Coconut and Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Cupcakes

It's my birthday and I can cupcake if I want to? Remember when you were younger and birthdays were pretty much the best thing ever? I used to count down the days till my birthday, while simultaneously counting the years. 13! 15! 18! 21! But now, hmm, I think I'd rather not count them anymore. Which isn't to say I dread adding another year to my total, but rather, it's just lost that luster. In fact, if I'm being honest, I've never really been a huge fan of my birthday. Sure, I'm grateful for all the well wishes and ok, ok, yes, I do get excited when a present or two come my way, but honestly, I don't love being the center of any day, let alone my birthday. I'm way more excited about other people's birthdays than my own. So today, let's celebrate us! All of us. And let's celebrate with two of my favorite flavors all rolled up into one delicious, compact cake!

Coconut and lilikoi (passion fruit) make my heart sing, and lately, I've been craving all things coconut. I blame it on the insanely dreamy coconut sorbet my mom and I shared at Mama's Fish House last week (while we celebrated her birthday). I think I actually forgot for a minute how truly wonderful that tropical aroma can be (I know, that's crazy talk). And when it's paired with the sweet-tart flavors of lilikoi? Dreams. Last year, I baked up a vanilla bean butter cake with strawberry and lilikoi, using my neighbor's lilikoi curd (it's amazing, btw) and this year, my dad sent me back to LA with another jar. It was kismet. These cupcakes pretty much had to happen. Feel free to substitute lemon curd or any other curd you prefer, but if you can get your hands on a jar of lilikoi curd, use it!! To fill these cupcakes, I turned to my girl Courtney for an awesome cupcake coring method. I dressed them up with a coconut buttercream, and called it a day. Happy day to us!! You guys rock. xo

Ps - If  you noticed that todays, photos look a little different, it's because Moses is pretty darn amazing and gave me the best early birthday present a girl could ever dream of: a new camera! So excited to get to know my new Nikon D750. (Thank you, thank you, babe.) Tips and tricks would be much appreciated from any of you Nikon users and lovers out there!

Coconut & Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Cupcakes

Adapted from Epicurious

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes



  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. virgin coconut oil (solid)
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste or 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. full-fat coconut milk


  • 2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt



  • Stand mixer
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Muffin tins lined with parchment liners
  • Wire cooling rack




  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and pre-line muffin tins with parchment liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream coconut oil on medium until smooth. Add sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until combined, scraping down sides between each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract if using) until combined.
  4. Add half of flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Add coconut milk and beat on low until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. 
  5. Spoon batter into 16  parchment lined muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes on in the pans, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. In the bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium until creamed. Add powdered sugar, coconut milk, vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract if using), and salt and beat on medium-low until combined. Scrape down sides then increase speed to medium-high and cream for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.


  1. Insert a large round frosting tip into the center of a cupcake, holding tip perpendicular to the cupcake, creating a cavity in the center. Jiggle gently to release the cupcake's core and pull tip out and core out of the center. Fill cavity by spooning lilikoi curd in. Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

  2. Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip and fill with buttercream. Pipe each cupcake in a circular motion.

  3. Serve and enjoy!