coconut cupcakes with key lime icing

Coconut Cupcakes with Key Lime Icing

Thanks everyone for your cupcake suggestions.  The idea for these gluten free Coconut Key Lime Cupcakes came from comments left by sas and laura in my Jelly Donut Cupcake post –the post that launched my own personal month of cupcakes.

These gluten free cupcakes were a real winner with my children.  Whenever I get out the icing bag, they go bonkers and yesterday was no different.  I had to hold them back when they arrived home from school, so that I could get a couple of these cupcakes frosted the way I wanted for a quick photo shoot.  Once I put down the icing bag, my younger son set to work on icing the rest of the batch.  He did a great job and had a good time while my older son ate them.  Cupcake fun was had by all.

Print Recipe
Coconut Cupcakes with Key Lime Icing
Serves:about 10 cupcakes
  1. In a small bowl blend eggs, coconut oil and agave nectar with a hand blender
  2. Pulse in coconut flour, salt, baking soda and shredded coconut
  3. Allow batter to sit and thicken just a bit
  4. Line a cupcake tin with paper lined
  5. Spoon ¼ cup cupcake batter into each cupcake liner
  6. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
  7. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes
  8. Frost with Key Lime Icing and serve

The winner of last weeks Friday Freebie is @HealthyDelish! She won a copy of Food Not Lawns by Heather Coburn Flores.

These cupcakes are the perfect Mother’s Day dessert.  For more Mother’s Day recipes, see my post from last year which includes a full gluten free brunch menu.  You can also check out my video below for how to make mini-blueberry muffins, which we’ll be making for Mother’s Day this year.  You can also find some yummy gluten free brunch recipes in my book, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook –we’ll be making either the Salmon Leek Tart or the Savory Vegetable Quiche from there.

Lastly, to celebrate Mothers Day Honeyville is giving 10% off your entire order through Tuesday, May 11 until 7:00pm (MST). Enter the coupon code “MOTHER” during checkout to apply the discount.


  1. Tessa says

    I’m really hoping you would like to try creating a lower carb version of the Aussie Bites. I got addicted to these from Costco but I’ve not been eating them lately as I’m trying to lower my carbs. There are multiple recipes for them online and I did find one where they lessened the oat flour a bit by adding coconut flour – but I’d like one with even less. You were my first thought as to who would be up to the challenge. I’m sure you could figure one out with almond and/or coconut flour as the mainstays. Thanks for all your great recipes.

  2. Em says

    Wow! These were incredibly good! I subbed butter for coconut oil and honey for agave and they still turned out perfectly. Followed the suggestion of rolling the batter into a ball and the tops came out smoothly
    Thank you soo much!

  3. says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your STUFF! I freeze your cupcakes and pull them out as needed. We dont even thaw them. We sometimes slice them frozen with sharp knife and make 3 cookie coins instantly! top with coconut whipped cream or cow cream, smash a banana slice, etc, and
    its just great. Nobody asks if these are almond or not. Just eating and moaning. Good enuf for me!!!!

  4. Stacey says

    Made these tonight for dessert. I mostly followed the recipe, cut down on the agave, substituted sesame oil for coconut oil since I didn’t have any, tossed whatever shredded coconut I had left which was less than a 1/2 cup. I made them in mini muffin tins and got 16 little muffins which turned out perfectly. Instead of icing them I stuck a piece of fresh pineapple in each once before putting them into the over….Pina colada muffins! The pineapple added just the right amount of sweet.:)

  5. Abby says

    I tried these last night, twice, the first time I put all of the four in and the batter was not “spoonable” in the least. It absorbed ALL of the liquid and turned out dry and chunky. Just to see what would happen, I added more liquid, but that didn’t help. So, batch one was thrown out. Batch two, I added the flour bit by bit until it started to dry out/chunk up again (it looked like macaroons!) and ended up using about 1/4c flour instead of the full half cup. I baked them and they are oily and dark on the bottom half. What am I doing wrong? I’m really disappointed.

  6. Megan says

    I noticed that Elana’s cupcakes are smooth and round on top, just like a regular cupcake. Mine came out granular looking, somewhat like a drop cookie, but smoother. Anyone have a suggestion to smooth them out?

    • Megan says

      So, I made these again and found a way to smooth them out. Since the batter is pretty thick and chunky I was able to roll it into balls before placing them in the liners. Then I just pressed them down to reach the edges of the liner and baked. Voila! They looked very pretty and they taste good too. I also switched the nectar I used in my first batch and subbed all applesauce, worked like a charm!

  7. Laura says

    Last night, I tried baking the coconut cupcakes in Elana’s cupcake cookbook which are just a tad different than this recipe (4 eggs vs. 3 eggs, plus vanilla). They came out super moist and darker than I expected but I noticed when I bit into one that it seems all the fat/oil sunk to the bottom. The bottom half of the cupcakes are darker and much more moist. The bottom also has a more heavily concentrated agave taste to it. My only other experience baking with coconut flour as the only flour was a yellow cake I made from a recipe by Bruce Fife where the eggs shifted to the top and one side gave that section a quiche like flavor and consistancy Any suggestions on how to fix the problem of shifting ingredients? Has anyone else experienced these kinds of problems when baking with coconut flour?

  8. says

    This recipe has become a standby! I sub applesauce and liquid stevia for agave, and make my own sugar-free vegan frosting with coconut cream, arrowroot, and vegan butter. Candida friendly and delicious, thanks for the great recipe!

    • Megan says

      Applesauce and stevia! What a fantastic idea!!!! I purchased coconut nectar just for this recipe and decided it still wouldn’t be Candida Diet friendly. I tried it anyway, but I did use half applesauce. I will do the stevia next time.

  9. says

    I just made a slightly altered version of this recipe today. I haven’t cut into it yet as it’s for a gluten free individual at my work, but I tried a bit of the corner and it was delicious. I will be sure to post pictures of it on my blog in the next couple days. Thanks for the inspiration

  10. Tami says

    these sounded so yummy so i had to try them! The batter was very stiff though, i could roll it into balls like cookie mix. the cupcakes were quite nice but quite oily, is this normal? they didnt smooth out as they cooked they stayed bumpy in top but it gave them character :-)

  11. Tami says

    these sound yummy! I look forward to trying them!
    I would love to see a recipe for lemon coconut slice which is Gluten, egg, dairy and sugar free – I can’t seem to find one anywhere!

  12. Eliza says

    I made these cupcakes, and they were amazing! Great as a muffin or a cupcake. My picky 4 year old nephew ate these and was very happy (we used the chocolate frosting). Very easy, and I was confident that they were atlas somewhat healthy. Thanks Elana!

  13. says

    I just made these today along with the banana cupcakes and they were to die for delicious. I must admit this all began as an experiment, and turned out to be a new family favorite. Thank you so much for your fabulous recipes. I bought your book today.

  14. Anita Z says

    I was just wondering…I have had a really hard time with my coconut flour creations sticking to whatever pan I put them in. I have tried grapeseed oil and butter…but they still stick…any suggestions? Your recipes are amazing! My husband absolutely loved the lemonpoppy seed muffins…I made three batches yesterday and they are all gone today. Thanks, anita

  15. Jen says

    To anyone who wasn’t able to achieve good results with these cupcakes… I am eternally sorry. Elana, these are AMAZING. Seriously. All of my roommates (who are not gluten free and eat like crap) loved them. I believe their words were “did you put crack in these.” I made them with mint chocolate vegan icing (it was all I had) and maple syrup. Seriously, they were out of this world. Now I am dying to get your new cupcake book!!!

  16. camilla says

    Doesn’t anyone find coconut flour too granular with a weird aftertaste? maybe it’s just me.. or perhaps i don’t sift enough?

  17. Stacey says

    Elana, thank you for your website!! I’m constantly looking at your site for ideas and motivation. I love that the recipes are soo simple too!! I finally tried your zucchini chocolate muffin recipe as well as the coconut cupcake one above. Both treats were saturated even after baking them past the called for baking time. I followed the recipes exactly. The only thing I can think of that may have gone wrong is that the coconut oil I used was in liquid form, because it’s so hot here right now. Do you think that would have made a difference? Did anyone else have this issue?? Any suggestions would be much appreciated!! Thanks!

    • says

      Ok, this is a super silly question; did you use almond flour or coconut flour for this recipe and the other one? The state (liquid or solid) of the coconut oil would not make a difference (I’ve done it both ways), however the type of flour would make a huge difference. Let me know :-)

  18. Liesl says

    Hi, my coconut cupcakes turned out more like drop cookies in muffin cups. I followed the recipe exactly but the dough was cookie-like, not liquid at all. I have never used coconut oil before and was surprised at its consistency … it looked more like lard than like an “oil”. Was that the problem? I was so excited to make these and now am sorely disappointed … was there an ingredient missing?

  19. Moira says

    I made these and they are in the oven. The batter was so stiff I’m worried. It doesn’t seem to smoothing out as they bake either… They are all bumpy on top and looks like old fashioned drop biscuits. Wondering what went wrong? Was the coconut oil supposed to be melted? I melted mine… Maybe the recipe should only be for 1/4 c of coconut flour like the chocolate cupcakes? They just came out of the oven and they are just okay, not smooth on top and the agave or something seems to have settled to the bottom. What did I do wrong?

    • Hilary says

      I tried making these using applesauce as a substitute, as well as flax+water, and those attempts did NOT work. Flavor was fine, but it totally crumbled with the flax, while the applesauce made it gooey (which still fell apart).

  20. Mia says

    Happy Monday after Mother’s Day!

    I made these yesterday and they were pretty good. I do not have coconut oil and used light olive oil in place of that. The batter seemed very rigid but I spooned it in and the consistency reminded me of cornbread, a little dry. It must have been due to the shredded coconut in the recipe also?

    I appreciate all the recipes so keep them coming Elana :o)

    Have a great week everyone

  21. Victoria says

    They were way to salty. And I checked and rechecked the recipe with what I added. I couldn’t eat them, and ended up throwing the whole thing out. It was pretty gross. Is it really supposed to be 1/2 tsp?

    • jessica says

      i’ve made these twice so far and they were awesome! I’ve taken them to the office and shared with coworkers as well, thumbs up all around.

      not sure what you might be doing wrong…

      you are using coconut flour, right?

    • colormepink says

      The type of salt you use makes a difference. Regular table salt is saltier than sea salt. If you used table salt, you would want to cut the amount down or switch to sea salt. That’s going to run true for pretty much all of Elana’s recipes that call for sea salt. If you are using sea salt, then it sounds like your tastes are a little different than Elana’s for this recipe and should start with a lower amount of salt (maybe half or less). That’s what I do for the carrot cake.

    • says

      Mine came out unbearable salty too…I had to make a second batch (without the salt) and combine the two…plus add a little more sweetener to make them tolerable. I used Redmond’s RealSalt Ancient All Natural Sea Salt – which I have used before with Elana’s recipes with no problem. I’m hoping the saltiness mellows as they bake (they’re in the oven now).

    • Anne Wahl says

      Elana! I just viewed your clip on blueberry muffins. What a great idea to grease those tins! What a wake up call….why didn’t I think of that about 30 years ago?? Thanks for all your wonderful ideas! Anne

  22. Chelsea says

    I’m sure I’ll figure this out when I go to pour in the muffin tins, but what is the yield? Six muffins or a dozen? The recipe doesn’t say.

  23. Nicole says

    what an awesome idea for a cupcake! i feel like it’s summer and i’m on my way to the beach! yum!

  24. leih says

    The recipe looks great…tho I’d recommend ditching the agave for honey or another substitute. The agave is worse than HFCS (see for technical details about that).


  25. peggy says

    I have a recipe for a apple and cranberry tart using coconut flour – I don’t have any and wonder what I can sustitute as I cannot drive 150 kms to the health food shop which does have it. No local shops do.
    Looking forward to your reply

  26. Debbie Laner says

    Hi Elana!
    Okay, I am drooling already from reading the recipe and seeing the picture of the coconut/key lime cupcakes!! I am having a blast trying your recipes… Larry and I loved the CSA spinach dish; after getting past scarfing mode and really tasting the whole combination of spinach, pine nuts and currants… mmm mmm mmm …. I loved the lemon kale chips as well!!
    Thank you!

  27. Susie says

    Since coconut oil is “solid” is that what you measure for the 1/2 cup or do you use it in a liquid state like after it’s been melted? I want to make sure I get this right as they sound wonderful.

  28. says

    I love this! Coconut is one of my favorite flavors, and that frosting sounds amazing. So many sugar-filled frostings are too sweet – love a lightly sweetened fresh cream in its place!

  29. Jennifer says

    Definitely want to try making, although i see your ingredients calls for 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, but I don’t seem to be able to find that ingredient incorporated in the steps. I’ve read it over and over again and can’t seem to find it. Can anyone help?

    • Lisa says

      The shredded coconut instruction is in line 2.” Pulse in coconut flour, salt, baking soda and shredded coconut”

  30. says

    Love the video extra. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing you on Food Network in the near future. I have been a fan of coconut flour in baking for years, and it’s great to see more uses, easier availability, and more sharing of recipes online! Love it!

  31. Tai says

    As a celiac and pre-diabetic I am so excited to find your website! I love almond flour and have your cookbook on my Amazon wish list :) I haven’t used coconut flour but am excited to try. Have you ever figured out the carb count or glycemic index on your baked goods? Also, I know there are a ton of mixed views on agave nectar but I am thinking a little isn’t bad (as all sweets should be used in moderation). I was wondering what brand you buy? Oh and coconut flour…any ideas where to get that?

    • Ali says

      Tai, she has a lot of the answers to your questions in the FAQ section of her blog, but I know the answer to the coconut flour off the top of my head–tropical traditions. It is a very thirsty flour, and I have found that you should really try to measure accurately with it because if you don’t have the liquid ration correct on the first try, adding more liquid to it doesn’t help. Hope this helps you. Also, it does not have a very strong flavor when properly moistened. If it is too dry, you will have an aftertaste.

  32. says

    Yum! Those look fantastic. The only cake I ever really liked when I WAS eating gluten was coconut cake. Might just have to try these out.

  33. RH says

    Just wondering what made your cupcakes so brown. Looks like you added cocoa powder or something.

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