These healthy coconut cupcakes are paleo, gluten free, vegan, and dairy free, yet taste like a decadent coconut cake that’s the perfect springtime dessert! Easy and deliciously sweet!

You will not believe how easy and delicious these healthy coconut cupcakes are! Filled with fresh coconut and frosted with a delicious and light vegan buttercream frosting, these paleo vegan coconut cupcakes are a crowd stopper.

healthy coconut cupcake with bite taken out of it

You won’t be able to stop at one! So, are you ready to learn more? Let’s get started 🙂

healthy coconut cupcakes in muffin tin

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Inspiration behind these healthy coconut cupcakes:

So long story short, I used to work at Georgetown Cupcakes when I was in college! I absolutely loved that job. Every shift, I got to help decorate cupcakes, make cute little fondant pieces to place on top of frosting, and chat with lovely people and tourists from all over! I guess kind of like what I do right now, huh? 😉

I worked there for about 2 years, so every season, we had a new seasonal batch of cupcakes coming out. My favorite for the springtime was the coconut cupcake!

vegan coconut cupcakes on teal cake stand

It just took me back to childhood. Coconut was one of my favorite foods growing up (especially when combined with peanut butter- a total game changer!). Every Easter, I would always request a coconut cake because it was just so good!

So when thinking up a fun springtime dessert for you, I decided what better than easy and healthy coconut cupcakes?! I decided to make them paleo and vegan as well, just for the challenge, and oh my goodness- amazing.

scattered vegan coconut cupcakes

Easy Coconut Cupcake Ingredients:

Japanese sweet potato: the star of the cupcake! I just love using sweet potatoes in my recipes 🙂 now, the Japanese sweet potato is pretty specific, and I’m not sure it’s in most grocery stores. I purchase mine from Whole Foods, but if you can’t find them, you can always use a regular yam! The cupcakes will just look orange. If color isn’t an issue for you, then use what is easiest! I love the Japanese sweet potatoes also because they are just so so sweet- even sweeter than a regular yam!

Coconut flour: We’re using a lot of coconut in this recipe haha! Coconut flour is key here because this flour really absorbs a lot of moisture. Sweet potato, along with the liquid in these vegan coconut cupcakes, packs a lot of moisture in there so I highly recommend sticking with the coconut flour please!

vegan coconut cupcake on its side with a bite taken out of it

Coconut butter: so this isn’t actually butter! It’s like any nut butter, except that it’s coconut instead of say almond, and it’s completely nut free 🙂 I love coconut butter because it totally adds a sweetness to the paleo coconut cupcakes while not adding any sugar to it. Coconut is pretty fascinating to me in that sense! It also adds such a delicious and fresh flavor to the overall cake 🙂 Coconut butter is found at most grocery stores now, just check your healthy food aisle!

Coconut cream: we’re going to go with full fat or coconut cream here! I don’t recommend using the regular watered down version that you find in the refrigerated section. this is because you really want the coconut flavor, and you’re going to get that from the actual coconut fat! But don’t fear the fat 😉 The coconut cream makes these healthy coconut cupcakes just airy and delicious, and bursting with coconut flavor!

Desiccated and flaked coconut: I used two types of coconut for this recipe; desiccated for the actual coconut cupcake cake part and then I topped it with some toasted coconut flakes! Feel free to just use one or both! Whichever floats your boat 🙂

Flax seed: I used ground flax seed here as the binder for these healthy coconut cupcakes! Just mix a few tablespoons with some filtered water, let sit for a few minutes, and you have an amazing vegan binder 🙂

Maple Syrup: you just need a little maple syrup to go along way in these vegan paleo coconut cupcakes! That’s why I just love maple syrup. It’s an unrefined natural sugar, and you really don’t need all that much to mimic the sweetness of regular cane sugar! But don’t worry- these cupcakes won’t have a maple aftertaste!

Vanilla Extract: like I always say, vanilla is the backbone to all recipes!

Cashews: these cashews will come in handy for the vegan buttercream frosting we’ll make so that we can make our easy coconut cupcakes presentable! Let’s dive into that part next!

vegan coconut cupcakes on wooden board

How to make a vegan buttercream frosting:

There are many version of vegan buttercream around the web. Two of my go-to bakers, Bakerita and Choosing Chia, always have amazing recipes on their blogs.

In the past, I’ve created my own vegan cream cheese frosting. But this time around, I really wanted to go for a sweet buttercream! Sometimes coconut cupcakes use cream cheese frosting and other times, it’s buttercream (honestly my favorite!).

healthy coconut cupcake with bite taken out of it

So for this vegan buttercream, I soaked raw cashews overnight in the fridge and then blended them in my large food processor. Then I add in a few tablespoons of coconut cream- not coconut milk! You’ll need the high fat in here for stability 🙂

Add in a little maple syrup and vanilla extract, and process the mixture again. Voilà! You have a vegan vanilla buttercream frosting 🙂

Now let’s move onto the piping!

up close shot of paleo coconut cupcakes

How do I pipe the frosting onto the vegan coconut cupcakes?

Piping the frosting onto these healthy coconut cupcakes seems hard, but in actuality, it’s quite easy! I use this piping kit and simply spoon the frosting into one of the bags once I’ve chosen my piping cap.

Then you just carefully go around the top of the vegan coconut cupcakes until you create a little cap of frosting. Easy, right?

Sprinkle with a few toasted coconut flakes, and you have your finished healthy coconut cupcakes 🙂

vegan coconut cupcake with a fork taking a bite out of it on a grey plate

See? So easy! That’s why I love these easy coconut cupcakes: they seem like they’re super complicated but really they’re just so simple and perfect for any celebration 🙂

I hope you love these cupcakes as much as I do! Be sure to share how they went in the comments below! Happy Baking!

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

Pinterest Healthy Coconut Cupcake Image
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healthy coconut cupcake with bite taken out of it

Healthy Coconut Cupcakes {Paleo, Vegan, Grain Free}

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking


These healthy coconut cupcakes are paleo, gluten free, vegan, and dairy free, yet taste like a decadent coconut cake that’s the perfect springtime dessert! Easy and deliciously sweet!



Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup Japanese sweet potato, 1 large, baked and skin removed
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut butter 
  • 1 cup coconut milk, full fat
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed, mixed with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup desiccated coconut 
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder, or paleo baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda

Coconut Vegan Buttercream Frosting:

  • 16 oz raw cashews, soaked
  • 1/41/3 cup coconut milk, full fat
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a 12-pan cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large food processor, puree sweet potato.
  3. Add in remaining cupcake ingredients except for desiccated and blend until a thick batter.
  4. Fold in desiccated coconut.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners.
  6. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool before frosting.

Coconut Vegan Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Blend cashews in a large food processor until smooth.
  2. Add in coconut cream, vanilla, and maple syrup.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Spoon into large piping bag and frost each cupcake.
  5. Store remaining frosting in a large sealed container in the fridge.


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake with frosting
  • Calories: 343
  • Sugar: 16
  • Sodium: 404
  • Fat: 23
  • Saturated Fat: 14
  • Carbohydrates: 32
  • Fiber: 6
  • Protein: 6