3 cupcakes on a green and white napkin

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

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting

A vanilla cupcake with coconut flakes inside and a tender fine crumb and a lime buttercream frosting.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Buttercream, Citrus, Coconut, Coconut Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Frosting, Light Coconut Cupcakes, Light Cupcakes, Lime
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 206kcal


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)


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • To prepare cupcakes, place 2 muffin cup liners in each of 12 muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray.
  • Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.
  • Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
  • 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).
  • Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add flour mixture and milk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  • Fold in coconut and vanilla.
  • Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center.
  • Cool in pan 2 minutes; remove from pan.
  • Cool completely on wire rack.
  • 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.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating just until smooth.
  • Spread about 2 1/2 teaspoons frosting onto each cupcake.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 189mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.


  1. Aggie May 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    I saw these and have been craving them! I love the combo of lime and coconut…mmm…

  2. Reeni♥ May 29, 2009 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    These are my dream! I just love coconut and lime. They look so fragile and pretty!

  3. Carrie May 29, 2009 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    I’m not a huge lime fan, but these look so great!

  4. Linda May 29, 2009 at 9:00 pm - Reply


  5. Barbara Bakes May 29, 2009 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    I love this flavor combination! I don’t usually make buttercream, but this one looks great!

  6. JyLnC May 29, 2009 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    They look like summer!

  7. spatulascorkscrews May 29, 2009 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Awesome! I can taste those babies from here!

  8. jillbert May 29, 2009 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    I saved this page from the magazine because they looked so good. I’m glad to hear that they are good, and thanks for the tip on the coconut extract!

  9. Katy ~ May 29, 2009 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Do you think swapping out coconut milk for the milk would be too much? You delight me with your pleasure in discovering fantastic recipes. Grins.

  10. Anonymous May 29, 2009 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Okay, now I need an “occasion” that calls for your strawberry cupcakes as well as this one! I called my co-op and they don’t carry potato starch, so thanks for the tip on the cornstarch sub, Shelby. Kathye

  11. Pam May 29, 2009 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    These are totally my dream cupcake – they look delicious and pretty!

  12. Gera @ SweetsFoods May 30, 2009 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Really a dreamy and refreshing cupcake..coconut and buttercream wow so summery!! the theme is I’m near winter but desserts are for all the year :)) Yummmm….



  13. Laura May 30, 2009 at 12:39 am - Reply

    These look wonderful–the coconut is probably perfect for me! I love lime…

  14. teresa May 30, 2009 at 12:47 am - Reply

    Dreamy indeed, they look wonderful!

  15. Linda May 30, 2009 at 1:05 am - Reply

    Like a pina colada in a cupcake!

  16. Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" May 30, 2009 at 2:14 am - Reply

    These are so pretty, the colors are so light and summery! They sound really really good too =)

  17. Ingrid May 30, 2009 at 2:23 am - Reply

    THIS girl would LOVE one of those little beauties, too!

    Btw, I’ve found potato starch in the Jewish section of the grocery store. I didn’t buy any as I thought it pricey and only needed 2 tbs.

  18. Tangled Noodle May 30, 2009 at 2:57 am - Reply

    I’ve been seeing visions of lime and coconut everywhere recently – two of my current favorite ingredients! I know it’s nowhere near as healthy but I’d probably substitute coconut milk for some of the fat-free milk; I’m addicted to the stuff!

  19. Elyse May 30, 2009 at 3:42 am - Reply

    I’m with you and your DIL: these cupcakes are right up my alley. I ADORE coconut. I can’t wait to try these out, and I will definitely use coconut extract (love that stuff). Delish!

  20. Tracey May 30, 2009 at 3:58 am - Reply

    Thanks for the review – I’ve been wanting to make these since I saw them when my Cooking Light issue arrived last month!

  21. Pamela May 30, 2009 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I saw these in the mag, too. They look just as tempting here as they did there! Beautiful.

  22. Bellini Valli May 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Anything involving cocoanut is absolutely perfect in my books.

  23. Lynda May 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    This sounds like a perfect flavor combo, lime and coconut-Yummy! I’ll have try these as my hubby adores coconut!

  24. alwayswinner786 May 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    What a delicious dish and a unique
    combination of flavor.
    A must try.

  25. Amy J. May 30, 2009 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Aw MAN, I absolutely adore coconut and lime together (I even have a coconut-lime “body butter” lotion)! I think that lime is good in SO many things! I bet these were awesome. They look great! 🙂

  26. the ungourmet May 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Oh my goodness these look so amazing. I have got to make them!

    Your cupcake photo is beautiful!!

  27. shellyfish May 30, 2009 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    These looks so delicious – cupcakes are just so fun!

  28. noble pig May 31, 2009 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    I know, flecks of lime in frosting are sublime!

  29. Jen May 31, 2009 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    These cupcakes look pretty and delicious!

  30. Alta May 31, 2009 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    I just finished reading my CL issue today and thought “hmm, these look good!” when coming across this recipe…and here, you’ve already made them! I do like things that are supposed to be coconutty to taste of coconut, so when I make them, I’ll take you up on your suggestion and use coconut extract. These look pretty, great job!

  31. Stacey May 31, 2009 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Oh boy these look so delicious! I love Cooking Light. 🙂

  32. Carolyn May 31, 2009 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    I saw that recipe in Cooking Light also. It looks so good. I love the combo of lime and coconut. Great suggestion about the coconut extract.

  33. Katie June 1, 2009 at 12:24 am - Reply

    I just made these and took your recommendation about the coconut extract. Three words about this recipe A-MAZ-ING!!! Loved them! Thank you so much for sharing! I'll be sure to point my followers back to your blog when I post this awesome find!

  34. Cristine June 1, 2009 at 8:42 am - Reply

    I want, I want, I want! They look so delicious! Can’t wait to give them a try!

  35. Creative One June 2, 2009 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Cupcakes look amazing. Love the combination of flavors.

  36. Patsyk June 2, 2009 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    I didn’t read all the earlier comments, so forgive me if someone already mentined it… but, you can usually find potato starch in the Kosher foods section of the grocery store. Just for future reference…

    Those cupcakes look so moist and delicious! I just love CL recipes!

  37. roysie June 3, 2009 at 3:25 am - Reply

    I made these for a dinner party and they were AMAZING! The best cupcakes I have ever had. Thanks for the recipe!

  38. Danielle June 7, 2009 at 12:42 am - Reply

    Oh boy!!!! Can I have one now please!?!?
    Coconut + citrus = my dreeeeaaaam!!!!!!

  39. Kristen March 30, 2011 at 1:28 am - Reply

    I've been eying that recipe too in CL. I love citrus in cupcakes! Yum!

  40. honeyb March 30, 2011 at 4:05 am - Reply

    LOVE coconut and lime. These look great and I'm sure they taste fantastic!

  41. Anonymous March 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Love these! I could use one, too, because we're supposed to get snow tomorrow. Funny! My family still talks about the Opera Cake, too!

  42. Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen March 31, 2011 at 2:55 am - Reply

    A perfect dessert! I love, love, love the flavors.

  43. sophistimom April 22, 2011 at 12:53 am - Reply

    Those look really good! I want lime and coconut cupcakes now!

  44. marla March 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    These sound amazing!! Love that lime frosting 🙂

  45. Miriah October 24, 2019 at 12:08 pm - Reply


  46. […] bake all of my favorite recipes the keto way now. A favorite non-keto cupcake recipe of mine is the Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream Frosting. As a matter of fact, if your family is not keto, you may want to make that recipe for them and […]

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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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