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Coconut Cupcakes

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A quick and easy coconut cupcake made with a box white cake mix, light coconut milk and apple sauce. No butter, no oil necessary for this lower calorie cupcake recipe! Sweetened coconut flakes are combined with a light cream cheese frosting for a divine finish!

A quick and easy coconut cupcake made with a box white cake mix, light coconut milk and apple sauce. No butter, no oil necessary for this lower calorie cupcake recipe! Sweetened coconut flakes are combined with a light cream cheese frosting for a divine finish!Coconut Cupcakes

If you prefer baking from scratch, try these Pineapple Zucchini Cupcakes made with coconut flakes… amazing! And if coconut isn’t your thing, these Pineapple Bliss Cupcakes are one of my most popular desserts and are so simple to make. Enjoy!

And to give it an Easter vibe, don’t you just love these adorable Cadbury mini-eggs! Completely optional, but fitting for the Easter Holiday. If you’re a coco-NUT like me, you’ll just love these!

Note: If you make these a day ahead, don’t frost them. Keep the frosting refrigerated and frost them the day you plan to eat them.

A quick and easy coconut cupcake made with a box white cake mix, light coconut milk and apple sauce. No butter, no oil necessary for this lower calorie cupcake recipe! Sweetened coconut flakes are combined with a light cream cheese frosting for a divine finish!

 More Easter Dessert Recipes:

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Skinny Coconut Cupcakes

5 from 2 votes
A quick and easy coconut cupcake made with a box white cake mix, light coconut milk and apple sauce. No butter, no oil necessary for this lower calorie cupcake recipe! Sweetened coconut flakes are combined with a light cream cheese frosting for a divine finish!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
A quick and easy coconut cupcake made with a box white cake mix, light coconut milk and apple sauce. No butter, no oil necessary for this lower calorie cupcake recipe! Sweetened coconut flakes are combined with a light cream cheese frosting for a divine finish!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 24 servings
Serving Size: 1 cupcake


For the Frosting:

  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese, not fat free
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp natural coconut extract

For the Cupcakes:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup canned light coconut milk, Thai Kitchen
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp natural coconut extract
  • 18.25 oz white box cake mix, Duncan Hines
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 72 Cadbury mini chocolate eggs


  • In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese with the powdered sugar and coconut extract with a mixer. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners.
  • In a large bowl combine egg whites, coconut milk, apple sauce and remaining coconut extract. Mix well, then add cake mix and mix until combined.
  • Pour batter into lined cupcake tins about halfway and bake 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let cupcakes cool to room temperature.
  • Top each cupcake with 1/2 tablespoon of cream cheese, then top each with 1 tsp coconut flakes.
  • For an Easter theme top each cupcake with 3 mini chocolate eggs.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 cupcake, Calories: 196 kcal, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Protein: 2.5 g, Fat: 6.5 g, Saturated Fat: 1.5 g, Cholesterol: 1.3 mg, Sodium: 150 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 11.5 g


A quick and easy coconut cupcake made with a box white cake mix, light coconut milk and apple sauce. No butter, no oil necessary for this lower calorie cupcake recipe! Sweetened coconut flakes are combined with a light cream cheese frosting for a divine finish!
A quick and easy coconut cupcake made with a box white cake mix, light coconut milk and apple sauce. No butter, no oil necessary for this lower calorie cupcake recipe! Sweetened coconut flakes are combined with a light cream cheese frosting for a divine finish!

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117 comments on “Coconut Cupcakes”

  1. Made these for Easter this year! Everyone loved them. They were moist and the perfect sweetness.

  2. Hi! This recipe sounds awesome as I’m a fellow coconut lover. But I have to eat gluten free. Do you know if you can just substitute a gluten free cake mix, or would there need to be modifications? Thank you!

  3. HELP! I am making these for Easter but my Dunkin Hines cake mix is only 15.25 oz box, how can I adjust??

    1. I’ve wondered the same thing ! Ticks me off that manufacturers do that. We all understand an increase in price but to get that + LESS product is a real rip off ! Appears as though Pillsbury & Betty Crocker are also 15.25. That’s a full 3 oz difference. I’m thinking of making my own cake mix but in the interim I’ll just reduce the liquid slightly or maybe use 1.5 egg whites. Either way it will be a GUESS so will just keep my fingers crossed !!

      1. Thanks Gina – I’m no professional baker or anything tho been baking since Jr High some 50+ yrs ago. I’ve made this recipe several times and everyone LOVES them. I made a batch when I posted my 1st comment, they’ve cooled now and without the frosting both my husband and I taste tested them and they are every bit as good as previously. I reduced the coconut milk ever so slightly and used roughly 1.5 egg whites, those measurements may not help anyone but it seemed to work. I have a feeling even keeping with the original recipe with the cake mix being only 15.25 oz now that most likely it won’t matter. Just thought I’d share 🙂 Thank you for this great recipe !!

  4. Avatar photo
    Kimberly Turmel

    Might be a silly question but… Would this recipe still work as a cake instead rather than cupcakes?? 

  5. Pingback: Easter Cupcake Ideas - Ultimate List of Recipes for Easter Cupcakes – 3 Boys and a Dog

  6. Thank you for sharing the points+ on your recipe’s. I see so many things on here that look wonderful look great and you no WW people can eat a anything and if the points aren’t there or the nutritional values so I can use my point + calculator I just pass it by…so thanks for your help.

  7. We love your site and recipes so much we choose to feature this skinny coconut cupcake recipe on our Easter roundup here, Thank you!
    -The Happy Gal

  8. Avatar photo
    Joyce La Padula

    I made these for Easter, just according to the directions and they came out perfect. And beautiful.

  9. I can't find natural coconut extract anywhere! What would be the best substitute? I have both natural vanilla and imitation coconut extract.

  10. In response to Gina's question about Duncan Hines cake mixes that are now 16.25 oz. instead of the regular 18.25 ounces. The 16.25oz. are the new sizes for Duncan Hines, Pillsbury and Betty Crocker so for your cakes to come out good you have to add 5 or 6 tablespoons of flour or bake the cake longer as it may be more liquid. This is information I read in our newspaper and this was given by Kathleen Purvis of the Charlotte Observer and she consulted the Cake Mix Doctor, Anne Byrn, author of several cookbooks about doctoring cake mixes. Hope this information helps everyone.

  11. Gina, I am confused. The recipe for the icing calls for powdered sugar but the directions just say to "Top each cupcake with 1/2 tablespoon of cream cheese, then top each with 1 tsp coconut flakes." Where is the powdered sugar?

  12. Gina HELP!!!

    I bought a box of Duncan Hines white cake mix last night and they come in 16.25 ounce boxes. How should I modify the receipe so that they come out yummy?!?!

  13. If I don't use the applesauce for allergy purposes is that going to drastically change the taste?

  14. Avatar photo
    Linda Griffin

    To "Steriods Sale" – Your post has absolutely Nothing to do with this recipe and is totally inappropriate for this site. Plus, I seriously doubt that the people reading this site have the slightest interest in taking steriods!

  15. I made these for Easter this year and LOVED them! I brought the leftovers to work and they vanished. Most people didn't even know they were 'skinny' cupcakes and were shocked when they found out. Very tasty and seems like it would be easy to adapt to making other kinds of cupcakes. Great recipe! Recently found your blog and love it!!!

  16. Avatar photo
    Linda Griffin

    Gina, I love your site! My family is on Weight Watchers and the recipes on your site make our dinners and snacks so enjoyable. I have a quick question about your Skinny Coconut Cupcakes. Do we put any of the coconut in the batter? Also – I could only find a bottle that looks like the same product in your picture. It is a 2 ounce bottle and says: All Natural – Frontier – Alcohol Free – Coconut Flavor. It does not say it is an extract. Is this ok to use or do I need to keep looking? Thanks so much!

  17. Although I didn't end up making these (see above), I did steal the cute coconut "nest" idea plus the chocolate eggs (although I used M&Ms coconut, continuing on the coconut theme) – YUM!

  18. I wanted to try these, I did, but I'm really a from scratch baker (not so fond of the boxed mix additives plus I've got a 4 yr old with food allergies) – please make a from scratch version! (Perhaps this Duncan Hines copycat recipe is a start – – I was going to try to adapt, but I didn't know where to start)

  19. Avatar photo
    Because nobody likes Mondays

    I made 4 dozen of these at Easter and gave some out to all my friends. I got text messages all night long asking for the recipe. They were so delicious. Gonna go make another batch now because I can't get enough of them.

  20. I made these Easter weekend and they were a hit!! They were so good and really light and fluffy!! I used funfetti cake mix which added a little more color and made them a little more spring themed. I didn't get to make the frosting (I ran out of time so I had use the canned stuff).

  21. Thanks so much for the fab recipe. I live in South Africa, so could not find coconut flavor, but just left it out and they were yummy! I did not ice them, but painted them with melted jam, and rolled them in toasted coconut, very yummy! Thanks so much!

  22. These cupcakes were a huge Easter hit! Thank you for the recipe. I had to visit 6 different store to find the Coconut Extract, which was a bummer. I actually noticed the extract you picture is a Coconut Flavor and not an extract. Don't know if it makes a difference. Thanks again.

  23. I made these for Easter, they were great for grandkids and family. I only did the Cadbury eggs on a few. Bummer, those Cadbury eggs are yummy.

  24. Hi Gina,
    I made these, and they were delicious and easy!
    I also couldn't find reasonable coconut extract, but got a tiny
    bottle of coconut oil at my cake supply shop, and added a few drops along with vanilla extract. Usually make a southern chef's coconut cake, and this was delicious, portion controlled and so much easier!

  25. I made these for Easter and they were just awesome!! I am glad I saved a few for myself to have for this week. Delicious… a nd my favorite candy was included! I made them with Dark Chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs 🙂

  26. Thank you Gina! I made 48 of these for Easter dinner and everyone loved them! Nobody could believe they were healthy. The best part is that everyone thought I spent hours and hours making them and they were actually so easy and quick. I truly mean it when I say I do not know what my family ate for dinner before I found your website.
    I love banana bread and was wondering if you have ever tried to make it. I would love your receipe.

  27. Just wanted to let you know I made these and took them into work for the kids this weekend and they were a definite hit 🙂

  28. Thank you for this recipe. They are so good! A big hit at Easter, and one I will make again.


  29. I made these for Easter, they were a hit. I could not find light coconut milk, so I used the regular. They turned out fine. I actually like them better without the frosting.

  30. I made these today and they were a hit! My family raved about the frosting. I also had to use Pillsbury cake mix and imitation extract, but they were wonderful. I've had three :). Fairly new to the site (made 6-7 recipes) and a huge fan. Thanks Gina!

  31. hi gina i"ve made lots of your recipes and their all very good im also pretty nwe to the site but love it! im the girl with the coconut rum deal happy easter!!

  32. i gina im about to put the cup cakes in the oven cant wait to taste them oh yummy!!! i used coconut rum because i didnt want to spend six dollars on immatation coconut extractand i had the coconut rum on hand hope it works ill let you know!

  33. Just made these and had to substitute pillsbury cake mix and imitation coconut extract – still delicious! Impossible to tell that they're skinny cupcakes!

    They also look cool if you toast the coconut flakes first to make the tops look more like nests. My family thanks you!

  34. I made this for Easter dinner with the extended family today and everyone seemed to like them. I know did; I ate TWO. oh, well. Its Easter. It could have been worse. Thanks again for a great recipe, Gina. I took photos and tagged you (Skinnytaste) on facebook, Gina. Not nearly as pretty as yours but yummy all the same. 😀

    Happy Easter/ Passover, everyone!

    ~Christine R.

  35. They are soooo yummy! The frosting is Indulgent and the cake is moist. I highly recommend them!

  36. I just made these using a mini muffin pan and little jelly beans, they fit better on the smaller cupcakes – They are so wonderful and look so festive! Love them!!

  37. They don't sell many kinds of Duncan Hines cake mixes where I live, one I found that came closest to the one in your recipe (I think) was Betty Crocker's Angel Food White Cake Mix, which is 16 ounces. Would this work too? And if so, do you know what the measurements should be in this case?
    Sadly I also wasn't able to find any coconut extract… So bummed about that! Would vanilla be an okay substitute?

  38. How much coconut extract do you use in the frosting and how much do you use in the cupcake batter? Also, when/how do you add the shredded coconut into the cupcake batter? SO looking forward to these for my Easter dessert! I'm also making your skinny chocolate chip cookies subbing the chocolate chips for Easter colored M&Ms. I cannot wait to try both! Thanks!!!

  39. Fun tip – M&M's make mini coconut chocolate egg!!! I found it in my grocery store's easter section today and was just thrilled! Can't wait to top my coconut with those little eggs 🙂 I think they are bigger than the mini Cadbury's, so I will probably only add 1 egg to each, but they are fabulous!

  40. ughhhh… I just went to 3 different stores and they do not sell coconut extract here in Dubai… I have the sadz 🙁

    I have to wait until my sister sends a package to me from the US and have her send some. I wanted to make these for tomorrow but I will just have to tuck this recipe away for the future…

  41. This sounds a little strange but could I sub vanilla for the coconut extract and use vanilla almond milk instead of the coconut milk? I love coconut but my husband does not so I can get my fill with just the coconut flakes on top…what do you think?

  42. Avatar photo

    Coconut is always been cute to used in decorating cupcakes. This are great idea to make Easter cupcake.

  43. I made these and they were awesome. I added just a sprinkle of vanilla bean seeds to the frosting and it was delicious. Everyone at work loved them! Thank you so much!

  44. Where do you buy the coconut extract? I have been searching everywhere but have only found the artificial extract.

  45. these cupcakes are delicious! easy to make and eat. on the first try the cupcakes were easy to replicate as shown in the photos. they baked quickly, not using the full time indicated. and I mean if you like coconut, these little cakes are really delicious.

  46. I am going to make these for our Easter dessert!In my family, we all enjoy eating healthy, but we DO love dessert! Thank you, Gina, for giving us all something wonderful that we can feel great about eating! (Not just this recipe, but ALL the recipes I have tried from your website so far have been DELICIOUS!!!!!!!)

  47. Excellent cupcakes! Moist and yummy. I accidentally made 12 rather than 24 and they are HUGE! (and higher point value, obviously) The smaller version looks cuter so next time I will follow the directions (blush) Used pink foil cupcake papers and the Cadbury eggs are adorable on top. Will be repeating them for our Easter gathering

  48. Made these tonight for a luncheon tomorrow!!! My husband and I taste tested them and they are DELICIOUS and SUPER cute!!! Thank you for making Weight Watchers bearable and so yummy!

  49. I made these this afternoon. They are fabulous!!! I used to make a full fat coconut cupcake. Yours is just as good and I feel better eating these.So moist and you can taste the coconut flavor very well! Thank you for all your lowfat baking recipes!

  50. These were super easy and really good. They also looked just as cute as yours, which for me is at least half the success of any recipe!

  51. If making these for Easter, and if you're not afraid of a little dye… mixing some food coloring in with the cake and/or the coconut topping would be festive! Little green nests for the eggs? Adorable!

  52. So Cute!!! And really not all that bad for you with the adjustments!! =) RE: Paula s. I'm sure you could!! =)

  53. Mine are baking in the oven as I type. These aren't for Easter, so I'm going to put three fresh raspberries on top of each cupcake, but I do love the little chocolate egg idea. Very cute, thanks for the recipe.

  54. Avatar photo

    I have mini cupcake maker these would be darling in mini size (and easier on my love handles). Lol.

    Gina, what about using powdered Splenda for the frosting (you can make it from granulated)….. That would cut the sugar way down. What do you think?

  55. Avatar photo
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking

    What a fabulous, skinny take on an Easter favorite! These cupcakes look so delicious and relatively guilt-free. Great job, Gina!

  56. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    I used Thai Kitchen light coconut milk (from a can)

    If you can't find sweetened coconut flakes you could use unsweetened and just add a little more sugar to your frosting.

    I used unsweetened applesauce (I will correct that above)

    These are regular sized cupcakes.

    Hope you all enjoy!

  57. These look fabulous…and I love how the coconut mimicks a "nest" idea…and the Cadbury eggs are the perfect size/hue for this lovely Easter creation…Problem…I cannot find sweetened coconut easily here in France (there is an American Expat Market that sells it..but the price is truly outrageous!)..could I possibly use the unsweetened variety?..or should I use something else for a "nest-y" effect?…Thank you for your healthier, lower calorie offerings…they save one from the "panick" mode one can veer into planning for holiday meals/celebration dinners such as at Easter time…You eliminate such stress for us, every day, in this way..just thanks for all you do Gina…It is very much appreciated. Happy Spring!

    1. If I remember right, from when I used to date a guy who was part Thai and cooked with it, it comes in a can 🙂

    2. I guess I'll see what happens… that I am looking at it again, the can I bought is NOT light! I hope they will be ok….I have been looking forward to these for a while now! Happy Easter! 🙂

  58. Do you think this would work with Angel Food Cake cupcakes? Always enjoy your recipes Gina, thank you!

  59. Gina, these look so lovely. I'm not in the US though, and so I don't know what you mean by a 'white box cake mix'?

    1. Avatar photo
      Gina @ Skinnytaste

      Yes, I used Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker's mix is smaller now so I don't use it, the measurements would change.

      No box cake mix out of the states? Who knew!! I'll play around with a recipe from scratch.

    2. I bought Duncan Hines for this recipe and it's actually only 16.5. Betty Crocker is 18.25. Does the ounces matter much?!

    3. Avatar photo
      Cathriona Mernagh

      Box cake mix is pretty rare in Ireland also. So far I have only found Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake and Milk Chocolate Layer Cake Mix. Recipes that are pointed to use these would be amazing!
      We also don't have cool whip and low fat soured cream is as scare as hen's teeth!
      Baking WW friendly treats is such a challenge. I am delighted that I can make your Macaroon recipe and have an Easter treat that is low in points.
      Got to goal last week and wouldn't have done it without your recipes. Thanks!!

    4. Now wonder so many other people are healthier than us Americans;) They make more scratch food lol. Less preservatives and fats more real food ingredients.

  60. Why is it best to wait to frost them? I'd really like to make them for an Easter bake sale because I think they'd be a big hit!

    1. They are delicious even without the frosting. My 18 month old could not eat one of these fast enough. Going to make another batch for the kids at daycare for Easter.