Lemon Coconut Cupcakes + Lemon Buttercream

Birthday Recipes, Cakes and Cupcakes, Dessert | 71 comments

Well Logan. It’s that time again – your birthday! Every year I can’t believe how much bigger you have gotten. And this year you’re SIX! How did that happen? Are you sure you’re really that old?

We’ve been through a lot this year. Starting Kindergarten and being disappointed with public school. Finding a new school a month into the school year and bravely making a change that we hoped would be for the better, despite the 20 minute haul every morning to get there. (we were right!)

It’s amazing how your tastes have changed…and how some haven’t at all. You aren’t nearly as into the Solar System as you were last year. I don’t know if you can even remember all the moons of Saturn or how many Earths can fit inside Jupiter.

You still love garbage trucks and recycling and I know I can count on you to bring the cans into the garage every Thursday after school. I know you’re disappointed that you don’t get to see the trash man anymore because you’re at school all day now.

You’ve gotten to be a pro at math (As pro as a kindergarten-er can be, and then a little more) and I’m so proud of how hard you work at school.

lemon and coconut cake

You went through a period a few months ago where you bugged daddy and me incessantly about when you will have a baby brother. And for some time you pretended that you already had a baby brother. You even named him J.J.

You want a dog so bad, but we’ve told you that you have to earn it first by acting responsibly. You forget this bargain nearly every day and we have to remind you again, but that’s ok.

You’re an amazing navigator in the car and have an incredible sense of direction. You know all the roads en-route to and from our house and even a few alternates (and some times that’s a little bit annoying because you’ll tell me at the last possible minute that you’d like to go a different way).

lemon coconut milk cupcakes with lemon buttercream

I know you think I’m mean all the time, but it’s really because I love you so much and am trying to teach you right from wrong. Someday when you’re a daddy I know you’ll understand. But for now, know that I love you and I’m trying my hardest to be a good mommy.

I hope you have a great 6th year! I can’t wait to see what adventures we’ll find ourselves on this year.

Hugs and Kisses (even though you’ll just wipe them off),

p.s. I just realized that you haven’t called me “mamum” in a while. I miss that.

coconut lemon cupcake recipe

We sure loved these Lemon Coconut Milk Cupcakes and Lemon Buttercream! The Coconut milk made the cupcakes so moist. I would have liked to mix some coconut flakes either into the batter or the buttercream, but I knew that would be against the birthday boy’s wishes and abstained.

To see what we were up to last year, check out Logan’s Solar System Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttermilk Cake and How To Have a Solar System Birthday Party. It was a blast!

Lemon Coconut Milk Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

cupcakes heavily adapted from Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes
buttercream adapted from My Baking Addiction

Print Save Recipe


For the Cupcakes:
4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
zest of 2 extra large lemons
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups light coconut milk

For the Lemon Buttercream:
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
juice of one extra large lemon
2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
milk, if needed, to reach desired consistency


For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with cupcake cups or grease using nonstick cooking spray.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Zest the lemons. Add to a bowl with the sugar and rub with your fingers to release the aromas from the lemon skin. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the coconut extract. Beat for 3 minutes.

Mix until combined. Slowly pour half of the coconut milk into the batter. Beat until well incorporated.

Add half of the flour mixture, beating until incorporated. Then, add the remaining coconut milk, beating until smooth, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Scrape the sides and give it one last beating so it is mixed well.

Divide batter into cupcake tins. Makes 3 dozen (36) standard sized cupcakes. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.

For the Lemon Buttercream:

Cream the butter in the large mixing bowl of a stand mixture. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar as you continue to cream.

Add the salt and lemon juice. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat on high speed until fluffy and smooth, adding milk (if needed) to reach desired consistency.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Amy | She Wears Many Hats - March 07, 2011 @ 6:19 am

    Lovely post Katie. And lovely cupcakes too! Drooling now…


  • 2
    A Bowl Of Mush - March 07, 2011 @ 6:23 am

    Yum these look gorgeous!

    Happy birthday Logan! :)


  • 3
    The Blue-Eyed Bakers - March 07, 2011 @ 6:52 am

    Aw what a delicious birthday treat! Love the lemon and coconut combo…sounds completely tasty…!


  • 4
    Liz @ Blog is the New Black - March 07, 2011 @ 7:18 am

    Gorgeous cupcakes! I just made coconut cupcakes, but I love your addition of lemon!


  • 5
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies - March 07, 2011 @ 7:58 am

    This is so sweet! And so are the cupcakes ;)


  • 6
    Cookbook Queen - March 07, 2011 @ 8:12 am

    Oh my gosh these look wonderful!!

    My son turned 6 in September, he is in Kindergarten, and I also enrolled him outside my district in a school 20 minutes away!! So I totally understand about the long haul to school. The drive is mostly highway, so not a lot of traffic but a lot of miles.

    Boys are so much fun, aren’t they? They really love their mamas, but want to be so grown up at this age.

    I hope he enjoyed his special day!!


  • 7
    Amanda - March 07, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    Happy Birthday little man!


  • 8
    Kathy - Panini Happy - March 07, 2011 @ 9:00 am

    Happy Birthday, Logan!! Your mom made you some gorgeous cupcakes. Hope it’s a special day!


  • 9
    naomi - March 07, 2011 @ 10:08 am

    Your boy is adorable and love the letter you wrote to him. What a great mom you are!

    And of course the cupcakes look and sound delicious.


  • 10
    RhodeyGirl - March 07, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    How do you get the frosting to be two colors like that? Do you load the pasty bag alternating or ???


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 7th, 2011 @ 10:24 AM

      I am going to do a Kitchen Tip post on that next Tuesday. :)

  • 11
    Jennifer (Savor) - March 07, 2011 @ 10:41 am

    I want the cupcake liners – share please


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 7th, 2011 @ 10:46 AM

      I bought them from Bake it Pretty probably 7 months (or more) ago. I just checked and I don’t see them on their site anymore. :(

  • 12
    SKIP TO MALOU - March 07, 2011 @ 10:56 am

    what a sweet letter to your son… I am so moved by it. I’m so sentimental about it since my youngest son is leaving for college soon. Enjoy the years ahead, and making memories such as this will always keep him home.

    These cupcakes are dainty…the speak of LOVE!


  • 13
    SKIP TO MALOU - March 07, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    oops sorry for the typos, i clicked submit comment so fast, it makes me quiver…


  • 14
    Jenn - March 07, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    Cute post and beautiful cupcakes. Happy Birthday to Logan!


  • 15
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - March 07, 2011 @ 11:48 am

    Happy Birthday Logan! Sounds like you’ve got a really special mama there.


  • 16
    THECOFFEEBREAK - March 07, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    Very cute cupcakes, love lemon and coconut combo! And happy birthday to little guy!


  • 17
    Emma - March 07, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

    Utterly beautiful cupcakes!


  • 18
    Tickled Red - March 07, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    What a sweet, sweet post Katie. Happy Birthday to your little man, man the next birthday take twice as long to get there ;)
    Love the recipe as well darlin’. XOXO


  • 19
    Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} - March 07, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    Happy birthday, Logan! Such a sweet post and those cupcakes look amazing!


  • 20
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction - March 07, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    What a lovely post! Almost brought a tear to my eye. It is so awesome that Logan will be able to look back at this for many years to come.

    Happy Birthday, Logan!


  • 21
    Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. - March 07, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

    What a sweet post to your son! Those cupcakes look fabulous! love the swirled icing!


  • 22
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - March 07, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

    Such a sweet letter, I’m sure he’s probably too young to appreciate it now, but one day he’ll be very happy that you took the time to write it for him, just like those kisses that he’s wiping off. It’s always like that with kids isn’t it – they want to grow up too fast!


  • 23
    Taylor - March 07, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

    Love the picture of the cupcakes! Looks delicious!


  • 24
    Kankana - March 07, 2011 @ 6:42 pm

    dropped in this wonderland and I am amazed with the beautiful display you have here :)


  • 25
    vanessa - March 07, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

    you are a wonderful mother.


  • 26
    Christina of Form V Artisan - March 07, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    These are so fun! Love it.

    Christina xo


  • 27
    Rachel {Mother's Mementos} - March 07, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

    The cupcakes are simply beautiful and so is your son! Happy birthday to the big guy!


  • 28
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - March 07, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

    Lovely post, Katie. And I want one of those beautiful cupcakes!! Happy birthday to your son.


  • 29
    Melanie - March 07, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

    This is too cute. I hope to some day be a cute mom like you! I love, love, love this.


  • 30
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum - March 08, 2011 @ 5:43 am

    Cute photoboards. Not to mention… those cupcakes look amazing!


  • 31
    Kristen - March 08, 2011 @ 6:45 am

    Such a sweet post. Happy birthday to your big 6 year old! I can’t believe how much he’s changed in this year. He looks so big!


  • 32
    kate@ahealthypassion - March 08, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    these are beautiful I love the two color frosting.


  • 33
    Anne - March 08, 2011 @ 8:02 am

    Hi Katie – What a wonderful letter to your son. It is something he will cherish (although probably won’t admit it!) for all his life. The cupcakes look absolutely amazing – cannot figure out how you got the dual colour though! Never in my life have I taken photographs like yours! First time ever seen your blog and I have starred it as one of my favourites – so you are only a click away. Kind regards from Edinburgh.


  • 34
    Maria - March 08, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    Happy Birthday to Logan! The cupcakes are darling! Great way to celebrate!


  • 35
    Tracy - March 08, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    These are so cute; I love the blue and white frosting. Happy birthday to Logan!


  • 36
    Julissa - March 08, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    I’d love to know what pastry tip you used.


  • 37
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - March 08, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

    Oh, I just love the flavors in these cupcakes! And, the blue and white frosting is just stunning! Happy (belated) birthday to Logan!


  • 38
    Annette - March 08, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

    How did you pipe the frosting on like that? So cute! And how did you do the cute cup cake cups? Happy Birthday!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 15th, 2011 @ 8:20 AM

      Here is a tutorial on the frosting: Kitchen Tip: Two Tone Frosting for Cupcakes

      The cupcake cups were purchased on Bake it Pretty several months back. I don’t know if they still have them.

  • 39
    Anne @ Baking Me - March 08, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    I love lemon and I love coconut, I’ve never had them together but it sounds delicious! Looking forward to the piping tips next week!


  • 40
    Sharlene - March 08, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    Such a sweet post. Happy birthday to Logan!


  • 41
    Heidi - March 08, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    Kudos to you for the cupcakes and the letter ~ you sound like a terrific mom ♥


  • 42
    Happy When Not Hungry - March 08, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

    Your son is adorable! I’m sure he adored his cupcakes especially with the blue frosting. Yum!


  • 43
    Wenderly - March 10, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    Happy Birthday Logan! What a lucky duck you are to have such gorgeous cupcakes to celebrate with on your birthday!


  • 44
    Allison @ Alli 'n Son - March 10, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

    These are so beautiful! I bet they taste every bit as good as the look. Happy birthday to your son!

    I’m hosting a weekly link up, Sweet Tooth Friday, and I’d love to have you share your recipe.


  • 45
    Emily@SoDomesticated - March 11, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

    What a sweet post… love the frosting!


  • 46
    TidyMom - March 12, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    These look and sound DELICIOUS Katie!!

    Thanks for linking up! I featured your post on my wrap up

    Have a great weekend!


  • 47
    Paula - March 12, 2011 @ 11:34 am

    What a beautiful note to your birthday boy and such a pretty cupcake.


  • 48
    TheGourmetCoffeeGuy - March 13, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    Great post and wonderful birthday celebration. Thank you for sharing.


  • 49
    SweetSugarBelle - March 13, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

    These are absolutely gorgeous, as are the photos! WOW!


  • 50
    Hazel @ TastyPursuits - March 19, 2011 @ 6:17 am

    I love that you used coconut milk! And the cupcakes look beautiful.


  • 51
    Chris - April 01, 2011 @ 7:04 am

    I made these cupcakes last week for my sister’s 30th birthday and actually made a mistake while making them. I used the amount of butter called for in the icing (2c!!) and didn’t realize my mistake until I went to make the icing. Well, it was a mistake worth repeating. The cupcakes were the most amazing cupcakes I have ever had–I actually had people hugging me at the party to thank me for making them! Now, as I prepare to make them again this wkd for a baby shower, I will NOT use 2c of butter but I will use 1c because the extra butter was soooo good in them (almost poundcake-like). Thanks for this recipe. Lemon and coconut has to be one of the most pleasant combinations out there…


  • 52
    Abby - April 22, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

    I’m a tad late to the party. I just made the batter and they’re in the oven. But….the recipe says to beat the butter, then add sugar, then eggs and extract, then the butter again? I read it 10 times and I can’t figure out what I’m reading wrong. Hopefully I did it right. They’re smelling wonderful! Thanks for sharing your recipe!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 23rd, 2011 @ 8:26 AM

      Sorry about the confusion, the second butter was a duplicate. I’ve fixed it now.

    • Abby replied: — April 25th, 2011 @ 12:50 PM

      Cool. I suppose I did it right then. Which makes sense, because they turned out DELICIOUS!!! I frosted half of them and then added a little coconut extract to the other half of the frosting so some of them had a little more coconut flavor. Either way–yum! Thanks again!

  • 53
    Jackie - April 27, 2011 @ 12:08 pm


    I would like to add some coconut to the batter, how much would suggest? Also, if I decided to add coconut to the frosting, how much would you suggest?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 28th, 2011 @ 7:41 AM

      Jackie, I’m not sure as I have never done this. With any additions, my recommendation is to always start out small and add until you feel like it looks right. Start with maybe 1/2 a cup for the batter and go from there. For the frosting, I’d probably just sprinkle coconut on top.

  • 54
    Antonia Hart - March 27, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    Hi Katie.
    I was hunting for lemon-coconut cupcakes to bake for my daughter’s birthday and came across these. First, this is a beautiful post, so sweet- you have a lucky little boy and I’m sure you’re a lucky Mommy as well :) Second, your cupcakes look amazing and I’m sure they tasted as good as they look! I would like to make maybe 12-18 cupcakes, but I want to use your recipe. I know from previous baking, splitting the recipe in half has been disastrous (for me at least). What would you suggest? Any tips would be great! Thanks so much :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 27th, 2012 @ 2:21 PM

      If splitting the recipe doesn’t usually work well for you, then I would suggest perhaps freezing the leftovers in an airtight ziploc bag after they are cooled (without frosting) for a later use.

      Here are the cupcake ingredients for 1/2 the recipe (around 18 cupcakes):
      2 cup all-purpose flour
      1 tsp baking soda
      1/2 tsp baking powder
      3/8 tsp salt
      1 large egg
      1/2 large egg (see here for how to use partial eggs: Kitchen Tip: How to Measure Partial Eggs)
      1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
      3/4 cups sugar
      zest of 1 extra large lemons
      6 tablespoons butter, softened
      1 1/4 cups light coconut milk

      Hope that helps!

    • Antonia Hart replied: — March 27th, 2012 @ 7:57 PM

      I will try it this weekend, can’t wait to taste them :) Thanks so much for your help!

  • 55
    Jennifer Doan - March 29, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    These look so lovely. I was wondering, could I substitute the lemon for lime instead?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 30th, 2012 @ 9:50 AM

      Absolutely! Enjoy!

  • 56
    Tawnya - April 23, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    I just made these, in hopes of serving them as a dessert tomorrow night. They turned out awful! They didn’t rise, they didn’t taste like lemon OR coconut and they are super dense! WHAT did I do wrong? They smelled like popcorn as they cooked and really taste like a corn cake? Soooo disappointed!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 23rd, 2012 @ 3:23 PM

      Baking can be very finicky and the smallest changes can affect the way a recipe turns out. While I cannot know exactly what went wrong because I was not in the kitchen with you, I can offer some possible scenarios:

      Baking Powder was expired.
      The batter was over mixed. Over mixing batter can decrease the air pockets in the batter that allow it to rise in a nice dome shape with light texture and can result in flat, dense cupcakes.
      The measuring cups were packed too full of flour.
      You live at lower or higher altitude than I do when I developed this recipe.
      You mistakenly left our an ingredient.

      I can’t even begin to think what would make it smell like “popcorn” as you described, so I cannot comment on that. I’m guessing that your “corn cake” description is in reference to the texture of the cupcake. I have had that problem before with recipes that needed to be adjusted for my altitude. When trying new baking recipes I always prefer to test them out a week in advance of when I serve them to avoid any potential set backs. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  • 57
    Samantha - October 08, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    Hi there,

    Your cupcakes are very pretty, and I’m about to attempt them for a birthday… but I noticed that you have had to adjust your recipes given that you’re in a higher altitude location (was actually there this summer, very pretty :) ) … is this recipe adjusted for higher altitudes? I live at about 400 ft above sea level is all… so is this going to work for me or?

    Thanks :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 8th, 2012 @ 5:27 PM

      I have not tested this below 1 mile high altitude so I cannot comment on how it will turn out.

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