Coconut Flour Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


Two cupcake recipes in a row, this is odd! I know that there is quite a trend out there for making fancy cupcakes and that there are whole blogs and cookbooks dedicated to subject. As a matter of fact, there is a whole chain of stores in one of my favourite cities in the world, Vancouver, that sells nothing but cupcakes (and is aptly named “Cupcakes”!). So you might think that I am just jumping on the already crowded bandwagon. Truth of the matter is that, although I like cupcakes, they are hardly my favourite dessert. Give me a dense, chewy brownie, cookie or dessert bar over a cupcake any day.

What makes cupcakes enticing to me is the fun that comes in baking and decorating them. With a decorating set, a few fancy tips, some food colouring and coloured sugars, you can while away quite a few pleasant hours. For my son’s fifth birthday last year, the request was for “superhero colours”, so I settled on bright blue frosting with red sprinkles and a red number 5. They were hideous, but he loved them!

Obviously, traditional cupcakes made with sugar and flour are a big no-no for me to eat now. So I’ve had in my head for a while to make some with coconut flour. I’ve been experimenting with coconut flour with limited success, up to this point. I made some apricot streusel muffins that turned out way so moist that they were almost mushy. I tried chocolate chip cookies that were so dry, I needed to drink a full glass of water to get them down. My cinnamon rolls were tasty but didn’t rise as much as I had hoped. So I was determined to get these cupcakes right. And I didn’t want to hide the coconut flavour, I really wanted to TASTE the coconut in these. I took some of my cues from THIS recipe, but in the end, I played with the ingredients until the batter felt like it was the right consistency. Then I popped them in the oven and crossed my fingers.

I also wanted to make a low carb frosting that really resembled buttercream. I love the coconut/chocolate combination, so I wanted a rich chocolately buttercream to top my coconutty cupcakes. Again, I just played with the ingredients until I had something that felt (and tasted) right.


The Results: Finally, a coconut flour recipe that really worked! As always with coconut flour, the cupcakes are dense, but they are moist without being wet and they have a nice, strong coconut flavour. They aren’t overly sweet but nicely balanced by the chocolate buttercream on top. They’d be a good base from which to make various coconut muffins as well, so I think I have a recipe I can really play with.

As for the chocolate buttercream, it’s delicious and thick and chocolately. I sweetened it only with stevia but it doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste at all. I used both cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate to get a rich chocolate flavour. I could easily see doubling or tripling the recipe to use this on layer cakes as well.

Word to the wise: since coconut flour recipes always take a lot of eggs and oil, be sure to store these in the fridge after the first day so they don’t spoil. I like them straight out of the fridge but you can let them come to room temperature for half an hour if you prefer.

Coconut Flour Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
1/2 cup coconut milk, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
8-12 drops stevia extract
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Optional: 2tbsp erythritol for added sweetness

Chocolate Buttercream:
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6-10 drops stevia extract
OR liquid sucralose equal to 3 tbsp sugar
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

Shredded, unsweetened coconut for garnishing

For the cakes: Preheat oven to 350F and line 6 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs well. Stir in coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla and stevia. In a smaller bowl, sift together coconut flour, baking powder, salt and erythritol, if using.

Stir dry ingredients into wet and mix well. If batter seems too thick, add a bit more coconut milk until it resembles cake/pancake batter.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the tops of cupcakes spring back when touched lightly and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan.

For the buttercream:

Whip cream with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Beat in cocoa powder and stevia or other artificial sweetener. Carefully fold in whipped cream and stir until combined. It may look slightly lumpy at this point. Pour melted chocolate into bowl and mix with a rubber spatula until chocolate is combined and mixture is smooth.

Pipe or spread buttercream on cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with shredded coconut.

Serves 6. Each cupcake has 6.3 total carbs (not counting erythritol, if you use it), and 3.3g of fiber. Each serving of buttercream has 2.8g of carbs.

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  1. Theresa says

    That looks amazing! I LOVE cupcakes – so much that it's a standing joke to my family and friends. Oh well, I'm content dreaming about them whether they laugh or not!
    Love your blog!

  2. Chef Dennis says

    coconut flour….I didn't even know it existed! I might have to try that….and I keep looking at the Stevia, I think maybe its time to try it!
    thanks so much for the inspiration!
    Sorry that blogger is giving you trouble….

  3. Mary says

    These really do look wonderful. You are using several ingredients that I'll have to search for, but the end product makes me think the search is worth it. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  4. queenbeeeatsforaday says

    This looks wonderful – and gluten-free! My blogging partner's mom is celiac, so this will come in handy!

  5. Ryan says

    These look amazing, thanks so much for posting your recipe. I have recently discovered coconut flour (never knew it existed either), seems pretty versatile. Going to give your cupcakes a go this week!

  6. Anonymous says

    It's way overdue that I tell you that I have been using your cupcake recipe for over a year now… and I need to say THANK YOU! This is really the best base recipe I have found for anything cake-like using coconut flour. I have made the cupcakes (both vanilla and chocolate) many times for friends and family that cannot have flour and/or sugar. I have even added lemon extract and poppy seeds to the vanilla recipe to make muffins- yum! My most recent success using your recipe was a three layer chocolate cake with a wipping cream/cream cheese frosting (sweetened with NuNaturals vanilla Stevia) for my diabetic father-in-law. It turned out so good that even the rest of the family that enjoys "regular desserts" was scarfing it down. He was so pleased that he could indulge in his favorite -chocolate cake- on his birthday. If I may, one thing I can recommend to others is to let the cupcakes sit in the fridge overnight. I find I like the texture better than fresh out of the oven. But, either way, they are delicious! I can't thank you enough for your awesome blog and recipes. Cheers!

  7. Linds says

    I made these cupcakes today for the first time.
    They are wonderful! Gave some to two friends who eat typical high-grain/carb/sugar desserts and they really, really liked these.
    I used powdered ZSweet [erythritol&stevia blend] instead of liquid stevia in the cupcakes and frosting- it worked perfectly.
    Also, I added about 1/3 cup more coconut milk to the batter to make it the right consistency.
    And then- because I know how dense coconut flour makes things- I portioned 9 cupcakes instead of 6 so that they'd be smaller.
    Thank you for all the work you do for this blog- it's helping me have fun and variety while still eating low carb/no grains/no sugar.

    • Charlotte says

      What was the conversion for the stevia. I have powder instead of drops but don’t know how much to use?? :)

      • Carolyn says

        I think the powder is stronger. If it’s Sweet Leaf or Nu Naturals, I think both those sites have conversion charts.

  8. 1stdayofwinter says

    I just tried making these but my batter was too runny almost watery? I followed recipe exactly as indicated but it was so runny. I added some coconut flour 1tsp at a time but then it became too thick almost mushy. And one last thing which I wish would have been mentioned, or warned. It is very important to make sure your liquids including eggs are at room temp maybe even temper warm. Why? Because if not, the liquid coconut oil will harden as mine did when I mixed in the eggs and coconut milk. The batter appeared curdled because of the hardened coconut pieces. I have them in the oven now hoping for the best after getting frustrated with my experience preparing the batter. I'm waiting to see if it's even worth it to make the frosting. But wanted to make sure that only 1/4 cup of flour is needed for this recipe. I'm trying to figure out why my batter ended up so runny? Any advice?

  9. Carolyn says

    You are right about things needing to be room temp. I don't know about the runniness, though. What kind of coconut flour were you using? Some absorb more liquid than others.

  10. 1stdayofwinter says

    Carolyn, I used raw organic by "coconut secret". Can this be the problem? The can says it's made from unheated coconut. Im wondering if this is the problem?By the way the cupcakes came out ok. they needed to be sweetened a bit more. However I did not like the frosting at all. I tossed it all out. The texture was like pudding and taste was just different, not like frosting. I prefer a white vanilla frosting or coconut frosting. I'm gonna try again with those alterations. Thank you for your reply.

  11. chris says

    My batter came out runny as well. When baked they acted like a souffle. They puffed way up, but feel within minutes of coming out of the oven. I will try adding more flour next time.

    I used about 10 drops of stevia and 8 packets of NuNaturals no carb sweetener, and for me the sweetness was just right. Out of the fridge they had a texture that was a cross between a custard and a cake.

    They had a bit of an eggie taste. Not bad, just not coconut cupcake?

    I am just starting to experiment with the no gluten idea. I am really in need of limiting carbs, but since that also usually includes flour, I am trying to work with this to see if I can’t get the whol family to cut down on sugar!

    Thanks for your blog and recipes.

    • Carolyn says

      I think this must have something to do with the brand of coconut flour…do you know what brand you used?

  12. gamrgrl72 says

    I made these per your instructions, except, I replaced the stevia with 3 packets of Ideal and 1 tsp of sugar free vanilla flavored coffee syrup. I replaced the stevia in the icing with Ideal/vanilla syrup as well. I also just left everything vanilla to test it out.
    It was really great. I hate fake sweetener and stevia, I can taste the after taste, it’s been such a hard thing to deal with. If you’re ok with splenda, this is a recipe that even people that don’t like fake sweetener/stevia would be cool with.

  13. Jennie Keller says

    I’m wondering if you’ve tried this recipe without egg (using flaxseed or another alternative). I have a egg-sensitive boyfriend and would really rather use coconut flour than all-purpose GF or almond but cannot find any cupcake recipes with exact directions for an egg substitute!

    • Carolyn says

      I haven’t, sorry to say. I think it would work but I would add some extra leavening agent and maybe some protein powder. Flax eggs are useful for binding but they don’t help the cause making things rise.

  14. Mindy says

    Carolyn, As I read all the these comments I’m coming to the conclusion “coconut secret” flour is NOT good for baking. I don’t know if you recall I had a problem with the cheese biscuits, came out runny just like the above comments and they were using the same brand as myself. I’m switching to your suggestion, Bob’s! This stuff is going in the trash!

  15. Laura says

    Are there stevia substitutes I can use? Honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, turbinado sugar, etc.? The recipe looks very good – we just don’t do stevia. Thank you! :)

  16. Haseena says

    Hi, this looks really great. I would love to try it, but since I can’t find stevia drops at any of the stores here, how much xylitol or honey or maple syrup could I use in place of the stevia, if it can be substituted?

  17. Juanita says

    These cupcakes are WONDERFUL! I didn’t have the stevia drops and I substituted homemade Truvia and a tablespoon of cream in the batter. Loved licking the spoon-I told my husband if the cupcakes are 1/2 as good as the batter I would be pleased. You hit it out of the park on this one! Thank you

  18. carole says

    hi there! so glad i saw this on fb today! i have thm stevia- any reccs on how much of that to use in the batter and frosting?? thanks so much!

    • Carolyn says

      I haven’t used it so I really can’t say but I know it’s pretty strong. I think you may want only about 1/16th of a teaspoon in both.

  19. Tiffany says

    I made these lats night. THESE ARE AMAZING!!! I have been making low carb, gluten free things for years and these simply were the BEST ever. Sad to say that I nearly ended up eating the entire batch by myself. Shamefully, two for dessert after dinner last night, two cupcakes for breakfast, and one for late afternoon snack. I did share ONE with my hubby. =) He thought that they were pretty good too. I followed the directions exactly. I am off to try another batch…just to make sure the recipe works out again. LOL!! Thank you!

    • Carolyn says

      They can keep for a few days on the counter, a week in the fridge. If I froze them, I would try to do it unfrosted.

  20. Sara says

    I loved this recipe! Made it for my mom. I see the nutrition info re carbs, but about how many calories per serving (with icing) would u say there are?
    I have a friend who counts calories instead of carbs, and would probably love these if they fit her diet! Thanks:)

  21. Megan says

    Excellent recipe! Thank you. :)

    i have tried quite a few coconut flour bakes so far, and they are always lacklustre. This is the best coconut flour recipe I have ever made, and resembles ‘traditional’ cupcakes so well. Great job!!


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