My friends recently had a baby, and I wanted to bring them something in addition to the present I had already bought.  Not having kids myself, I would imagine that the first few weeks with your first baby are pretty hectic - getting used to a totally unfamiliar routine - and the last thing on your mind is making food.  So, I thought it would be nice to bring them something that they can snack on.  Of course, I am not a great chef, but I can certainly bake; therefore, I set out to find a simple and delicious recipe that also was gluten free so that the new mom could enjoy a sweet treat as well.  The fact that the recipe I found was a modification of gluten free boxed cake mix just made my day all the merrier!

Gluten Free Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes


For the cupcakes
  • 1 box of yellow or white gluten free cake mix (try Whole Foods if it's not in your regular supermarket)
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk, full fat/regular (again, Whole Foods definitely has this)
  • 1/2 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening (I used regular because it was in my pantry and I'm lazy)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. In a stand mixer, put the box cake mix, coconut milk, vegetable shortening, eggs, and coconut extract in the bowl and mix on alternating low and medium speeds
  3. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full
  4. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean
For the buttercream
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 Tablespoons 2% milk

  1. While the oven is still on, toast the coconut flakes that will later be used for garnish
  2. In the stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy (2-3 minutes, medium to high speed)
  3. Add the sugar and extracts, and 3-4 Tablespoons of the milk - beating on a low to medium speed until the sugar is mixed in.  Once combined, beat on high until creamy.
  4. Add more milk until you reach your desired consistency
  5. Pipe on the cupcakes with a large tip of your preference
  6. Sprinkle toasted coconut in the center