Southern Coconut Lemon Cupcakes {Beautiful Classic Dessert}

The cream cheese frosting is delicious and not too sweet, and the coconut topping adds extra sweetness and just looks beautiful. If you’re planning a baby shower, brunch, Easter dinner, or any other spring gathering, these light and delicious coconut lemon cupcakes will be a hit.

This dessert is so worth making from scratch! You’ll impress everyone, I promise!

cupcake cut in half to show lemon filling

From-Scratch Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

Moist and delicious scratch-made Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling are delicious; everyone will want seconds!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Serving Size 24 cupcakes



  • 1 cup softened butter 2 sticks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 pint lemon curd


  • 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups tweeted flaked or shredded coconut


  • Prep for baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in center.  Prepare 2 cupcake trays with paper liners.
  • Mix wet ingredients with sugar. Cream butter in an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and beat 3-4 minutes more, until fluffy and light in color. Add egg yolks, one at a time, blending well after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed.  Add the vanilla and mix.
  • Add dry ingredients. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate large mixing bowl.  Add to the butter/ sugar mixture a cup at a time, with the mixer on low, pouring in the milk slowly after each addition.
  • Beat and add egg white. Beat egg whites with a handheld electric mixer in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, mix into cake batter by hand with a rubber spatula until just blended.  Spoon cake batter into cupcake tin with a cookie scoop or spoon.
  • Bake. Bake for 18-22 minutes, switching the tins halfway, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack completely before filling and frosting.
  • Fill cupcakes. Pipe lemon curd into cupcakes or remove a small amount of cake and spoon the lemon curd.
  • Make the frosting. Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and mix.  Pour powdered sugar in slowly, beating on low. Frost.
  • Add coconut. Roll the cupcakes into a plate of coconut.    Serve immediately,  or refrigerate 1-2 days.


You can double the vanilla extract and leave out the coconut, they are still delicious.
Fold in the whipped egg whites. These cupcakes are light and airy, and that’s due in part to the whipped egg whites. If you overmix them when adding them to the batter, they’ll lose their volume, and your cupcakes won’t be quite so light.
This can also be made as a layer cake.  The recipe will fit 3 (9-inch) round cake pans.  Make sure they are greased and floured well.  Spoon the lemon curd in between the layers, frost the top and sides, and press the coconut on with your hands.
Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 40g | Vitamin A: 403IU | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg
cupcakes on white tile with coconut

How To Make Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling From Scratch

Don’t be intimidated by making these delicious scratch-made coconut cupcakes. They’re not hard to make, and they use common ingredients. And, making the curd ahead of time will give you plenty of time to work on the cupcakes.

What You’ll Need

  • Lemon curd. The cupcakes have a zesty twist from the star ingredient, lemon curd, which contrasts with the sweet coconut. (You can buy it or make your own!)
  • Coconut extract adds a rich, tropical flavor to the cupcakes and makes them taste better. If you don’t have any, just add extra vanilla!
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: The creamy topping goes well with the tangy lemon and coconut flavors, balancing the sweetness just right.
flour, butter, coconut extract, vanilla, eggs, and baking soda in bowls
  • A stiff piping bag. You can easily fill these up with lemon curd to fill the cupcakes. (If you don’t want to get one, you can remove a tiny cone from the center of each cupcake with a sharp knife and then spoon lemon curd inside.)
  • Electric Mixer: For creaming butter and sugar, and beating egg whites.
  • Cupcake Tins and Paper Liners: Essential for baking and easy removal of cupcakes.
  • Rubber Spatula: To fold in egg whites without deflating them.

Step By Step Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350. F and ensure the rack is in the center. Prepare 2 cupcake trays with paper liners.

Cream the butter and sugar. Use an electric hand mixer on medium or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat the softened butter until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugar and beat until it is all incorporated and light in color.

Add yolks. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Finally, add the vanilla extract and mix well.

metal mixing bowl with creamed butter and sugar, flour being added to bowl

Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and sal in a separate large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Slowly add this to the butter/sugar mixture, one cup at a time, alternating with some milk after each flour addition. Continue beating until well mixed.

Whip the egg whites. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Incorporate the whipped egg whites into the batter with a spatula until just blended. Don’t over mix, or you’ll lose the volume from the egg whites.

3 images of whipped egg white being folded into cupcake batter

Fill the cupcake liners. Spoon the cake batter into the cupcake tins, ensuring an even amount in each one.

one dozen cupcakes baked in tin

Bake. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, switching the tins halfway through the cooking time. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean (a crumb or two on the tester is fine.) Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack.

Make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well.

cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl

Add the powdered sugar. Also known as confectioners sugar, be sure to add it in slowly with the mixer on low speed, so it doesn’t pouf up all over your kitchen.

Fill the cooled cupcakes. When the cupcakes are cool, use a piping bag to pipe in the lemon curd. Alternatively, remove a bit of cake from the top of the cupcake and spoon in the filling.

piping bag filled with lemon curd for filling

Frost. Frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting, then roll them in a plate of coconut.

frosted cookies being dipped in shredded coconut

Tips for success

  • Make sure your butter is softened, not melted. Softened butter is room-temperature butter that easily indents if you press it with a finger, and there should be no oozing, melting, or pooling butter.
  • Blend the egg yolks one at a time to ensure that the fat from the egg yolks emulsifies properly.
  • Fold in the whipped egg whites. These cupcakes are light and airy, and that’s due in part to the whipped egg whites. If you overmix them when adding them to the batter, they’ll lose their volume, and your cupcakes won’t be quite so light.
  • Don’t overbake them! An inserted toothpick or skewer should come out reasonably clean, but a few clinging crumbs are fine.


No coconut extract? No problem! Double the vanilla extract instead.

Make a layer cake instead! This recipe will fit 3 (9-inch) round cake pans. Grease and flour them, and then divide the batter between them. Bake, cool, and spoon the curd in between the layers. Frost the top and sides and press the shredded coconut on with your hands.

Storing instructions:

  • Make-Ahead: You can prepare the cupcake batter a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing: Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap them individually and store in airtight containers.
  • Defrosting: Thaw at room temperature for a few hours before frosting and serving.
  • Refrigeration: Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Cover them to prevent drying out.

More springy, citrusy desserts you’ll love:

Southern Coconut Lemon Cupcakes {Beautiful Classic Dessert}

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