Hot on the heels of the Homemade Passionfruit Curd recipes comes these gorgeous Passionfruit Coconut Cupcakes. These are like a little passionfruit pavlova and coconut cupcake combined.

Cupcakes on a wire rack, drizzled with passionfruit.

I just love these tropical flavours. All bright and summery, they have me dreaming up tropical holidays and cocktails by the pool.

The passionfruit curd used in these cupcakes is the same one I used for my Passionfruit Tart and it’s extremely easy to make. I haven’t included the recipe below, so just refer to the Passionfruit Curd recipe or you can use store bought if available.

Passionfruit Coconut Cupcakes topped with yellow and white meringue.

Lets start with the coconut cupcake recipe

I adore this coconut cupcake recipe. There is just enough coconut flavour without it being overpowering but the reason I love it most is these cupcakes turn out perfectly light, fluffy and moist – what every good cupcake should be.

In fact, I made these cupcakes for a new years celebration and one of the comments I got was from someone who doesn’t normally eat cupcakes because they are so dry but he loved these. Another comment was something along the lines of “foodgasm”. Pretty sure that’s a good thing.

Collage of 3 photos: dividing cupcake batter in red muffin tins, cutting out holes from baked cupcakes, filling cupcakes with passionfruit curd.

The recipe is as easy as beating together the butter and sugar, adding eggs, dry ingredients then some liquids. The coconut flavour comes from both shredded coconut and coconut milk but make sure to use the full fat version.

Once the cupcakes are baked, a little of that lovely curd goes into a hole cut in the top of each cupcake. I use a special tool called a cupcake corer for this but you can certainly just use a sharp knife or even the end of a metal piping tip.

How to make meringues

Meringues are one of my favourite things to make. They’re simple and believe it or not very quick to put together.

Collage of 2 photos showing how to make meringue.

You start by beating egg whites to soft peaks. Now sprinkle over a little cream of tartar and beat that in. Next, start adding the sugar, just one spoonful at a time and beat for 20 seconds between each. This gives the sugar a chance to dissolve before adding the next spoonful. If you add too much at once the egg whites may deflate. Once it’s glossy and holding stiff peaks, you’re ready to pipe out cute little meringue kisses.

Collage of 2 photos showing how to get yellow stripes on meringue kisses.

The colouring is totally optional but if you want to do it, just use a small paintbrush to brush a little yellow colouring in lines from the tip of the bag to midway. Then add the meringue mixture to the bag and pipe out perfectly little meringues.

How to make the coconut buttercream

Ok, so this is my absolute favourite buttercream in the world. It’s technical name is Ermine Frosting. It takes just a little (and I mean a little) more effort than a regular buttercream but the payoff is

  • A silky smooth and cream like texture – no graininess like the regular kind
  • A buttercream that is NOT super sweet like the icing / powdered sugar version
  • A more stable buttercream
  • You can just use regular granulated sugar which most everyone has on hand

Collage of 2 photos showing how to make coconut buttercream.

It may sound strange, but this buttercream starts by cooking some milk and flour together. Yes, flour. We’ll also add some of the sugar to the pan. The purpose for all of this is to create a thick paste. You won’t taste any flour in the buttercream at the end – pinky promise – but it helps to keep the buttercream stable and adds to that silky-smooth texture. Because the flour is adding stability and volume, there is no need to add quite so much sugar – around half the amount of sugar than a regular frosting.

This recipe also uses only half the amount of frosting I would normally use as there are meringues to add to the top as well. If you want to skip the meringues, double the frosting recipe to get a nice high frosted top.

Collage of 2 photos: coconut buttercream in a mixing bowl, cupcakes topped with buttercream on a wire rack.

Once you have a paste and the flour smell has cooked out, this paste goes in the fridge to cool. Once cool, beat together the remaining butter and sugar, then add the paste and beat it really well for a good 5 minutes. If it looks like it’s starting to split at any stage, just keep going and it comes together into the most gorgeous smooth, creamy buttercream.

If you’re one of those people that doesn’t like super sweet buttercream, this one was made for you. It’s obviously still sweet but it’s not sickeningly so, like most powdered sugar based buttercreams.

DIFFICULTY – Easy. Whilst all parts are easy to make, there are 4 components so just bare this in mind when planning.

MAKE AHEAD – Yes. The passionfruit curd can be made a couple of weeks in advance and stored in the fridge or a couple of months and store in the freezer. Both the cupcakes and the meringues can also be made ahead and frozen until you are ready to put them together. The buttercream is best made when you are ready to frost the cupcakes.

STORAGE – store in an airtight container in the fridge. Take out of the fridge ½ an hour before serving time.

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A Passionfruit Coconut Cupcake cut open to show the filling inside.

The finished Passionfruit Coconut Cupcakes are all kinds of Summer and fun and bright flavours. Tangy, creamy, soft and airy and just the perfect treat.

More tropical recipes

These Passionfruit Coconut Cupcakes start with an easy coconut cupcake recipe, thats filled with passionfruit curd and topped with coconut buttercream. Total tropical vibes.

Passionfruit Coconut Cupcakes

5 from 4 votes
These Passionfruit Coconut Cupcakes start with an easy coconut cupcake recipe, thats filled with passionfruit curd and topped with coconut buttercream. Total tropical vibes.

Ingredients

FOR THE MERINGUES

FOR THE COCONUT CUPCAKES

  • 1/2 cup 115g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups 195g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup 125ml coconut milk
  • ½ cup 125ml milk (or you can use all coconut milk

FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM

  • 1/2 cup (100g / 3.5oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plain (all purp) flour (notes)
  • 115 g (1/2 cup / 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons passionfruit curd (store-bought or homemade) (notes)

Instructions
 

FOR THE MERINGUES

  • Preheat oven to 120C / 250F  / 100C fan forced. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper.
  • In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld beater), beat the egg whites to soft peak stage. About 5 minutes.
  • Sift over the cream of tartar and beat through. Now add the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the egg whites are thick and glossy and at stiff peak stage. Once all the sugar is incorporated, test the mixture by rubbing a little between your finger and thumb. It should be smooth. If it is still grainy, keep beating until it is smooth when you test it.
  • Use a small paintbrush to paint thin stripes of food colouring on the inside of the bag then fill it with the meringue. Pipe small domes onto the prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues there for half an hour then remove from oven, gently peel away from the baking paper and let them cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.

FOR THE COCONUT CUPCAKES

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Line 12-count muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
  • Using a handheld beater or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. About 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times as you go.
  • Add eggs 1 at a time until fully incorporated and then the vanilla. Make sure to keep scraping the sides of the bowl as required.
  • In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, salt and coconut. Add a third of the flour mix to the wet mix and gently mix together until just mixed through, add half of the milk/s. Continue until all flour and milk/s are mixed through. Be careful not to overmix at this stage as that will make your cupcakes dense.
  • Spoon batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes. Check at 18 minutes, then again at 20. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out with just a couple of crumbs clinging to it. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack, then cool completely before filling & frosting.
  • Once cooled, use a knife or cupcake corer to cut roughly a 1 inch hole in the top centre of the cupcake. Fill the hole with the passionfruit curd. Plugging it with an off-cut of the cake will mean less chance of getting messy when you frost the cupcakes but is not necessary.

FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM

  • In a small saucepan whisk together the milk, flour and half the sugar until smooth. Heat over low heat for 5-6 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens to a very thick paste. It's thick enough when you can see the lines of the whisk in the paste and the smell of uncooked flour has disappeared.
  • Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap making sure the plastic wrap is touching the paste (this will stop the top from forming a skin), then place in the fridge to cool completely.
  • Once the milk paste is completely cool, beat together the butter and remaining sugar until really creamy (about 5 minutes). Make sure to regularly scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add the milk / flour paste and salt and beat on medium high for 5-7 minutes. If it looks like it separates at the start, don't worry, keep on beating and it will beat up into an almost whipped cream consistency.

Notes

  1. This is my Passionfruit Curd recipe
  2. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
  3. For best results you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales like these are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  4. I use corn starch a lot in my baking. Cake flour is a combination of all purpose and corn starch but in Australia is not so readily available. I use this combo in my recipes a lot instead of using cake flour.
  5. If you want to skip the meringues, double the frosting recipe to get a nice high frosted top.

TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE 

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A Passionfruit Coconut Cupcake topped with a yellow and white meringue kiss.