Go Back

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

A deeply chocolatey cupcake frosted with a creamy vanilla buttercream, rolled in toasted coconut and drizzled in salty caramel!
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder (Dutch-process or natural)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 extra-large (or large) egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee

Salted Caramel

  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1.5 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extra
  • pinch salt

Toasted coconut

  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut (or unsweetened shredded coconut if that's all you can find)


Make the cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
    Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk until blended.
  • In another bowl (I usually use a liquid measuring cup), combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Then stream in the hot coffee and whisk again until everything is combined and smooth (but don't overmix, which will make the cake tough!).
  • Divide batter evenly between 12 cupcake cavities (you'll fill them almost to the top). Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean or the tops spring back when poked. Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then turn out to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the caramel

  • Combine water and sugar in a small or medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Then increase heat to high and bring to a boil (do not stir at this point). Then let mixture boil until it turns amber--this took about 10 minutes for me, but Danielle says it could take anywhere from 4-12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and slowly stream in the heavy cream while whisking. Then whisk in the butter, vanilla and salt. Let caramel cool completely before using! You can make this ahead of time and store in the fridge overnight before using on cupcakes. Mine was still very runny the next day, but if yours thickens after being refrigerated, you can microwave it to loosen it up.

Make the buttercream

  • Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, whip the butter until creamy (about 1 minute). PS. If you forgot to bring your butter to room temperature, you can microwave it for 8-10 seconds to take the chill off!
  • Add the powdered sugar (ideally sifted for fewer lumps) and cream for 3-4 minutes to get a super fluffy texture. Add your desired amount of heavy cream to get the buttercream to your desired consistency, vanilla and salt, and cream again for another 1-2 minutes until fully incorporated.

Assemble the cupcakes

  • First, toast your coconut! Add the dry coconut to a frying pan over medium heat and toast until golden, stirring occasionally (it's okay if it's unevenly browned). Let cool completely before using.
  • Using an offset spatula, use a few tablespoons of frosting per cupcake to frost each cupcake with a smooth top and flat, angled sides (see videos above for inspiration). Then roll the cupcake in the toasted coconut and drizzle with salted caramel and enjoy!


This recipe is an amalgamation of the following recipes:
1/2 recipe of Ina Garten's chocolate cake
1/2 recipe of Live Well Bake Often's salted caramel sauce
1/4 recipe of Sally's Baking Addiction's vanilla frosting

Did you try this recipe?

Tag @thepancakeprincess on Instagram!