Award-Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes


Award-Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Almond Filling and Coconut Milk Frosting will be the best cupcakes you’ll ever make (assuming you love coconut of course).

Award-Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Almond Filling and Coconut Milk Frosting

I’m proud to say I accomplished a milestone last week – I baked award-winning cupcakes! First place out of 32 entries :D The local newspaper hosted a cupcake contest on Monday. I entered these Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes, complete with a Coconut-Almond filling and topped with a Coconut Milk Frosting. This was my first competition ever, so you can imagine how excited and nervous I was.

Here is the newspaper article.

Award Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes |

When my dad showed me the article, I quickly dismissed it. To enter, you dropped off six cupcakes during a certain time. However, I had to work, so it wasn’t happening. The next morning, I woke up with an urge in my gut. Do it, do it, it screamed. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. After talking it out with some friends, it is clear I had already made up my mind (considering I already knew what I’d make). If I arrived right when the entries started, I only needed to take an hour of vacation time from work. The guys take off for hunting; why don’t I take off for baking?

Award Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes |

Last year’s winner made me nervous, considering the person used a cake mix. The winner was picked based on taste, appearance, and originality. I’m a huge believer in from-scratch baking, so this put extra pressure on me. What would it say about my skills if I lost to a box mix? I kept thinking about Juanita’s Cocina’s coconut milk frosting she did for her Easter carrot cake. When your gut screams, you listen. Next question was do I go tropical? Or opt for something else? I decided to pair up chocolate and coconut with devil’s food cake for the base.

Award Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes |
Picture of filling on Instagram
Award Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes |

And since this was a contest, I just had to go overboard with a filling. Normally I’d do a mousse filling, but the cupcakes would be sitting out all day with no refrigeration. What else would work? I imagined something similar to a German chocolate cake frosting with the milk, coconut, and nuts. After looking online, I found a recipe similar to what I had imagined. Instead of regular milk, I used coconut milk and added almonds for a crunch.

Award Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes |

And the frosting? Oh heaven, please pass me a spoon. Seriously, it has the texture of whipped cream, BUT you don’t need to refrigerate it. Heaven, I say! This may just be my go-to frosting from now on. The coconut milk is very subtle, so you can barely tell it’s even there when you add cake to it. Since I wanted the coconut flavor to come through, I added some coconut extract.

Award Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes |

The test batch looked great, but the cake was a tad bit dry. I think I overbaked them by a few minutes. Everyone who tasted them said they were great, but I wasn’t quite satisfied. They also said the frosting didn’t taste like coconut. When I was doing the entry batch, I switched to a cake recipe that included coffee and my secret weapon:

Scharffen Berger

These cupcakes tasted exactly like the devil’s food box mix my mom always made growing up. It was moist and absolutely divine. The best part is it’s all made with love, not chemicals. I think I overfilled the liners a bit though because they were more flat-topped than round.

Award Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes |

Regardless of the outcome, I’m really satisfied with my entry. I wouldn’t change anything, even with its simple appearance. A huge thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement as I worked on my entry. To hear your positive words really means a lot.

Yields 24

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes
Save Recipe


1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup hot coffee
1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup (1 + 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.
  2. Place the coconut for the filling onto a baking sheet. Toast in 5 minute increments until brown. Cool. Reserve 1/2 cup for garnish.
  3. For the cupcakes:
  4. In a medium heatproof bowl, add the chocolate and cocoa powder. Pour in hot coffee and whisk until smooth. Whisk in milk. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the chocolate mixture.
  7. Divide the batter into the paper liners and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  8. For the filling:
  9. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, sugar and flour until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat. Stir in remaining 2 cups toasted coconut, almonds, and vanilla. Allow it to cool until room temperature.
  10. For the frosting:
  11. In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and allow it to cool until room temperature.
  12. In a large bowl on high speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the milk mixture and coconut extract, beating on high speed until it is the texture of whipped cream.
  13. To assemble:
  14. Cut a hole out of each cupcake middle, being careful not to cut all the way through. Fill it with the coconut-almond mixture and top with some of the cake you just cut out. Frost to cover the hole and garnish with toasted coconut.

Sources: Cake adapted from Baked Explorations, Filling adapted from Baking 101, and Frosting adapted from Juanita’s Cocina
If you liked these Award-Winning Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes, you may also like these recipes from me:

Love what you read? Receive new posts in your inbox!

Did you make my recipe?

That makes my heart happy! Please let me know by sharing a photo on my Facebook page or uploading and tagging me on Twitter or Instagram using #chocolatemoosey (Note: If your Instagram account is private, you'll need to @chocolatemoosey as the hashtag won't make your photos public)

Comment Policy

Thank you for your comments! I read every single one and respond when possible. Your comment will show up once approved. I have the right the remove any that are spam or are downright spiteful.


  1. I am SO proud of you! Congratulations. These are absolutely beautiful!

  2. Congratulations on winning the contest! The cupcakes look absolutely delicious and I will have to make them soon.

  3. Wow, congratulations! These cupcakes are very well-deserving for 1st place! The picture with the filling, oh my. Absolutely wonderful!

  4. Congratulations, what an accomplishment! The cupcakes look delicious!

  5. Congratulations for the win!!! What beautiful cupcakes and scrumptious combination of ingredients! x

  6. Congrats on winning the competition! That’s quite the compliment and achievement – and these cupcakes look delicious. I love that you made them entirely from scratch – marvelous!

    • And I wanted to drop by and let you know I love these so much, I’m featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

  7. Huge congratulations! I am so glad you went for it, and those cupcakes look amazing!

  8. Congratulations!!!! The cupcakes look wonderful! I love the recipe!!

  9. Woohoo! You’re a total rock star like these cupcakes! Now, I have to make a ton of these since they’re award-winning! Congrats girlie! :D

  10. Wow, no wonder you won!! I’m really wishing you had saved me one right now! I can’t wait to try this recipe myself. And I agree about from-scratch baking. Box mix has it’s place, but it is no substitute for scratch. Congratulations!

  11. Congratulations on your big win!! I’m dying to try that frosting now! Whipped cream texture that can sit out at room temperature?? Amazing. That filling looks killer too, I love the added coconut texture! Congrats :)

  12. Congratulations!! Those are the most delicious looking cupcakes I’ve seen in a long time.

  13. These look like all sorts of amazing! I always (stupidly) forget that cupcakes can be filled with things too! I want one of these now… Congrats on first place! That is so freaking awesome! I want to find a baking competition and enter too, sounds fun :)

  14. Jessica says:

    This cupcake is awesome!! I love everything about it. First off the cake recipe is delicious, I had to taste it right out of the oven and oh my, you could stop right there and have a great desert. (I made just chocolate cupcakes with no frosting for tonight, they are that good) I’ve never made a cake batter with butter, but I will from now on. If you refrigerate them they kind of turn into the consistency of a brownie, equally as good. Thanks for the fantastic recipe.

  15. These sound amazing! For the frosting directions it says to add coconut extract but there is nothing in the ingredient list about coconut extract? Am I reading this incorrectly?

  16. They look really pretty indeed! I don’t even understand how can someone participate on a cake contest with a cake mix… Thanks for sharing the recipe and the beautiful photos!

  17. Congratulations! You really deserved to win, these cupcakes look gorgeous, must be very tasty. I’ve featured this recipes on my blog! I hope you don’t mind! If you don’t agree with that please contact me and I will remove it. All the best.

  18. Visiting via Sue’s Nutrition Buzz ! That is a gorgeous cupcake !! Bet the judges were bowled over ! Yummm ! Don’t have great culinary skills, but will try making it.

  19. I made them for my wife, they were the best cupcakes I’ve had the pleasure of eating. Congratulations on the contest, I can see why they won.

  20. Ok I’m posting ANOTHER review because these cupcakes are THAT good! I made them again yesterday. These are my go to cupcake recipe for entertaining. And the frosting, so delicious! I usually prefer a good thick rich frosting, but that was before I had this frosting! It’s so good.

  21. I used this concept… same filling but a different chocolate cake recipe and frosting. They were a huge hit! I used a little coconut extract instead of vanilla in the filling, and then just did a vanilla buttercream, drizzled some caramel and then loaded the toasted coconut on top. They were definitely coconutty enough without the coconut frosting. Fantastic!

  22. I’ve made my fair share of cupcakes from scratch and these are up there with the best ever!! Delicious! That filling, oh, that filling! And I love the light silky frosting, it pairs great with the thick filling. Thank you for sharing! I’m excited for my Easter guests to try these tomorrow.

  23. First off Congrats these look amazing. Did you use the scharffen berger chocolate bar for the 1 oz of bittersweet chocolate? I have a cupcake comp at work and I’d really like to make these.

    • Yes I did. I didn’t specify the brand in the recipe itself because it can be any brand. And I’m flattered you are choosing my recipe! I do strongly encourage you put your own spin on it :)

      • Ok thanks and I will for sure put my own spin on it. I tried them this weekend and my cupcakes turned out a little dry maybe it was too long for my oven but the frosting and the filling and the flavor of the cupcake was so good. I’m going to try again with some pudding mix and extra large eggs and less time in the oven and see how they turn out. This really is a very good recipe and thanks so much for sharing it with everyone :)

        • I’m guessing they turned out dry because you either overbaked them or overmixed the flour. They are definitely not dry. Good luck!

          • Oh yes I probably did over bake not everyone’s oven is the same and I’m sure yours weren’t dry. They were still very good I’m going to try again this weekend and thanks for tip about the flour ill make sure I watch that next time also :)

  24. I love coconut and these cupcakes are beautiful! Congrats Carla. Quite late, but congrats!!!

  25. I have a cupcake blog called My Year of Cupcakes. I featured your amazing Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes on Day 43. Here’s the link to that day if you wanna take a look!
    They also won for the week (, so they’ll compete on September 30th in my Monthly Competition!
    Thanks for the recipe!!

  26. I made these this past weekend for a birthday/football playoff party. They were devine! Everyone loved them, think is is my new favorite frosting! Thanks and congratulations!

  27. Hello! These cupcakes sound soooo yummy! My mother is a huge coconut fan, so I am going to make these for her birthday. One question…(I am not the best baker! Still learning! )The coconut milk used, is that the canned coconut milk that seems to be a bit stronger than the coconut milk like “silk” or “so delicious” brands? I am not sure if those are the same thing or if it matters which I use? Thanks!!!

    • Canned coconut milk you find in Asian and/or Latin aisles. Make sure it says coconut milk and not cream of coconut or coconut water. I believe the brand I used was Imperial Dragon (blue can).

  28. Love coconut and can’t wait to try this weekend! Question: the shredded coconut – is it sweetened or unsweetened??? Thanks!!!

  29. Sammi K says:

    I don’t usually comment but these were AMAZING!

    Somehow in my first batch I forgot to add the cocoa powder, not to fear, still delicious. So I did it again today with the cocoa powder, even better!

    I am curious though, I do not see where the whole milk goes in… I may be overlooking something, but I cannot find it. I ended up adding it this time to the wet mixture and it turned out great so I’m not sure.

    Thanks for sharing! Hope my coworkers enjoy them tomorrow as much as we have this weekend.

    • In Step 1 under “For the cupcakes,” you whisk in the milk after you whisk in the coffee. Your coworkers are going to love you for this Monday morning treat ;)

  30. can these cupcakes be made and frozen without the icing

  31. OK let me start off by saying I LOVE and I mean LOVE this recipe. I don’t even really like coconut or chocolate lol but family does and it was for them but these have me hooked. So I made then a handful of times with great success. I wanted to make them for my family I was visiting in Alaska, but my nephew is allergic to milk and eggs so they had to be vegan. I tried 3 different times to no avail. The frosting nor the cakes turned out. I was so bummed! I was wondering if anyone else has had vegan success? Thanks!!

  32. I made these cupcakes for my coworkers birthday and everybody raved about them! They are so decadent! The only thing I did differently was I piped the filling into the cupcakes using my
    2A decorating tip. The icing is to die for! Thanks for this recipe -its a winner all right!!:)

  33. lillian mittner says:

    can I use almond milk for the filling

    • I haven’t tried it with almond milk, but I do know it won’t thicken up as much. I would like to say add more flour, but I honestly don’t know for sure.

  34. Brittney says:

    These cupcakes look and sound like absolute perfection!!!! These is the way I dream about cupcakes when I think to myself that I want something delicious and unusual! Now if I could just come up with something like this but with a hazelnut theme instead ;-)

  35. Carla,
    You mentioned adding coffee and your secret weapon with a picture of the sea salt almond milk chocolate. Did you add some of this to the filling? The cake? or a bite for the cook? I’m making these tomorrow and hope to gain some insight.

    • It’s the chocolate I melted into the batter, where I call for 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate. Now I know the photo shows 41% cacao, but that’s because the bittersweet chocolate I did use was gone when I took the photo. Now that I’m looking back at the photo, I can see how it may be misleading. Certainly wasn’t my intention! I just wanted to show the brand of chocolate I used. With that said, I have made these cupcakes with other brands of chocolate, and they turned out fine. Semisweet would even work too if that’s what you have.

  36. Kiara Fiorella Abad Bruzzo says:

    Hi! This recipe sounds absolutely delicious, I want to try it for a friend’s baby shower and I am so excited :D
    I wanted to ask, would it be possible to replace the brown sugar with regular granulated sugar? What impact would that have on the recipe?
    By the way, I stumbled upon your blog while looking for cupcake recipes and it is just amazing! Thank you and congratulations on the award ;)

    • The brown sugar adds a good bit of moisture to the cupcakes, making sure they don’t dry out. I highly recommend following the recipe as written.

  37. I made the coconut frosting and used granulated sugar as it says on the recipe and the frosting did end up having sugar granules in it. Why do you use granulated sugar and not powdered? I typically would only use granulated sugar in frosting if I were melting the sugar. otherwise then that cupcakes were great.

    • I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the frosting. It sounds like you may not have beaten the frosting long enough or maybe not on a fast enough speed to incorporate the sugar with the butter. I will clarify the mixer speed in the directions as that was my fault. As for not using powdered, it’s based on a recipe I adapted. I have made these cupcakes numerous, numerous times using granulated sugar and have not had an issue with grainy frosting.

  38. I keep coming back to this recipe, it’s been my favorite dessert for about 3 years now! Thanks for posting it :)

  39. I love this recipe! Help please – the cake often comes out too dry. How do I make it richer, more moist?

    • A few tricks:

      1. Make sure you are properly measuring your flour with a spoon and not scooping and packing it in. You can do a google search on proper ways to measure flour.
      2. Don’t overmix the batter once you add the flour.
      3. Don’t overbake the cupcakes.

Speak Your Mind