It’s funny when I stop to think about it, but as much as I love coconut, I don’t make much with it or even order it while dining out very often. I tend to gravitate toward chocolate/coffee/caramel dessert options, and more typical fruit centric options would be my second choice. Coconut seems to fall in that gray area of yes, I do like it, but I’ll never choose it over those other options. The solution? It’s obvious. Dark chocolate? Coconut? Put your hands together.

These cupcakes are just dreamy. They have a perfect balance between the chocolate and coconut, they are eye catching, and they are fun to make. Dipping the tops to get that perfect smooth chocolate finish on top is just so satisfying! Whether you are a chocolate lover, a coconut lover, or both, these are sure to please.



For the cupcakes:

  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp. coconut extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup plus 3 tbsp. heavy cream, divided
  • 2¼ cups plus 2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 10 tbsp. (5 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 10 oz. cream cheese, cold
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 tsp. coconut extract
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla extract

To finish:

  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. (5 oz.) heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Splash of coconut rum (optional)
  • ¾ cup large coconut shavings, toasted


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth.  In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend.

  • 02

    Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla, coconut extract, and then the cocoa mixture until smooth.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.

  • 03

    Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 04

    To make the frosting, combine ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on low speed at first, increasing the speed to high as the mixture begins to thicken, until stiff peaks form. Keep a close eye to be sure you don’t overbeat and end up with butter. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and set aside.

  • 05

    In the now empty mixer bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat together on medium-high speed using the paddle attachment until smooth and light, about 2-3 minutes. Sift in the remaining 2¼ cups of confectioners’ sugar into the bowl and beat into the butter mixture until incorporated, about 1 minute. Blend in the remaining 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, salt, coconut and vanilla extracts. Once incorporated, beat the mixture on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Using a spatula, gently fold the reserved whipped cream in two additions into the coconut frosting mixture to lighten it, mixing each just until no streaks remain.

  • 06

    Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a wide plain round tip. Pipe a round dome of frosting onto each cupcake. (I leveled the cupcakes first. This isn’t required but makes shaping the frosting easier and makes a little extra room for the frosting.) Chill the cupcakes for at least 15 minutes to set the frosting while you prepare the ganache.

  • 07

    Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan (or in the microwave) until just simmering. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the bowl. Let stand 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter and the rum, if using. One at a time, dip the frosted portion of each cupcake in the ganache so that it is coated in a smooth even layer. Transfer to a wire rack and sprinkle with a few of the coconut shavings. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.

  • These look heavenly! I’m crazy about chocolate and stuff for dessert too, but I will definitely keep this in mind…

  • The added ganache on these totally takes this recipe over the top! These are super gorgeous!!

  • Ooh these look so yummy Annie! The glossy chocolate tops look so pretty with the coconut on

  • Angela

    That link made me laugh for an embarrassing amount of time. Excellent choice.

    These look incredible. These will be my birthday dessert this year. Coconut and dark chocolate are my second favorite marriage of flavor. (pb and chocolate are always number one for me.)

  • Unfortunately I’m the only one in my marriage and extended family who absolutely ADORES coconut…so I have to be pretty strategic about what/when I make something with it otherwise I will be eating it all myself…not that that’s such a bad thing. :P These look fabulous!

  • Karen

    Yum. Is it sad that I pictured that Friends scene before I clicked the link?

  • Annie

    On the contrary, it means you are awesome!

  • Marissa

    These look great, I can’t wait to get baking! Do you have a favorite coconut extract?

  • Annie

    You know, I probably should, but I just don’t use it often enough to have compared them. Might have to do that in the future!

  • savvy

    Can’t wait to make these for special occasion!!! Dark chocolate ganache was the key!!

  • Melinda

    These look BEAUTIFUL!! I’m excited to try them out! The ganache is just the perfect touch.

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    Gorgeous! I love chocolate and coconut. Yes chocolate more than coconut but I would be pretty giddy with one of these babies.

  • Laurel Nippert Miller

    Oh sweet mother of God. These look and sound amazing. I also adore the combination of chocolate and toasted coconut, but I rarely make desserts with it because my husband doesn’t like coconut (I don’t understand that); but perhaps I will make these for some friends. Thanks for the continual flow of delicious and gorgeous recipes. You are my favorite blogger.

  • Annie

    Laurel, thank you! Your sweet comment totally made my day :)

  • Erika Robinson

    I am obsessed with how pretty those dollops of coconut buttercream are. My dad asked for a coconut cake for his birthday today. I might have to call him and convince him that he needs a dark chocolate coconut cake instead.

  • mamy81

    I need a coconut filling for macarons. Would the coconut frosting here work in your opinion? Thanks!!!

  • Carly

    Annie never disappoints!! This is what I tell my friends, because your recipes have become a staple in my life!

  • Annie

    Bah! Sorry I never replied to this. I think this could be a great filling for macarons. The only thing I would consider changing is skipping out on the step for folding in whipped cream. The wetter the filling, the sooner the macs will get mushy, and in this case I used the whipped cream to lighten the frosting because I really hate a mouthful of super thick frosting. That element is less important as a mac filling so the basic underlying frosting should work just fine. Enjoy!

  • Amy Pullen

    These turned out really well! The coconut filling and ganache get soft quickly so leave them refrigerated as long as you can. And don’t worry if your chocolate ganache is on the bitter side when you taste test it; against the sweet coconut frosting it’s perfect.

    I used a different chocolate cake base that I’ve used before and really liked since the comments were a little polarized on this one, so I can’t comment on the one in this recipe.

    Thanks Annie! They were a hit.