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Kids Can Make Coconut Cupcakes with Pineapple Frosting and So Can You

Posted by Sue on Jul 15, 2019


To be honest, I find it fairly difficult to read coconut cupcakes with pineapple frosting without smiling. This recipe is packed with toasted coconut and juicy pineapple frosting that comes together in a joyful cupcake combination. If you are trying to adventure in the cupcake department or trying to come up with a dessert that you can make ahead for a dinner party, this is a fantastic recipe to try.


This recipe is taught at The Chopping Block during our kids and teen summer cooking camps. Each week has a different theme and this particular recipe is taught during the American Regional week. One day is centered around Hawaiian-influenced recipes that include how to make mango and veggie spring rolls, grilled huli huli chicken with spam fried rice and coconut cupcakes with pineapple frosting. I am lucky enough to teach these teens camps and let me tell you this recipe has been beyond a hit with the kids. If they can breeze through this recipe, so can you!

I have included a few tips that will help you replicate this recipe. Scroll down for the recipe in a traditional format with the ingredients and instructions listed.   

Tip #1: Toast the coconut

toasted coconut

This step is so simple and so worth it. Shredded coconut tastes relatively bland without toasting or adding heat to bring out the flavor. Toasting the coconut for this recipe really brings out the essential oils and an additional nutty flavor. This step should not be missed! 

cupcakes coconut

Tip #2: Vanilla bean paste vs vanilla extract 


Vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract are two ingredients that can be easily confused. Vanilla bean paste contains actual seeds that come from a vanilla bean pod. Vanilla extract is made from soaking vanilla beans in alcohol and water. I prefer vanilla bean paste for the frosting for a couple of reasons:

  1. Vanilla bean paste has an incredible amount of flavor.
  2. Being able to see flakes of vanilla bean in the final product has a visually appealing effect.

A little amount goes a long way with this Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla bean paste in terms of the visual appearance in your end product. You can use the same amount of vanilla bean paste as vanilla extract. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract, you can use 1 Tablespoon of vanilla paste instead. This paste can be found at either of The Chopping Block's retail stores. 

Tip #3: Use a scoop


This scoop is a game changer. Have you ever looked at a picture of muffins or cupcakes on Instagram and wondered how they are all the same size? This scoop measures the batter out perfectly. This scoop can also be found at either of our stores. 


Coconut Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Active time: 30 minutes

Start to finish: 50 minutes

  • 1/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º, and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Place the shredded coconut in a food processor, and blend until finely ground.
  3. Place the shredded coconut on a sheet tray and place in the oven until toasted (5-10 minutes). Take the toasted coconut out of the oven and place in a medium-size bowl.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl with the coconut, and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, measure together the butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the egg, egg white and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the coconut milk.
  8. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups.
  9. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and when the tops spring back, 18 to 20 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool completely before topping with Pineapple Frosting (recipe follows). 

Pineapple Frosting

Yield: Approximately 2 cups; enough to frost 12 cupcakes

Active time: 15 minutes

Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes (includes chilling time)

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  1. Place the pineapple juice in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the juice has reduced to approximately 3 tablespoons. Pour into a small bowl, and refrigerate until cold.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the powdered sugar and salt, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla bean paste and reduced pineapple juice, and beat until smooth. 



We still have a few spots available in our late summer kids and teen camps. Get your kids cooking this summer before they have to head back to school! 

See our Kid & Teen Summer Camp Flyer


Topics: coconut, cupcake, desserts, cupcakes, baking, dessert, pineapple

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