Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream

Fluffy coconut cupcakes topped with silky coconut buttercream and crunchy toasted coconut chips- these bite size treats are a gluten free tropical treat of the sweetest kind. 

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I feel a cupcake moment coming on – beware the creations that may fill this space over the next few weeks. The last time I felt this fever I had just returned from my first trip to New York with my best friend Casey. That trip was an epic feast from the moment we landed, and one of the best memories I have is eating cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery while watching the pigeons peck around our feet. After our excitement at picking out which cupcakes we wanted to taste (vanilla and chocolate for me, chocolate and red velvet for Casey) we sat on an old iron and wood bench in a small park opposite the store and devoured our pack of cupcakes in a sugar frenzy. I remember floating back to our hotel room on a cloud of crumbs and frosting, and the smile on Casey’s face when she bit into that first cupcake is a memory I will carry for a long time.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A good gluten free cupcake is often hard to come by, and I can sympathise with bakers trying to cater to gluten free clients. Simply substituting a commercial gluten free flour mix doesn’t always yield the best results and getting the correct mix of naturally gluten free flours takes experimentation. Sweet, sweet experimentation. I have had my own fair share of cupcake shaped disasters, and when I attempted these coconut gems I thought long and hard about the combination of flours, and the mixing method required for the best results possible.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The list of flours seems long here, but I can promise you that this combination yields a fluffy, tightly woven crumb for a cupcake that doesn’t disintegrate on first bite. Don’t substitute gluten free flours if possible. The ones I have listed here are available in most supermarkets now, or easily found in health food stores or online. Each mouthful is packed with coconut flavour thanks to the coconut flour, coconut milk, and coconut essence. Then each little cake is topped with silky smooth coconut buttercream and (store bought) toasted coconut chips.

The method here is the simplest for cake making. Melted butter is whisked with sugar, egg whites, coconut milk, Greek yoghurt, and vanilla and coconut essences. This wet mix is then combined with the flours and raising agents. Bake, cool, frost, and decorate. Very easy. Your very own gluten free cupcake moment is easy to create – you don’t even need a mixer!

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life


Go ahead, treat yourself to a little coconut bliss, and create a cupcake memory of your own.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream

Makes 24 small cupcakes or 12 regular cupcakes | Gluten Free

Note: if you do not required these to be gluten free simply use 220 grams (generous 1 1/2 cups) plain/all purpose flour in place of the buckwheat, white rice, brown rice flours and almond meal. I recommend using the coconut flour even if you do not need the mix gluten free as it adds a nice texture and coconut flavour.


For the cupcakes

  • 30 grams coconut flour
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 70 grams almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut essence

For the buttercream

  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut essence
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or coconut milk if you have some leftover)
  • Toasted coconut chips, flaked coconut, or other decorations as desired


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line 2 x 12-hole small (1/4 cup capacity) cupcake pans with papers. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together coconut flour, buckwheat flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together melted butter and caster sugar.
  4. Add eggs, yoghurt, coconut milk, and essences and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and beat until smooth.
  6. Spoon batter evenly between papers. Fill each to only 2/3 full so they do not overflow.
  7. Place cupcakes in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden and bounce back when lightly touched.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting and decorating as desired.
  9. To make the frosting: beat butter until pale (about 2 minutes) in a large bowl using a handheld mixer. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  10. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and decorate as desired. You could also use a small palette knife (or butter knife) to frost cupcakes instead.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life