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Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

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Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting

Wait, wait, don’t go!

I’ll admit, I’m guilty of it too: seeing the words VEGAN or DAIRY FREE or GLUTEN FREE and immediately skipping ahead to the next post.

Because, ew, that stuff is gross and dry and flavorless and gosh darn it I love my butter and my eggs and my glorious gluten.

But these cupcakes are different. While not gluten-free (I haven’t crossed that line yet), they are naturally dairy free and vegan. But if I didn’t tell you that you’d probably never know. (And in fact I was tempted to not call them vegan cupcakes so you wouldn’t pull a duck-and-run on me). Trust me on this one.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting

I honestly believe that vegan cupcakes are a wonder. That they could be so incredibly light and delicate and full of flavor without any of the structural proteins of egg is a miracle. In fact, the eggs probably get in the way more than anything. Why not at least give them a try?

Set your cupcakes free.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting

The whipped coconut frosting is like a sweet coconut cloud. It’s not the most practical frosting for a cupcake, as it’s fairly loose (so you can’t pile on nearly as much as you want to) but it was too good not to use. I also wouldn’t recommend it for cupcakes that need to travel or sit outside in the warm air; in those cases you’d be better off going with a coconut-flavored buttercream.

Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting

You could also call these triple coconut cupcakes, since they use three different kinds of coconut: milk, cream, and shredded (four if you swapped in coconut sugar which you could most certainly do).

For someone who doesn’t really like coconut, I’ve sure been using a lot of it lately.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting

These particular cupcakes are definitely best the day they are made, when they are light and delicate and freshly frosted. After a night in the fridge they do firm up to a denser, more muffin-like texture. But that sure didn’t stop Taylor from devouring the rest of them.

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes


For Cupcakes:

    • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil (softened)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For Frosting:

  • 12 ounces coconut cream, chilled overnight*
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, and coconut oil until incorporated. If necessary, microwave in short 10-15 second bursts to warm coconut oil enough to melt it so that no chunks remain. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in the coconut milk mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are just incorporated (do not overmix).
  4. Spoon into liners, filling each with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  5. For whipped coconut cream, spoon solid coconut out of can, discarding any remaining liquid in the bottom (or reserve for another use). Place in a chilled mixing bowl (keeping it cold is key here!) and beat on high speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth and holds soft peaks. It won’t firm up quite like whipped cream. Return to refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up slightly.
  6. Frost cupcakes with a thin layer of coconut cream. It’s pretty lose, so it won’t hold huge swirls like buttercream. Dollop a bit of frosting on top of the cupcake, then dip top in a bowl of shredded coconut. The coconut will help hold the frosting in place.
  7. Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days.

*You can also use full fat coconut milk but will need twice as much. Refrigerate at least 24 hours until thoroughly chilled. When you open the can, spoon off the solid layer of coconut at the top; this is what you will use to make the frosting. Any liquid at the bottom of the can can be discarded or reserved for another use. Note that if you use full-fat coconut milk instead of coconut cream, you may need 2 cans to get enough cream for the frosting.

All images and text © Lindsay Landis /

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32 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. These look delicious even though they are vegan! Love the combination of chocolate and coconut! Def trying these :)

  2. I used to hate coconut but over the years I’ve been warming up to it more and more to the point where i love it now. Strange how that happens. As for gf, vegan, etc, I don’t actively seek to bake such things either (unless I am cooking for my lactose-intolerant nephew or gluten-intolerant best friend), but I have found a few that works quite well. I gotta try these! I’ve only made vegan cupcakes once but was impressed by how well they came out despite my skepticism. 

  3. Recently I’m exploring vegan recipes so this cupcakes are a must for me to try. So delicious

  4. Must Try –  We’re trying to be a little more Gluten Free because it makes us feel better.  It’s hard to skimp on dessert though so these will be a perfect compromise. P.S LOVE your photo background, pretty and rustic. 

  5. Your egg free recipes drew me to your blog several years ago as my son has an egg allergy. 
    So I’m so happy to see a vegan recipe on your site! Thanks

  6. These look amazing! I too have yet to venture into ‘gluten free’ territory, but these seem really easy to make.

  7. I totally agree, I typically pass up baked goods recipes when I read ‘vegan’ but I’ve been having some vegan things lately and they have been great. 

    I really want to try these!

  8. I struggle with this all the time! I know people think vegan cupcakes are meh, but they can be so good! I need to try these and add to my regular rotation : )

  9. What gorgeous cupcakes, Lindsay! That frosting looks divine. <3

  10. Funny you said that about glossing over vegan, GF, etc. posts. I honestly had no idea people did that until I learned 5-6 years ago as a blogger who was strictly vegan at the time that oh yeah, people DO do that! I recently had to make vegan chocolate cupcakes for my daugther’s bday to bring into her school because of food allergies, dietary restrictions, etc. Love that you used coconut milk and coconut cream…so rich and awesome I bet!

  11. These cupcakes look so heavenly. Even  though it’s vegan, it still looks so delicious.  Incredible recipe! I will surely give this a try. 

  12. Gluten free, dairy free… whatever they are, they look delicious! And I can totally get down with a coconut cloud :)

  13. these look amazing!! yum!

  14. FYI – these are not actually gluten free, even though she mentions it in the post, they have all purpose flour in them! Do NOT make these for someone who is truly needs to eat gluten free!!

  15. The kids would love this recipe. Thanks a lot for posting.  :)

  16. Recently i’ve been eating coconut non-stop. Literally like an addict. But how come i never try a chocolate coconut cupcake before? What a terrible mistake. I’ll have it tomorrow. You have my words.

  17. It’s a good thing you shouted out at me to STOP—because I would have gone on.
    They look delicious and your recipes are normally delicious SO I am taking your word for it that these are delicious—–and also because I am a coconut lover. So I pinned it, I say with some hesitation—-also laughing.

  18. I love whipped Coconut Cream Frosting; I have made so many different flavours. It’s a great alternative to dairy for us lactose fearing folk. 
    I’ve been looking for a good vegan cupcake!!

  19. I like chocolate, my son will definitely enjoyed this dish. Thank for your repice!

  20. The cupcakes went out hard… I’m not sure why, but I did everything as the directions say?… Atleast I made it with the frosting which was like nothing else.?

  21. I love chocolate. Look delicious. I ‘ll add this dish on the menu in the party with my family on weekend. Thanks for repice!

  22. You know, Gluten free is not flavorless, I believe the term you are looking for is: Addicted to gluten. And, you shouldn’t pass up vegan or gluten-free recipes, you never know when you may have to bake for someone who has to avoid gluten or wheat. But, I can not make these, I’m avoiding gluten as a lifestyle. The French make chocolate cake without ever using flour, just using cocoa/cacao powder and fluffing the eggs, I find simple recipes that use coconut flour, or almond flour, and sometimes beans as the flour base and don’t go for the many ingredients such as fiber husks, Xanthan Gum, or any gums, I experiment with stuff and find out what will work without this or that, but I always eat it, even if it does taste terrible, the foods I avoid are ones that are giving me problems with my skin, as well as digestion.
    But, I just wanted to tell you: gluten-free is not flavorless. I’d go check out all those gluten-free bloggers who don’t use gluten-free all-purpose flour mixes, and read their comments, and then come back and tell me or write another posting as to gluten-free being flavorless. Yogurt is gluten-free, is it flavorless? Fruits and veggies are gluten-free, are they flavorless? – no, they yummy.

  23. Great. this is exactly what I need. Thanks!

  24. Hm, great products for vegan. Thank you for this recipe.

  25. I’m a vegan too. thanks for the recipe :)

  26. I’d like to make these for a baby shower! She wants coconut cupcakes but doesn’t like chocolate (crazy, I know).  Think I could just leave the cocoa powder out??

  27. I love chocolate. Look delicious. I ‘ll add this dish on the menu in the party with my family on weekend. Thanks for repice!

  28. I am so fan of chocolate. This is looking so delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

  29. These are amazing! One of the best vegan desserts I’ve ever made! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  30. So yes we mafe these so yummu almost like a brownie…what are the calorie please?

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