Skip to Content

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes + Lemon Buttercream

These Lemon Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream are a delicious spring cupcake to celebrate a birthday with!

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!

If you want to garnish the lemon coconut cupcakes with toasted coconut, dead over to this post to learn how to toast coconut flakes in 3 different ways (they’re all super easy!), how to store toasted coconut, how long toasted coconut lasts, and the many different ways you can use this fun, tasty ingredient!

Lemon Coconut Milk Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Lemon Coconut Milk Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Yield: 36 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

These Lemon Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream are a delicious spring cupcake to celebrate a birthday with!


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:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with cupcake cups or grease using nonstick cooking spray.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Mix until combined. Slowly pour half of the coconut milk into the batter. Beat until well incorporated.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

  1. Cream the butter in the large mixing bowl of a stand mixture. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar as you continue to cream.
  2. 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.


Cupcakes heavily adapted from Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes
Buttercream adapted from My Baking Addiction

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 36 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 331Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 53mgSodium 186mgCarbohydrates 46gFiber 1gSugar 34gProtein 3g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!


Monday 8th of October 2012

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 :)


Monday 8th of October 2012

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


Monday 23rd of April 2012

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!


Monday 23rd of April 2012

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.

Jennifer Doan

Thursday 29th of March 2012

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


Friday 30th of March 2012

Absolutely! Enjoy!

Antonia Hart

Tuesday 27th of March 2012

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 :)

Antonia Hart

Tuesday 27th of March 2012

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


Tuesday 27th of March 2012

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!


Wednesday 27th of April 2011


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?


Thursday 28th of April 2011

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.

Skip to Recipe