coconut cupcakes

Cooking, but even more particularly, baking, is such a useful and potent form of therapy for me.

The more deadlines I have on, the more pressure in my life, the more likely I am to be found in my kitchen, looking through cookbooks and messy stacks of recipes scrawled in pen or ripped from magazines. With flour scattered on the kitchen island and dishes and ingredients piled high on the counter, I stand in the middle of it all, my hands working the bread dough, or stirring the dates for a batch of old-fashioned matrimonial squares, or rolling out the pastry for a cheddar and onion tart. This is my domain. This is what I do.

The act of creating food is part art, part science, part memory, part story passed down through generations, and a good measure of love. A process so physical, so fundamental, familiar, tangible and therapeutic that every time I cook, it feels like a return to myself.

This year we have a wedding in our family. My gorgeous, impossibly generous, eldest daughter is getting married. Her equally lovely sister is to be her only attendant. The handsome groom-to-be is currently serving overseas.

I’ve promised to make the wedding cupcakes. After searching through countless books and websites, I settled on these wedding-like coconut cupcakes: white, ethereally light, blissfully sweet, full of flavour, perfectly moist and aesthetically beautiful. The coconut in the batter adds substance and texture. A perfect wedding cupcake. Also, as it turns out, perfect for Easter.

wedding cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes

This recipe is adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker.


  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut, pulsed in the food processor until finely ground
  • 1 cup butter, room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Frosting (double this amount for wedding cupcakes)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tsp coconut extract


  1. Line cupcake pans with 24 extra-large or jumbo cupcake liners. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and finely ground coconut (coconut should be about breadcrumb sized)
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together for at least three minutes or until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat lightly after each addition.
  5. Spoon the batter into the lined cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until top springs back lightly. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Make the frosting: use an electric hand mixer to beat the butter, then stir in the icing sugar and coconut extract and beat for at least two minutes until light and fluffy.
  7. Garnish the cooled cupcakes with icing, toasted coconut (1 cup, spread on a baking sheet, placed in cooling oven for about 5 minutes), and small chocolate eggs.


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