These coconut chocolate Easter cupcakes feature the most moist and deeply chocolate cupcake ever, and a smooth tangy coconut cream cheese frosting. And like the fun of an Easter egg, you’ll find a surprise inside: a rich ganache filling that tastes like a chocolate truffle! Finish with a sprinkling of sweet coconut and candy-coated chocolate eggs.
I’m going to say it: this is probably the best cupcake I’ve ever tasted.
A lot of us love a good coconut cake, but sometimes we also just. need. chocolate. Chocolate and coconut is such an underrated flavor combo, isn’t it? Coconut + pineapple, coconut + lemon, coconut + lime… all good! But whenever I pair coconut + chocolate, I always think, why don’t I do this more often?
If you love chocolate and coconut together (I see you, Almond Joy/Bounty/Mounds bars lovers!), these festive Easter cupcakes are for you.
Why You’ll Love These Easter Cupcakes
- Delicious coconut & chocolate flavor combo like these coconut macaroons
- Extra soft & moist cupcakes, not dense or dry at all
- Smooth, rich chocolate ganache hiding in the center tastes like the inside of a truffle
- Tangy coconut cream cheese frosting is extra soft and creamy, and covered in shredded coconut
- A texture lover’s dream cupcake!
- Finish with candy-coated chocolate eggs for an adorable springtime/Easter dessert
How to Make the Best Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
It’s basically the handheld version of the most popular chocolate cake recipe on my website. And it’s hands-down the best chocolate cupcake I’ve ever tasted. Yes, even better than my super moist chocolate cupcakes recipe.
This is one deeply moist chocolate cupcake. For the BEST texture and flavor, you need these key ingredients:
- Natural Cocoa Powder: Use unsweetened, natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process). You can read about the difference in this post: Dutch-process vs. natural cocoa powder.
- Oil: Cocoa powder is a very drying ingredient, so you’ll usually find it paired with oil in cake and cupcake recipes. Oil provides moisture and doesn’t weigh down a baked good. A neutral vegetable oil is ideal, but melted coconut oil or even light-flavored olive oil may be used instead.
- Buttermilk: My team and I tested these cupcakes with buttermilk and with sour cream. Made with buttermilk, they have the best flavor, but can be a little soft and sticky, so slightly more difficult to cut and fill. Made with sour cream, they have a sturdier crumb, but the chocolate flavor isn’t as strong. We liked the buttermilk cupcakes best, and a quick chill in the refrigerator helps make the filling/assembly process easier.
- Hot Coffee or Hot Water: Hot liquid enhances the cocoa powder’s flavor. It also encourages it to bloom and dissolve properly. I promise these cupcakes don’t taste like coffee at all! If you don’t drink coffee, you can use hot water. For deeper and richer flavor, though, use coffee. You can either brew it in a coffee maker or make instant coffee. Decaf coffee works!
You also need all-purpose flour (cake flour is too light when paired with cocoa powder), baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, egg, & vanilla extract.
Spoon/pour the thin batter into muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. You should have enough batter to make 15 cupcakes, so you will either need 2 muffin pans or you can divide and bake them in 2 batches. Fill the liners about 2/3 full. If you use the batter to make fewer than 15 cupcakes, you are overfilling the lined cups and your cupcakes will spill over the sides.
Optional (but recommended) step: When the cupcakes are completely—or nearly completely—cool, place them in the refrigerator for 20–30 minutes to make them a bit easier to carve into and fill.
Filling Your Easter Cupcakes With Ganache
While you could skip this step entirely and still end up with delicious coconut chocolate Easter cupcakes, I recommend taking things to the next level by hollowing out the cupcakes and filling them with chocolate ganache. A hidden surprise inside that’s just as fun to discover as an Easter egg!
You need just 2 ingredients to make chocolate ganache, and note that the ratios are different here so that the ganache is a bit thinner (and doesn’t harden too much inside the soft cupcake).
- Pure Chocolate: Make sure you use real, quality chocolate. I typically use the 4-ounce (113g) baking bars found in the grocery store baking aisle, by Ghirardelli or Baker’s. I use semi-sweet chocolate in these cupcakes, but you could also go darker with a bittersweet or dark chocolate with a higher cacao percentage. I don’t recommend milk chocolate here—when paired with frosting and sweetened coconut, it would taste much too sweet.
- Warm Heavy Cream: This may be called by another name where you are, like heavy whipping cream or double cream. Just make sure it has a minimum of 36% fat content, otherwise it won’t set up as well.
The ganache will be very thin at first, but since chocolate is solid at room temperature, it will thicken as it cools:
This chocolate ganache filling tastes just like the inside of a soft chocolate truffle. You know those Lindt Lindor truffle balls? A soft chocolate shell, filled with even softer, creamier chocolate filling? Yeah, it’s like that. 😉
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
When I set out to make a coconut frosting for these coconut chocolate Easter cupcakes, I first turned to this old recipe for piña colada cupcakes. (From 2014—practically vintage!) The coconut frosting on those cupcakes is basically my vanilla buttercream, with coconut extract added to it. Tasty, yes, but I worried it might be too sickeningly sweet when covered in sweetened shredded coconut.
But then it hit me. What frosting do I love on BOTH coconut and chocolate desserts, which isn’t overly sweet… why, tangy, velvety-smooth cream cheese frosting, of course! Replacing the vanilla extract with coconut extract was all it took to turn it into coconut cream cheese frosting. Easy breezy cream cheesy!
The extra soft and creamy texture of this frosting is a perfect contrast to the other textures you get from the shredded coconut above and the smooth chocolate truffle-like filling below.
Add Your Easter Cupcakes Decoration!
After you frost the cupcakes (I piped the frosting with a large round Wilton #12 tip, but you can also just spread it on), sprinkle some sweetened shredded/flaked coconut on top. I find it works best to put the coconut in a bowl or on a plate, and hold each cupcake over the dish as you gently press the coconut onto the frosting until it sticks.
Place a couple chocolate mini eggs in the center of each coconut “nest” for an easy and adorable finishing touch. (Similar to how we press jelly beans into these festive jelly bean sugar cookies!)
If you want to toast/brown some of the coconut for topping, like I do for this coconut Easter cake, just spread some out on a baking sheet and toast in a 300°F (150°C) oven for about 6–8 minutes. Make sure the toasted coconut is completely cooled before adding it to the frosted cupcakes.
More Easter Recipes
Top these moist chocolate cupcakes with a creamy, tangy coconut cream cheese frosting, a sprinkling of sweet coconut, and candy-coated chocolate Easter egg candies. A rich truffle-like chocolate filling hides inside—as fun to discover as an Easter egg!
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/2 cup (42g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) hot coffee or hot water
Chocolate Ganache Filling
- 4 ounces (113g) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup (160ml) heavy cream
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting & Garnish
- 8 ounces (226g) full-fat brick cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 and 3/4 cups (330g) confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
- salt, to taste
- 1 cup (100g) sweetened shredded/flaked coconut, for topping
- candy-coated chocolate eggs, for garnish
- Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. This recipe yields about 15 cupcakes, so line a second muffin pan with 3 cupcake liners, or bake in batches.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, and buttermilk together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot coffee/water, and whisk until the batter is completely combined. Batter is thin.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners, filling only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. You should have enough batter for 15 cupcakes.
- Bake for 20–22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- While the cupcakes are baking, make the chocolate ganache: Place finely chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil—that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate, then let it sit for 2–3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. With a metal spoon or small rubber spatula, very slowly stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Ganache is thin. The finer you chopped the chocolate, the quicker it will melt with the cream. If it’s not melting, do not microwave it. If needed, see Troubleshooting Chocolate Ganache. Once ganache is smooth, let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour to thicken before filling the cupcakes.
- Remove cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cupcakes must be completely cooled—and even chilled for 20–30 minutes in the refrigerator if they’re particularly sticky on top—before filling and topping.
- Fill the cupcakes: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the center of the cooled cupcakes to create a little pocket about 1 inch deep. The piece you removed will be sort of cone-shaped. Spoon some of the chocolate ganache inside each carved-out cupcake—use however much will fit. (I use either a teaspoon measuring spoon or Wilton piping tip #12 to fill cupcakes. Usually you can fit between 1–2 teaspoons of filling in each.) Slice/tear off the pointy end of the “cone” piece of cupcake you removed, and gently press the round piece back on top of the filling.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar, coconut extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Taste. Add another pinch of salt if it’s too sweet, or another 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar if you want it a little thicker.
- Frost cooled cupcakes. I used Wilton piping tip #12 to pipe it, but you can also just spread the frosting on with a knife or icing spatula. To finish, hold a frosted cupcake over a bowl or plate of the shredded coconut and sprinkle the coconut on top, gently pressing it so it sticks to the frosting. Top each cupcake with 2 or 3 candy-coated chocolate eggs.
- Serve immediately or store covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before serving. Cover and store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I recommend a cupcake carrier for storing and transporting decorated cupcakes.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Bake the cupcakes 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and fill/frost the day of serving. Frosting and chocolate ganache can be prepared the day before too. Cover each and refrigerate overnight. The ganache will be thick. If needed, to thin out, spoon ganache into heatproof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Stir constantly until thinned out. Unfrosted, unfilled cupcakes can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before assembling and serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): USA Pan Cupcake Pan or Wilton Cupcake Pan | Cupcake Liners | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand Mixer) | Small Icing Spatula | Reusable Piping Bag or Disposable Piping Bags | Wilton #12 Tip | Cupcake Carrier
- Cupcakes Sinking: The cupcakes may look like they’re sinking in the center while they’re baking, but they should pop back up by the time baking is finished. It doesn’t matter all that much if they sink a bit in the center, though, because you’re cutting out the middles and filling them.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cupcakes won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
- Hot Coffee or Hot Water: Hot liquid enhances the cocoa powder’s flavor. It also encourages it to bloom and dissolve appropriately. I promise these cupcakes don’t taste like coffee at all! If you don’t drink coffee, you can use hot water. For deeper and richer flavor, though, use coffee (regular or decaf, but make sure it’s black with no sugar or cream). You can either brew it in a coffee maker or make instant coffee.
- Chocolate for Ganache: Real, quality chocolate is ideal for ganache to set properly. I use a 4-ounce baking bar found in the grocery store baking aisle, such as Ghirardelli or Baker’s brands.
- Coconut Extract: A necessary ingredient in this frosting. Without it, you will lose all of the coconut flavor. It’s typically found with the other extracts in the baking aisle. Coconut milk and coconut cream will not add enough flavor, and you don’t want to add more liquid to the frosting. If you’d prefer a plain cream cheese frosting, you can replace the coconut extract with vanilla extract.
- Sweetened Shredded/Flaked Coconut: If you prefer the shreds to be a little smaller, you can pulse them a few times in a food processor. If desired, you can toast some or all of the coconut. Spread it on a baking sheet and bake at 300°F (150°C) for 6–8 minutes, until browned to your liking. Allow to cool completely before using.
- Can I Make This Into a Cake? Absolutely. Use my chocolate cake recipe for 2 cake layers, and 1.5x this recipe for coconut cream cheese frosting. Spread about a cup of coconut cream cheese frosting on one cooled cake layer, top with 2nd cake layer, spread on remaining frosting, and top cake with chocolate ganache and/or sweetened shredded coconut.
- More Success Tips: Be sure to check out my How to Use Piping Tips post for instructions on how to fill a piping bag, and my How to Make Chocolate Ganache post for any ganache questions. And you can also read my 10 Tips for Baking the BEST Cupcakes.
Keywords: Easter cupcakes, coconut chocolate cupcakes