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Toasted Coconut Snowball Cupcakes

Scott Phillips

Yield: Makes 18 cupcakes

These coconut cupcakes and their frosting get their full-on coconut flavor from coconut milk that’s reduced to intensify its flavor. Most grocery stores will sell both shredded and flaked coconut. Either variety may be used as long as it’s “sweetened,” but the longer shreds make for a more elegant presentation.

This recipe is excerpted from Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets. Read our review.

Video: Watch Abby demonstrate how to make her Toasted Coconut Snowball Cupcakes.


For the condensed coconut milk

  • 2 cans (13-1/2 oz. each) coconut milk

For the cupcakes

  • 2-1/2 cups (11-1/4 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 12 Tbs. (6 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 16 Tbs. (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2-1/2 cups (10 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt

To serve

  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted


Make the condensed coconut milk

  • Give the coconut milk cans a shake before opening, pour into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. (The milk settles a bit as it cools. You will need 1 cup for the cupcakes and 1/3 cup for the frosting.)

Make the cupcakes

  • Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line 18 regular-sized (2-3/4-inch diameter) muffin cups with paper or foil liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended.
  • Put the butter in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla with the last egg. Stop to scrape down the bowl and the beater as needed.
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix on low speed until just blended. Add 1 cup of the cooled condensed coconut milk and mix just until blended. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed until just blended.
  • Portion the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (a scant 1/4 cup of batter per cup will be about two-thirds of the way full). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Move to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and set them on a wire rack and let cool completely.

Make the frosting

  • While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Put the butter in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the remaining 1/3 cup of the cooled condensed coconut milk, the vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until the sugar is combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy.

Assemble the cupcakes

  • Portion the frosting evenly among the cooled cupcakes (about 2 tablespoons per cupcake). Using a small metal spatula, mound and swirl the frosting on top of the cupcakes, leaving a border of cake around each one. Sprinkle each cupcake generously with the toasted coconut. Serve immediately; the cupcakes are best served at room temperature.

    dodge mini treats and hand-held sweets cookbook

Make Ahead Tips

The coconut milk can be prepared and stowed in the refrigerator up to 5 days ahead. Bring to room temperature and stir before using.

The cupcakes can be prepared through Step 3, covered, and stowed at room temperature for up to 1 day before frosting.

The frosted cupcakes can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Rate or Review


  • weezi | 12/14/2016

    I've made these twice - for a baby shower and an office potluck, both times to rave reviews - someone even suggested I should open a cupcake store. I found reducing the coconut milk took more than 20 minutes (more like 45) and it is a bit tedious to keep measuring to make sure you haven't reduced too much - so best to prepare this ahead (and it can even be frozen). Make sure you reduce to the exact amount stated in the recipe so your batter and icing are not too loose. Give the batter one extra stir with a wooden spoon to ensure an even, thick consistency - I didn't do that the first time and the cupcakes were lopsided and I had to trim them to make them rounder (but they were still delicious). Not too sweet.

  • user-3053991 | 04/12/2014

    Delicious! Possibly the best cupcakes we have ever made...

  • User avater
    mowgli | 10/25/2013

    This is spectacular! My husband would have given it ten stars if he could! This will replace the family favorite coconut cake with lemon curd filling I've made for years. The icing is divine. Yummmmmmm.

  • User avater
    chefjeff | 04/22/2013

    Below is the quote I received last night while we were in bed watching Seinfeld reruns and eating this fabulous cupcake. We'd gone to dinner with our best friends and I wanted us all to come home to the same dessert. This is what Denise emailed me..."Our lives changed after the first bite of cupcake!!"This is SUCH a keeper of a recipe. The texture of this cupcake is like nothing I've ever experienced, and the flavor was addictive. Reducing the coconut milk was an easy process, and was totally the secret to these treats. Wondering here about doing this again with some sugar, to create a form of coconut jam. Anyway, I'm still in cupcake heaven here, so excuse the rambling about all things coconut.Cheers,Jeff

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