As I type this, my cousin Lacy is running her first marathon in San Diego! I am so proud of her – she is such an inspiration!

Our go-to cocktail in the summer is coconut rum and cranberry juice. It is so delicious, refreshing, and island-like that I could drink it for breakfast.

Don’t worry. I haven’t gone there.


But sometimes, Mr. How Sweet has me on the verge of going there.

He likes to mix coconut rum, cranberry, and orange juice, but I’ll stop there regarding his passion for fruity drinks. It is a delightful combo, too. He knows his girly beverages.

Malibu rum would be our favorite, but we don’t discriminate.

The same goes for these cupcakes. I used Malibu, but I think any brand would do.

I started with my basic vanilla cupcake recipe and added a slew of coconut flavors – milk, extract and rum.

This could also be made into a cake, and I think a layer of fruit (think strawberries, pineapple, and cherries) would be perfect.


So, grab a cupcake and pretend you’re laying in the sand.


Coconut Rum Cupcakes

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

contents of 1/2 vanilla bean

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup coconut rum (I used Malibu)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together until fluffy. Add vanilla and coconut extracts and mix until combined.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients. Add coconut rum and fold in shredded coconut.

Pour into cupcake tins and bake for 20-25 mins at 350. Let cool, then frost.

Malibu Frosting

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 – 2 lbs powdered sugar

1/4 cup coconut rum

1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream butter until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with rum and vanilla, until desired consistency is reached. Feel free to add more or less sugar or liquid based on how thick you want your frosting.



Mr. How Sweet’s love for coconut stops at rum.

I’ve said it before, but he despises coconut. It’s the texture, people.

If you know someone who likes the taste of coconut, just not the texture, simply leave the shredded coconut out.

I was not that nice.

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78 Responses to “Coconut Rum Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    Melissa — June 6, 2010 @ 7:48 am

    Oh. My. God. Amazing!

    I just found a new summer time drink when I get tired of white wine. AND I just found a new cupcake flavor to lust after.


  2. #
    homecookedem — June 6, 2010 @ 7:59 am

    Beautiful cupcakes!! These just scream summertime!! :)


  3. #
    Kendel — June 6, 2010 @ 8:23 am

    Wow! These look like the epitome of summer! I’ll be sure to find an excuse to make these very soon!


  4. #
    Gabriela — June 6, 2010 @ 8:31 am

    This looks so. freaking good. I love the idea of turning it into a cake with fruit on the inside! I wish my dad liked coconut so I could make it for his birthday…I feel like he should probably enjoy his birthday cake :) Thanks for sharing the recipe!!


  5. #
    Helen — June 6, 2010 @ 8:41 am

    I love Malibu so much. It brings back so many memories of teenage fun on hot summers days! It is perfect to incorporate it into a cupcake. I love coconut so these will definitely be added to me ‘to be baked’ list!


  6. #
    Nicci@NiftyEats — June 6, 2010 @ 8:45 am

    Oh, I’m craving a cupcake this AM along with that fruit cocktail you mentioned. I’ve learned to love coconut over the past year and it’s good in cakes.


  7. #
    Eunice — June 6, 2010 @ 9:01 am

    I’m one of those people that likes the taste of coconut but not the texture. Malibu rum? Yes, thank you! That last picture of the cupcake looks great. Love your photography!


  8. #
    Jessie (Bites and Pieces) — June 6, 2010 @ 9:07 am

    I love coconut rum so I can imagine these cupcakes are delicious. Especially the Malibu frosting part!


  9. #
    Lauren — June 6, 2010 @ 9:51 am

    I made your quadruple chocolate loaf cake last night…and my dad said “next we need to find something with rum in it”….funny how karma plays out!


  10. #
    Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg — June 6, 2010 @ 10:07 am

    You know, I actually HAVE had coconut rum for breakfast (freshman year of college, St. Patrick’s Day, Savannah GA. Also the trip during which I got my tattoo of the South Carolina state flag on my ass…there were a lot of great decisions going on that weekend). It’s not too bad. But these look like an infinitely better choice. Cupcakes can pass as muffins, right? :-)


  11. #
    Mary — June 6, 2010 @ 10:50 am

    I should be eating breakfast right now and all I want is that cupcake!

    Delightful Bitefuls


  12. #
    Kristina — June 6, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    …Jason is the same way with coconut… and many other things he blames on “texture” (tomatoes… really?) :)

    but these look amazing… I will say what I find myself saying here a lot, “I will be making these”…

    we have company in the house right now, they are here to help eat goodies, in my opinion!

    here we go, thanks for another fabulous goodie!


  13. #

    Perfect for a party. :)


  14. #
    Abby — June 6, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

    Yay for Lacy!!! Yay for cupcakes!! YAY FOR RUM!!


  15. #
    Erica — June 6, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

    Congrats to your cousin! Hope her race went well. The cupcakes are gorgeous. Josh loves coconut rum, Malibu or Parrot Bay! Maybe he’ll let me take some to make these ;) …maybe


  16. #
    Amanda — June 6, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

    Oh I can’t wait to make these! The only alcohol I do drink happens to be Malibu Rum. There is ALWAYS a bottle in the house! Yumm-o!


  17. #
    april — June 6, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

    Good luck to your cousin!! I could never run a marathon :)


  18. #
    Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) — June 6, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

    YUM! Those cupcakes look so pretty, but I bet they taste even better!! :)



  19. #
    Katrina — June 6, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

    I can hear my inner island princess screaming for these cupcakes. They sound fantastic!


  20. #
    Camille — June 6, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

    I ran the same marathon as your cousin!
    I hope she did well and had fun!


  21. #
    Angela @ A Healthy Fit — June 6, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

    The SD Rock n’ Roll was my first marathon. Such a great race!

    I wish I liked coconut, if I did, I would be all over these cupcakes. I love cupcakes and I love rum!


  22. #
    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — June 6, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

    you know ive made raw vegan rum cake spice balls, right? omg i freakin love rum cake. i told a funny story of scott and i getting loaded off rum cake in my post. we were in st. thomas and i hauled a rum cake back home, only to realize that the one we sampled in the store was spiked with rum, big time

    you and i need to go on vacay together to st thomas. we’ll leave the men at home. we can drink more rum ourselves that way.

    thank you for everything. omg. you are amazing. you need to switch jobs! for real!


  23. #
    Wei-Wei — June 6, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

    I don’t like the texture, either. I don’t mind the flavour, but the texture of shredded coconut annoys me. (It feels dry and sandy in my mouth!)

    But these look darn perfect to me. I’m not supposed to have rum if I’m underage… oh to hell with that, rum’s tasty! (Pretend I didn’t say that.)



  24. #
    Madeline - Greens and Jeans — June 6, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

    I’m pretty sure Malibu and pineapple juice was its own food group in college.


  25. #
    DessertForTwo — June 6, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

    I can’t wait to make these for my friend who LOVES coconut! She eats super healthy and declines dessert usually, but if coconut is involved, she dives right in! Thanks!


  26. #
    Christina — June 6, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

    Hey Jessica!!

    I made this cupcake recipe today, THANKS TO YOU!!! Oh my gosh was it delicious!! I posted about it on my new blog :) So, i’m brand spankin’ new to this thing and didn’t know how to make a hyperlink to your blog so I could give you credit. I did however, include your website. Thanks for the delicious recipe! Keep ’em coming.



  27. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — June 6, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    i’m making these asap…and by these i mean the malibu-cranberry juice mixture. and then i’ll make cupcakes ;)


  28. #
    Jolene ( — June 6, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

    Your icing job looks so pretty!!! Picture perfect :-)

    Congrats to your cousin!!


  29. #
    sophia — June 6, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

    Coconut and rum…mm….I would serve these with grilled pineapples! :D


  30. #
    One Healthy Apple — June 6, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

    Malibu reminds me of spring break when I was in college;) Let’s not go there. My husband is NOT into coconut at all. I made coconut brownies and he kinda picked at them. Oh- and I had to mention that my delightful husband has kindly grown a beard…reminded me of your mustache adventures.


  31. #
    Emma @CakeMistress — June 7, 2010 @ 3:50 am

    Heck yeah, these look like good eating. Thanks for the recipe!


  32. #
    Kacy — June 7, 2010 @ 5:44 am

    Those would be perfect for a Hawaiian Wedding. When I get married in Hawaii, I’ll be calling you.


  33. #
    Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibbl) — June 7, 2010 @ 6:01 am

    My fiance is the SAME way… is ok with the taste, hates the texture. I think I will be making these WITH the shredded coconut ;)



  34. #
    Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life — June 7, 2010 @ 6:30 am

    You have just reached the key to my heart…Malibu rum is my all time FAVORITE!!!!!
    I’m baking these ASAP! :-D


  35. #
    Alicia — June 7, 2010 @ 6:43 am

    Can I give you a virtual hug for this post? I’m a bit obsessed with coconut, especially in cake form :) My birthday is coming up and I think I will be sending this recipe to my mom for my “birthday cake” this year!!! Thanks!


  36. #
    Mackenzie @ The Caramel Cookie — June 7, 2010 @ 9:04 am

    I love Malibu rum too! The frosting on the cupcakes looks great!


  37. #
    Natalie (The Sweets Life) — June 7, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

    brilliant! my only problem is that putting coconut rum in cupcakes means I can’t drink it…hmm better buy some more! :)

    I’ve never tried coconut rum & cranberry juice…but I will be, soon!


  38. #
    Lauren @ Delicateflavors — June 8, 2010 @ 2:21 am

    What a simple and delicious recipe! It is 3:20 am and I want these cupcakes so bad. I’d have to make them as soon as the sun comes up. :)


  39. #
    CaSaundra — June 8, 2010 @ 6:06 am

    Wow, just the thought of these brings me to the beach!


  40. #
    Lace — June 8, 2010 @ 8:11 am

    Awww Jess, thanks for the shout out! You are an inspiration! I can’t wait to eat everything in the world at the beach next week and celebrate with Coconut Rum! Too bad we won’t have ML chocolate chips with the bread in the container! Guess we can just have some mud slingers in her honor!

    Love you!


  41. #
    Kelley — June 15, 2010 @ 8:10 am

    Mmmmmmm, these sounds so wonderful. I’ve got some pineapple rum in the fridge at home – pina colada cupcakes! I might try it :)


  42. #
    Kelley — June 21, 2010 @ 8:49 am

    I made this for Father’s Day and they were soooo good. The icing. OMG. To die for. I didn’t have plain Coconut rum, I had pineapple rum and I used that instead. It was great! Like a pina colada cupcake.


  43. #
    Kate @ahealthypassion — January 13, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

    i’m making these right now i am sooo excited :)


  44. #
    Chrissy — February 6, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

    I’m making cupcakes for a “honeymoon” themed bridal shower, and since they’re going to a tropical island, this recipe is PERFECT! I’m wondering how many cupcakes you typically get from this recipe….


    • Claudia — April 6th, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

      If you’re making regular sized cupcakes, it yields exactly 12. If you’re making minis you might get double, not sure. Hope this helps!


  45. #
    Brook — March 12, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    These sound great – my husband loves coconut cake and alcohol so these will be perfect for his 40th birthday party – quick question though. Could I make the cupcakes and freeze and then thaw and ice that day or would they be to yucky?


    • Jessica — March 12th, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

      I honestly have never done that, I think cupcakes are best fresh, but you can try! Maybe you can make them the night before, stick in the fridge and frost the day of?


  46. #
    Claudia — April 6, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

    The second I saw “coconut rum” I knew I HAD to try these. They’re the best cupcakes I have ever made!! They were perfectly moist, soft and not too sweet. I paired them with white chocolate frosting and sprinkled the tops with roasted coconut flakes and they were simply devine! I’m making them again very soon and in way larger quantities for my uncle’s birthday party :)


  47. #
    Sara — May 6, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

    I am making this in to a cake right now and it is taking forever to bake. But it smells so intoxicating.


  48. #
    Nadine — May 22, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    These look amazing… I am going to make them this week. What did you put on top of the frosting? Is it sugar?


  49. #
    Jingles — June 4, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

    Looks like i’ll make these for the wife. i’ll post how they turned out


  50. #
    Jingles — June 5, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

    Back with results… made these yesterday. the cupcakes turned out well – moist and delicate. i was, however, looking to get punched in the face with coconut flavor but the taste was more subtle. the icing was a different story. the sugar part has me guessing – pounds not cups? either way i started slow and added and tasted as i went. it just got worse. this may be my bad. a repost on explicit instructions on this would be appreciated by me, the rank amateur. good cakes, though!


    • Jessica — June 5th, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

      Hi Jingles – powdered sugar is sold in bags of 1 pound or 2 pounds, which is why I have it listed that way. 1 pound is about 3 1/2 to 4 cups which is common for a buttercream frosting. Buttercream can be a love/hate thing for some because it is what it is – butter and sugar creamed together. It is very sweet! If you’d like to try a less sweet frosting next time you could try whipping some heavy cream with some sugar and coconut extract – that is very light and delicious. :)


      • Jingles — June 6th, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

        Jessica, thanks for the tip. I do like the more creamy stuff with dairy. I’ll give it a shot. See ya,


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