bonus tip: Do you want MORE lime flavor? Zest a little extra lime rind and sprinkle it on top of the coconut cupcakes. It not only adds flavor but makes it look prettier in presentation also.

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

Do you like chocolate cake? Then you may want to make my Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting!

3 cupcakes on a green and white napkin
Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

A vanilla cupcake with coconut flakes inside and a tender fine crumb and a lime buttercream frosting.


For the Cupcakes:

  • Cooking spray
  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 4.75 ounces powdered sugar, sifted (about 1 1/3 cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. To prepare cupcakes, place 2 muffin cup liners in each of 12 muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray.
  3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.
  4. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
  5. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended (mixture will be the consistency of damp sand).
  6. Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  8. Fold in coconut and vanilla.
  9. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
  10. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center.
  11. Cool in pan 2 minutes; remove from pan.
  12. Cool completely on wire rack.
  13. To prepare frosting, combine 3 tablespoons butter and next 3 ingredients (through juice) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
  14. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating just until smooth.
  15. Spread about 2 1/2 teaspoons frosting onto each cupcake.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving Calories 206Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 44mgSodium 189mgCarbohydrates 36gFiber 1gSugar 25gProtein 3g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy, but will vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients you use. Please consult with your doctor regarding specific health needs.

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