Chocolate Cupcakes Desserts

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

April 11, 2011

I had a very special reason to bake these cupcakes. One of my new year’s resolutions was to volunteer at least once a month and I’m happy to report that I haven’t broken it yet! It had been a few years since I visited Hope Lodge. It’s part of the American Cancer Society and exists to offer a solution to cancer patients getting treatment far from home. Housing is free and several times a month volunteers cook dinner for the patients and their families. I had to pull out all the stops on this one and went to one of my favorite blogs for sweet treats. Jessica of The Novice Chef did not disappoint with her Samoas Cupcakes, which I decided to rename Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream to highlight the insanely delicious buttercream.

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

So, how’s it taste?

Meet my #1 favorite cupcake ever. These cupcakes held the top spot for a long time, but oh my my they have been replaced. I seriously don’t know where to begin. I wish the interwebs had a button you could press on blogs to deliver a taste of what you’re reading. The cupcake is the perfect texture, not too light, not too dense and uber chocolatey. You can really taste the coconut with the flakes and extract and I like that it doesn’t get lost in all the chocolate goodness. The buttercream is out of this world. The salt is very subtle, almost like an aftertaste to the caramel. I loved, loved, loved it. I can’t wait to make it again. The combo of chocolate, coconut, and salted caramel is to die for. As if that wasn’t enough, top it with more coconut, more caramel, and homemade chocolate syrup. Way, way better than anything store-bought. It should absolutely be illegal that this cupcake exists.

The folks at Hope Lodge loved them. One girl remarked they looked so good they should be in a magazine. Ah, someday. 😉

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

recipes adapted & cupcake created by The Novice Chef
cupcakes by Hershey's
buttercream by My Baking Addiction
chocolate syrup by 52 Kitchen Adventures
makes about 30 cupcakes


Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup boiling water

Salted Caramel Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup caramel topping, plus more for drizzling
1 tsp. salt

Chocolate Syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water
a pinch of salt
a splash of vanilla extract


1. For the cupcakes, heat oven to 350°F.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and coconut extract; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Gently fold in shredded coconut.

3. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Fill cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes.

4. For the buttercream, cream the butter in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and caramel syrup and combine well.

5. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, give it a taste and decide if you want to add in more caramel syrup. For thicker frosting you can gradually add in a little more sugar.

6. For the chocolate syrup, in a small saucepan, whisk together sugar and cocoa powder until most of the lumps are gone. Add water and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, until thickened, continuing to stir frequently. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then add vanilla extract. Store in air tight container in the fridge.

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  • danielle April 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

    These look and sound amazing!

  • Lauren April 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Could I use this recipe to make a cake?

    • Leah April 17, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      Hi Lauren! I’m sure it would work well as a cake. You might have to make more buttercream depending on what type you’re making (sheet, layer, etc). Let me know how it works out.

  • Memoria April 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I love the Hershey recipe for chocolate cake. I use coffee and buttermilk in place of the boiling water and milk respectively. The flavor is much more intense and moist. YUM! I must try the butter cream and chocolate syrup.

  • Jun April 12, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Yes, I think this should be in a magazine!

  • Jessica April 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    So glad you liked them! They are one of my absolute favorites! 🙂

    • Leah April 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      Loved it! Your desserts never disappoint! 😉

  • Jenn@eatcakefordinner April 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    If all I had to do was push a button and taste what is on everyone’s blog, I would seriously weigh at least 500 pounds, but I would definitely do that with your cupcakes!! These must really be incredible to be your #1 cupcake. I guess I will have to try them. Did you use store-bought caramel topping?

    • Leah April 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have taste technology yet, lol! I did use store-bought caramel topping. My favorite brand is Smuckers, but Hershey’s brand is good, too.

  • Ashley September 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I’m going to follow this recipe for the buttercream next time. I just used a different one and it was runny and horrible! This looks delicious and the right consistency to pipe it on like I wanted too.

  • Kristy November 19, 2011 at 8:51 am

    These look delicious, I might try them for a Thanksgiving treat. Only problem is that i don’t like coconut. Do you have any other suggestions of something I could use in place of it?

    • Leah November 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

      Hi Kristy! I’d just leave the coconut out. This chocolate cupcake base is amazing on its own. Leave out the shredded coconut and take out the 1 tsp. of coconut extract, then up your vanilla extract to 2 tsp. It’ll be just as good!

  • Annie July 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Delicious! I left out the coconut and doubled the vanilla as you said, and it was great. I also used salted caramel hot cocoa mix since it was all I had, and that variation was really good!! Thanks!

  • Vera Zecevic - Cupcakes Garden September 30, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Looks adorable! It is so pity you didn;t publish mor images!

  • Paige August 30, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    So pretty and yummy looking! How long did you wait before serving to drizzle on the caramel and chocolate syrups?