Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes

Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes ~ easy-peasy tender moist coco-nutty cupcakes topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting ~ these are perfect for spring flings!

Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes are easy-peasy tender white cupcakes topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting ~ it’s no wonder they were super popular at her famous Barefoot Contessa shop!

Girl holding a coconut cupcake.

crowd pleasing coconut cupcakes

These classic cupcakes were crowd pleasers year after year in Ina’s Barefoot Contessa shop on Long Island, and I’m so not surprised. They’re easy to make and really there’s not a single bad thing I can say about them. The batter is easy to throw together and the cupcakes bake up with perfect little domes. The frosting is to die for, it has the tang of cream cheese without being overpowering. And who can resist big fluffy mounds of coconut?

Coconut cupcakes on a glass tray.

grocery list for coconut cupcakes

  • 8 ounces cream cheese ~ you want the brick style cheese, not whipped. I recommend the full fat version.
  • 7 ounce bag of sweetened shredded coconut ~ you want moist sweetened coconut, I use Bakers Angel Flake.
  • buttermilk ~ if you don’t keep buttermilk in your fridge, you should! It makes such a difference in baking.

pantry staples

  • butter
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • flour
  • vanilla and almond extract
  • baking powder and soda
  • salt
  • confectioner’s sugar
Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes made in pretty Liberty print cupcake wrappers.

baking with coconut ~ choose the right kind!

The cake is tender and moist, and has half the bag of coconut folded into it. The frosting is topped with the other half, so there’s plenty of coconut presence. There are lots of different types of coconut (desiccated, shaved, flaked and shredded) and you want to be sure to buy the right type. I use Bakers Angel Flake. It’s sweetened flaked coconut that is quite moist.

TIP:  If you’d like to top your cupcakes with toasted coconut, spread it on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring after every minute, until it turns golden brown.

cupcakes with coconut frosting on a wooden board.

dress up your cupcakes

In honor of spring I baked the cupcakes up in some cute floral wrappers I found on Amazon. I keep all my decorative cupcake liners stacked in mason jars, it’s an old Pinterest hack that really works great to keep them organized and crush proof

Pretty Liberty print cupcake wrappers for Ina Garten's Coconut Cupcakes

FOOD STYLIST’S TIP:  after baking and frosting, slip a second fresh muffin liner onto your cupcakes for a prettier look.

Coconut cupcakes in pretty wrappers

We found that the cupcakes fit perfectly into a coffee carrier ~ the perfect way to tote them to the office, or to a neighbor!

Coconut frosted cupcakes with floral napkins

more coconut, please!

Ina Garten's coconut cupcakes on a tray
3.65 from 133 votes

Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes

Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes ~ these easy-peasy tender cupcakes are topped with the most insanely delicious coconut cream cheese frosting!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 10 cupcakes
Calories 684kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 ounces sweetened coconut

cream cheese frosting

  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 pound confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 3 1/2 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 325F
  • Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. I do this in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each one. Beat in the extracts.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add it to the mixing bowl, alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined, and scrape down the bowl. Fold in the coconut. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the mixing bowl to get everything incorporated.
  • Fill 10 cupcake liners. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden browned and done through. You can test with a toothpick if you like. The tops should spring back when lightly touched. Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pan, then remove them to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting cream together the soft cream cheese and butter. Add the extract and the sifted sugar and beat until fluffy. Frost the cupcakes generously and top with coconut.

Cook’s notes

  • These are hefty cupcakes. If you are baking for kids you can make them smaller.
*Recipe lightly adapted from Ina Garten ~ it’s in her Barefood Contessa Cookbook. I’ve halved Ina’s recipe, because I didn’t want 20 cupcakes around to tempt me.


Calories: 684kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 277mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 63g | Vitamin A: 1105IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    May 10, 2017 at 10:23 am

    These are a coconut lover’s dream. Perfect as a dessert….but I would love one with my afternoon latte!! Great for brunch too.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Who are we kidding, Gloria ~ they make the best little breakfast treat, too 😉

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    May 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Love, love, LOVE coconut! After lemon, my favorite flavor for sweets (chocolate is a distant third — go figure!). Anyway, these look wonderful — thanks.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Then I might just have to blow your mind and make a lemon coconut dessert one of these days John!

  • Reply
    Platter Talk
    May 10, 2017 at 8:28 am

    I’ve never had a recipe from Ina that wasn’t delicious and these cupcakes, I’m sure will be no exception!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I didn’t know you could buy Liberty print napkins….. now I know what to get my mom for Mother’s Day! And BTW I’m obsessed with anything Ina. these cupcakes look so good!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 8:09 am

      I bet your mom will love the Liberty stuff Rebecca ~ and Ina…there are no words…:)

  • Reply
    Marianne | Basil & Bubbly
    May 10, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Ina is just the QUEEN of fabulous confections, isn’t she? I love love love coconut, but I’ve never had her Coconut Cupcakes. I can’t wait to give this a try! ( … and to do some serious organization of my cupcake papers! )

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Haha ~ and yes, she really is, I think her baking recipes are some of her best, they truly never fail.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Those cupcake papers are so pretty and I love the mason jar tip! I’m headed down to the pantry to grab one! These cupcakes look fantastic!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 10, 2017 at 5:12 am

    I’ve made these cupcakes and know they are wonderful but you’ve made them look absolutely gorgeous! Love those cupcake wrappers and your pretty presentation!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 7:28 am

      I’ve always ogled them but never made them until now, I think they’re divine 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    May 10, 2017 at 4:54 am

    So lovely and I’m with you! Ina never let’s me down 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day, Sue!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 7:41 am

      I <3 Ina

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    May 10, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Sue, these look so dreamy and beautiful and I have no doubt that they are divine too. Have never seen sweetened coconut over here…can I replace it with regular dried one?

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 7:27 am

      It’s so interesting how certain products (ahem, canned pumpkin) don’t seem to make it across the pond. I can’t imagine baking without sweetened coconut. The issue is that it is very moist, as opposed to regular dried coconut. If you can find something that has a little moisture to it, or even maybe shred a fresh coconut?

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    May 10, 2017 at 4:06 am

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe Sue! I will have to give these a try very soon. So perfect for all graduation parties, baby or wedding showers or just because! They are beautiful!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 7:40 am

      Thanks Tricia, I think they’re great for entertaining because they’re so easy to put together and they have great appeal. Minis would be great for a baby shower!

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