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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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Can you substitute coconut cream for the buttermilk?

    • Reply
      March 14, 2018 at 10:42 am

      I think so, but I might use coconut milk instead, for a more similar consistency.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 3:50 am

    5 stars
    Love this – I usually make the full Ina recipe and its delicious but this is perfect for just a few. I ended up with 12 though! Thanks!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

      Glad you liked them Corey, thanks!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2017 at 9:54 am

    I have not made these cupcakes of Ina’s but after seeing your gorgeous shots of them I need to try them ASAP! I love your idea of keeping liners in a jar. Brilliant hack. Pretty liners too 🙂

  • Reply
    May 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, these look so inviting I just want to bury my face in them, Sue! I love a good cupcake and can never have enough coconut. So pretty too!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    5 stars
    Bring on the coconut, these cupcakes look like a dream! (and the Liberty prints are too cute!)

  • Reply
    2 sisters
    May 10, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    5 stars
    So true Sue who can resist a delicious coconut with mounds of coconut in top? We’re drooling over your beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing Ina’s recipe! Have a wonderful Mother’s Day this Sunday!

  • Reply
    Theresa O'Heron
    May 10, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Another Ina lover! She’s the best! Have all her cookbooks, and have used many recipes. Most are bookmarked. But I love your recipes too and soooo enjoy your emails! People like you inspire me!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks so much Theresa ~ I think I have all Ina’s books, too, and I keep them all together on a shelf right above where I sit at my desk, they’ve got the place of honor I guess. And I especially appreciate you saying you’re into the emails, because I’m always worried they might bug people 😉

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Your post today, made me especially happy. So beautifully photographed, but I love cupcakes, icing and coconut….wonderful, and thank you!!!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      That’s a lovely comment, thanks so much for taking the time to leave it Marilyn, you made me happy 🙂

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I think I made these many years have inspired me to make these photos AND the tip about storing the pretty liners..adorb.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2017 at 11:11 am

    … and I love that you did the math for us so we can have the down-sized recipe! Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Even downsized Ina never fails! And there was no way I was going to have 20 of these things in my kitchen ~ too dangerous.

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