Coconut Lime Cupcakes

I don’t bake cupcakes very often, not because I don’t like them, but to be honest, I sort of forget about them. I am always dreaming up new cookie recipes and forget that there are other desserts out there. My heart belongs to cookies๐Ÿ™‚ The other day Josh and I were talking about how we met and how coconut cupcakes played a role in our meeting. Josh hinted that I should make the “famous” coconut cupcakes for him again. I was in a baking mood, so he got his wish:) This time I made Coconut Lime Cupcakes because Josh adores all things lime.

So you probably want to know how we met. Ok, here is the story. Note-Josh may have a slightly different version, but we all know I am always right:) It was a gorgeous spring day in Utah, so my roommate and I decided it would be fun to go on a little hike. We met up with a large group of people from our church and spent the evening hiking. We had a lot of fun and decided to invite a few people over for dessert after the hike. We just made some killer coconut cupcakes and knew they would be a hit:)

I didn’t really talk to Josh on the hike, but he ended up coming over with his roommate for dessert. We had a good time visiting and eating cupcakes. There were no sparks, no love at first sight, at least not on my end:) We did become really good friends and started hanging out almost every day. A few months later, we were watching a basketball game and Josh blurted out…so when are we going to start dating? I started cracking up. I didn’t think he was serious-he really was my best friend and I didn’t think he was interested in dating me. I’ve always had a lot of guy friends and didn’t think anything of it.

Well, he was serious and told me he was interested in dating me ever since he came over for dessert. To make a long story short, he ended up asking me on an “official” date. He showed up at my door step with a rose and we went out for sushi. That first official date led to many more dates and we were married about a year later.

Now, we joke that the coconut cupcakes were the reason Josh fell head over heels in love with me:) How could he resist me after taking a bite of such a decadent cupcake? ๐Ÿ™‚ The coconut cupcake recipe is adapted from Ina Garten. I made a few changes this time around to make them Coconut Lime Cupcakes. I added lime zest and juice to the cupcake batter. I also made a coconut lime buttercream frosting and sprinkled coconut on top. The cupcakes are dense, with a refreshing kick of lime. Josh loved the lime twist on his favorite coconut cupcake.

These Coconut Lime Cupcakes will always be a favorite in our house! They are perfect for Spring and would be a great dessert to serve on Easter Sunday. And if you trying to win someone’s heart, make them these cupcakes. They worked on Josh:)

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Rich and refreshing coconut lime cupcakes with a creamy coconut lime buttercream frosting. Our favorite cupcake recipe ever!
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For the Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 large lime
  • 3/4 pound 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut

For the Coconut Lime Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup coconut for sprinkling on top of cupcakes


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine sugar and lime zest. Rub together with your fingers, until fragrant. In the bowl of an stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar mixture together on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla, coconut extract, lime juice, and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Stir in coconut.
  • Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  • While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, vanilla, and coconut extract until creamy. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with lime juice, beating until combined.
  • Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with coconut.

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. I love that Ina coconut cupcake recipe and I bet the changes you made with the lime are incredible!

  2. What a cute story, Maria. He knew he had a keeper after that first cupcake. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I think that is just so sweet that you guys were friends for so long before dating…what a patient man!!

    Why have I never thought of these cupcakes before? The flavor combo sounds like perfection!!

  4. I’m exactly the same, I would always take a cookie over a cupcake. But these look delicious and can imagine my heart could pretty happily be taken for a cupcake too ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I love coconut and lime together and the hubby LOVE it, so these will be popping up in my kitchen soon! What a cute story, too. The cupcakes that launched a marriage, so to speak!

  6. Your cupcakes look amazing! I am on such a cococnut kick right now and coconut and lime wonderful combination!! I’m bookmarking this recipe!

  7. What a sweet story! (no pun intended) Pete, too, would love these cupcakes. Lime and coconut are two of his favorite flavors in desserts! He just needs to stay home long enough for me to make them for him ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Cute story! I’m big on marrying someone you are friends with first. The cupcakes look extremely “friendly” too! My husband loves coconut too. I’ll have to make these, next time I need him to fall in love with me all over again!

  9. These look stunning, I can see why your husband fell in love with you hahaha my friends say the same thing about me and my boyfriend!!

  10. What a cute story! I first met my husband on a group trip with friends too. We were good friends for a while before a mutual friend let it slip one day that he had a crush on me. I had no idea! Needless to say it all worked out in the end, just like you and Josh ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love the idea of coconut and lime together – so spring-y and light sounding!

  11. Very cute story. And you and I are exact opposites. I love cupcakes and cheat on them with cookies. Hee. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. I love your “How We Met” story; so adorable. It really is true that food is always the way to a man’s heart. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Ooooo…I love a good lime cupcake, can’t wait to try your version. Especially if it’s so good as to make a marriage out of!! Fun to hear your story, Maria. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Aww, what a sweet story! This is such a beautiful, delicate batch of cupcakes! I can see how they could make any man fall head over heels! ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. How sweet! I also have quite a few good guy friends and could be totally oblivious to them wanting to be more than friends! Kudos to Josh for making it known. Your cupcakes look divine!

  16. Maria, that is one sweet story ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so cute to remember these things and to have a recipe to share it with and pass on to your children and future grandchildren. The cupcakes look delicious and I am sure with that lime and coconut combination it’s to fall head over heels in love. Have a fantastic week.

  17. Great looking cupcakes. I made bars or cookies way more than I make cupcakes, too.

    And I loved hearing the How We Met story!

  18. Cute story…it’s always fun to hear how people meet! I’ve been wanting to try Ina’s coconut cupcakes for a long time…guess I will have to now. Yours look so good.

  19. Awe, what a cute love story Maria!
    and I love the idea of lime in the coconut – I’m planning something with coconut cake, I may have to give this a try!

  20. I love reading stories about how couples met… now all I need is one of those cupcakes to nibble on!!!

  21. These sound wonderful! I made your apple crumb cake with brown sugar glaze yesterday… if I weren’t already married, my hubby would have proposed. So good!

  22. Awwwww I love ‘how we met’ stories! This one is so cute!

    Our story is kinda similar. We met at work, and even though I thought he was very smart and handsome, I resisted even thinking about him because I didn’t want a relationship. Then, I found out we went to the same church, and I let down my guard instantly. I decided it was a sign from God! One year later, engaged ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. These look so pretty and sound wonderful! Love the lime and coconut together!

  24. I love how certain foods remind people of special memories. Thanks for sharing this with us. I love the combo of coconut and lime. I cannot wait to try!

  25. awww i love stories of how people met ๐Ÿ™‚ very sweet story. and very delish cupcakes!

  26. What a sweet story! I always love hearing how food plays into people’s love stories. ๐Ÿ™‚ And these cupcakes look wonderful, even for a coconut non-lover such as myself. These might just be the ones to make me like coconut!

  27. My heart belongs to cake over your cookie obsession so these are right up my alley! And I’m due for a coconut delight soon- these look great!

  28. I, on the other hand, am not a huge cupcake person, which is why I’m not one to make them very often. Oh, that’s not true. I do love a good cupcake. I just SUCK at putting the icing on and I get frustrated. So, I have an idea… why don’t YOU just make them for me? Ok? I like that plan ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. Okay, so that is just about the cutest story EVER. You guys are so adorable. And give me so much hope.

    I love your coconut lime cookies to no end…so these MUST be made!

  30. This is such a sweet story! Love that he remembers these cupcakes. I have to agree with him. They look great!

  31. I love hearing stories like this!! And I’ve always believed that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I’ve actually made this coconut cupcake recipe before – I need to try this lime version!!

  32. Well it’s no surprise that a delicious sweet was the spark that brought you two together!

  33. I loved reading the story of how you two met. So, did you have a coconut cake for your wedding in honor of those cupcakes? These look wonderful, by the way.

  34. what an absolutely sweet story. like ina says, the way to a man’s heart is through food. i love the sound of these cupcakes, never tried coconut lime, this will be on my baking todo list. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. I’m a Miami-ian living in Boston and these make me want summer! Or some sort of key lime pie or cocktail. Yum! Can’t wait to try them!

  36. I thought this looked familiar to the Barefoot Contessa’s! Cute story and I love the cupcakes. So cute!

  37. Made these today and they are excellent! Very rich. It made 2 dozen and an 8×8 pan which I used to make cake push pops. Yum!

  38. These were a hit as Easter dinner dessert. I used key limes instead of regular limes. The frosting coconut was tinted green and a couple jelly beans were added. Cupcakes were delicious. Totally different texture than a box mix. Thanks!

  39. What do you think about using coconut milk instead of buttermilk? I want a strong coconut taste. Will that substitution work well?

  40. HI! These cupcakes are so cute!
    I am featuring them in a cupcake roundup on my blog tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

  41. I can’t imagine I’ll get a response in time, but I’m thinking of making these for my husband (lime is his favorite desser flavor and he loves coconut too!) But I was wondering if they’re super sweet. He doesn’t like really that sweet (crazy pants!) so I’m thinking of reducing the sugar if they’re super sweet. Anyway, they look amazing!

  42. I’ve just discovered your gorgeous recipe. Coconut & lime together, just sublime.yum. ย I’m thinking of making a white rosette butter cake (coconut & lime) for my nieces birthday & was wondering if your coconut & lime buttercream recipe will be stable enough to make rosettes. I find standard buttercream frosting too rich & love the thought of the lighter & fresher flavours. Thank you