Orange Coconut Cupcakes

Goodness me.  Coconut, coconut, coconut.  It’s all I ever hear these days from Mr. Bailor.  He will wax lyrical about the health benefits of coconut at any given opportunity; and ones he’s not given, too.  He’ll go into raptures about their short-chain (or is it medium-chain??) thingamajigs at the drop of a hat.  I confess I don’t even care to remember the glorious whys and wherefores of coconut.  I just know that Bailor says coconut is where it’s at, and that’s good enough for me.  But still, I figured it was about time I shut him up with some Orange Coconut Cupcakes.

Whenever I take him sane treats to munch on during our podcast recording sessions he grills me on the ingredients list and the proportions of each one to the others.  Then he’ll say, “Can you replace the almond flour with coconut flour?”  Every. Single. Time.  It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I explain to him that you can’t just randomly switch out regular flour for any other kind of flour, and that this is especially true of coconut flour – he doesn’t hear me and he just never gives up.  If converting baked goods recipes to sane ones were as easy as switching out regular flour for any other non-grain “flour”, life would be a breeze.  I certainly wouldn’t be spending 3 days a week making a mess in my kitchen, ending up with multiple batches of this-and-that in various stages of development, striving for perfection in baked good sanity.  Coconut flour is an especially tricky beast to bake with.  Yet I realized that if I was ever going to get any peace from The Bailornator, I’d have to get him something coconut, and soon.

I think my road trip must have blown away the cobwebs and caused a surge of creativity, because no sooner was I back…VOILA!

Carrie Brown | Orange Coconut Cupcakes

Here you go, Bailor – just for you I created Orange Coconut Cupcakes.  If anyone on earth deserves a treat for all that they do – it’s you.  You deserve a sane cupcake.  Making it with coconut flour was the very least I could do.

A big shout-out to Diane who gave me the idea of vitamixing the oranges to oblivion and using as the liquid.  Fantasticness, Diane, fantasticness!!  THANK YOU!

And then, because cupcakes always have frosting, and because I wanted to make this as coconutty as humanly possible for you, I added a little topping to your Orange Coconut Cupcakes.

Carrie Brown | Orange Coconut Cupcakes

Now, let’s talk about the topping for a moment, because this could get confusing, or frustrating, or just plain annoying for you.  I whipped coconut cream / milk.  I say cream / milk because our food manufacturers have a hard time getting a naming convention going when it comes to coconut products.  What I am talking about here is stuff that comes in a can and when you open it there is solid coconut and a watery liquid separated out.  I am not talking about thin, regular coconut milk that comes in a carton (or sometimes in a can).  Once you get what I am referring to, make sure you use a full fat version, since low-fat will not whip.  I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream, which, once I had drained the liquid off, whipped right up at room temperature.  However, I have read that many brands do better if they are put in the ‘fridge overnight to get really cold.  Given the variations in coconut cream / milk in your locale, you may have to experiment with the topping until you find a brand that works for you.  If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, I’d just go with that and call it good.

WARNING: These Orange Coconut Cupcakes are seriously filling.  You all know by now my near-legendary appetite, and one of these is enough for me.

Orange Coconut Cupcakes
Author: Carrie Brown |
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 15
  • Coconut oil spray
  • 3 oz / 85g sunflower seeds
  • 1 oz. / 28g chia seeds
  • 2 oz. / 55g coconut flour
  • 1 oz. 28g vanilla whey protein powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 oz. / 70g xylitol
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 oz. / 40g flaked or shredded coconut (depending on how lumpy you like it)
  • 2 oranges
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can / 13 1/2 fl oz. thick coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
  • Xylitol to taste
  1. Spray 15 silicone muffin cups with coconut oil spray and place in muffin pan.
  2. Grind the sunflower and chia seeds in a coffee grinder until very fine. (If you use a Vitamix be very careful you do not end up with sunflower butter!)
  3. Tip ground seeds into a mixing bowl and add the coconut flour, whey powder, baking powder, salt, xylitol, xanthan gum, and coconut.
  4. Zest the oranges, add zest to the dry ingredients and mix very thoroughly, making sure the zest is evenly distributed.
  5. Peel the oranges and put the orange flesh in a blender and blend on high until it is completely liquified.
  6. Whisk the liquified oranges and eggs in a bowl and add to the dry ingredients, mixing quickly until completely combined.
  7. Carefully spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups – they should be slightly under-filled.
  8. Place in center of oven at 300F for 35 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes until you can handle the silicone cups.
  10. Turn each cup top down in one hand, and using the other hand gently squeeze the sides of the cup all the way round until the sides release and the muffin pops out. Be gentle.
  11. Place each muffin on a cooling rack to cool.
  12. Tip the coconut cream into a sieve to remove the liquid portion.
  13. Put the solid portion of the coconut cream into a bowl.
  14. Add the orange extract, and sprinkle the guar gum evenly over the surface.
  15. Immediately whip the coconut cream on high with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) until it is thick and holds its shape.
  16. Sweeten to taste and whip to incorporate.
  17. Place a spoonful of cream on top of each cupcake.
  18. Sprinkle with toasted flaked coconut.
  19. Once frosted, store them in the ‘fridge. Or frost as you need them.

Carrie Brown | Orange Coconut Cupcakes







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  • Sonia Dutton - Hi Carrie I’m a fellow Brit but still living in the homeland! Can these cupcakes be frozen? I love coconut too so I’m very excited about trying this recipe.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Sonia! I have not tried freezing them (they never last that long!) but readers have successfully frozen my muffins, so I am going to say yes. Freeze them unfrosted though. Hope that helps! Let me know how much you love them!!!ReplyCancel

  • Corinne - Hi Carrie, when you mean coconut flour, do you mean chopped coconut as I’ve never seen coconut flour to buy? The same goes for almond flour is that just ground almonds? And is dessicated coconut sweetened?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Corinne – coconut flour is very different to chopped coconut. A web search should help you locate some. Almond flour is ground almonds. Always buy unsweetened dessicated coconut. This may help you: let me know if you need more help!!! THANKS for swinging by :-)ReplyCancel

  • Donna - Hi Carrie, This will be my first time baking with one of your recipes, and I can’t wait to taste these. Before I start I have a question about measurements, when you say 2 oz. is in weight or would 1/4 cup be the same?ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Donna – you cnanot successfully swap out weights for cups in my recipes, since 2 oz of one dry ingredient will have a different volume to another dry ingredient. I do baking recipes in weights because it means you will get a successful and consistent result – something you can never guarantee when using cups. Liquids you can also measure in cups. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Tom L - Hi Carrie: Bought all the ingredients except for xylitol and guar gum (wasn’t available at my local store). The whole family is excited to watch me make these delish-looking SANE treats! I know you are a huge proponent in avoiding sucralose. That said, I happen to have it in my cupboards. so that issue aside, 2 questions if you would be so very gracious: First, is xylitol and sucralose interchangeable from a measures and weights perspective? in other words, would I use 2 1/2 ounces of splenda by weight for this recipe? Second question, so I found the xanthan gum, but could not find guar gum. Can I substitute with xanthan gum, or will I get a poor result? Thanks so much! Sincerely, TomReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Tom! I wish I had an easy answer for you :-( I have never baked with sucralose so I cannot answer your question FOR SURE. However, research suggests that if you are talking about granular sucralose (ie a form that is made specifically for baking) then you can substitute 1:1 for sugar and therefore 1:1 with xylitol. If you are talking about Splenda then you cannot swap out 1:1 as Splenda is way sweeter than sugar. I would hesitate to use Splenda for baked goods as I don’t know how it interacts with the other ingredients and heat.

      For the guar gum, in this instance you *should* be able to use xanthan gum in the coconut cream instead. They are generally interchangeable, but guar is preferred for cold applications and xanthan for hot. You can also leave out the gum altogether, but you may find the topping not as thick and not hold its shape as well.

      Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Barbra - Hi Carrie – I made this last night to surprise my grandmother and she loved them! I didn’t have any oranges in the house but had lots of lemons. The lemon coconut combination was perfect :) thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - What kind of whey protein ? And are these gluten freeReplyCancel

  • jillian - first visit to your site(must be connected to buying thecalorie myth and searches about that) anyway..everything looks yummy and will be trying …so here is question…xylitol and i are not friends. how would i sub coconut sugar? or occasional honey…one to one? thank you, jillianReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hi Jillian – WELCOME!! You can sub coconut sugar or honey but in doing so you will instantly make the recipe inSANE since our bodies recognize and treat it just as it would sugar. If you do choose to sub out coconut sugar you would sub out 1:1 with xylitol. Honey would require a re-working of the recipe since it is so wet. The few people who don’t do will with xylitol initially often find that the reaction goes away after continued use – have you tried that approach? You could also sub with erythritol, although that has only 60% to 70% as sweet as xylitol, so you will need to use more of it. Not having trialed erythritol I am not sure how the increased bulk would affect the recipes. Sugars and their substitutes are just tricky!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - Wow, these cupcakes were yummy! I felt like I was cheating. Thanks for creating something that is SANE and feels like a treat!ReplyCancel

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