Gluten-Dairy-Free Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Lime Buttercream

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Gluten-Dairy-Free Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Lime Buttercream

Here in the Northeast, September still feels a bit like summer. Better than summer, in some ways: the air is just a touch cooler, the sun not quite as hot, but the days are breezy and warm. And while September is time of returning, to school, to routine, it is also about adventure and excitement. Am I the only one who remembers how excited going back to school was? Seeing all those familiar faces again. Wondering what that year would be like. And hoping, with a beautiful hope, for the very best. So in the spirit of September, I present a summery dessert that is exciting and, even, hopeful. (Listen, I am a former English teacher and current poetry-lover – let me wax poetic, just for a moment!)

Can we just agree that coconut + lime is reminiscent of summer? And that we may, in the fall, still wish to hold onto that magic for just a little bit longer? Personally, no matter the season, I always have a craving for coconut, lime, or a combination of the two! I love it in everything, really – from desserts to drinks to body lotions. There’s just something about the two that will always go hand in hand. They were made for each other!

With the sweetness of the coconut, the tartness of the lime, and the creaminess of the buttercream, these cupcakes are such a delicious treat! And completely dairy and gluten free.

If you aren’t gluten or dairy free you can make these with regular flour and dairy products. They will turn out just as delicious. The one exception is that you would keep the coconut milk used to make the cupcakes. That’s what makes them coconut cupcakes, so you wouldn’t want to sub for regular milk there.

These coconut cupcakes are filled with a luscious coconut buttercream and topped with slices of limes and toasted coconut flakes. So delicious. But what I really love is that the friends I shared these with had zero idea they were gluten-dairy free!

Here’s to the month of September, and even more importantly, to coconut lime cupcakes. Enjoy!

Gluten / Dairy Free Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Lime Buttercream

Reminiscent of summer, these coconut cupcakes are filled with rich lime buttercream.
Servings 12 cupcakes



  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose gluten free flour I used Bob’s Red Mill
  • 2 tsp baking powder not all brands are gluten-free - check here to find which ones to use
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup canned full-fat coconut ilk
  • 1 ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut


  • 3 TBSP coconut cream or refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk 4 hours - overnight and skim the cream from the top
  • 2 ounces dairy-free cream cheese like Tofutti
  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted sifted
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut


  • ½ cup 1 stick vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP lime zest about 2 large limes
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut flakes toasted (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line your muffin tin with liners. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together sugar and butter, 2-3 minutes. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating between each addition until well blended. Add vanilla and beat to combine. Alternatively add the flour mixture and coconut milk in three additions, ending with the flour mixture. Beat just until well blended, scraping sides as necessary.
  2. Use a paper towel to wipe out the “flour mixture bowl” and use it to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Fold in egg whites in two additions, making sure not to over-mix (should see some egg whites visible when done). Fold in shredded coconut, gently. Fill lined muffin cups ¾ full and bake in oven for about 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Set aside to cool.


  1. Beat coconut cream, cream cheese and sugar medium speed, 1-2 minutes. Fold in shredded coconut. Set aside.


  1. Beat butter till fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly add ¾ of the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add lime zest, lime juice and remaining sugar. Beat an additional 1-2 minutes.


  1. Transfer the filling into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Insert the tip into the top of each cupcake and fill with some custard, just until the cupcake swells slightly. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Finish by sprinkling toasted coconut flakes and garnishing with lime slices, if desired.