Yes to Yummy

Paleo Mocha Coconut Frappuccino Cupcakes (gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free)

December 31, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page


It’s the end of 2013, and we’ve gotta celebrate. I don’t think there’s a better way to say “party” than a mocha coconut frappuccino cupcake, don’t you?

Cupcakes may be the most fun thing on earth to bake. There are so many different combinations of cupcake, frosting, and topping to try, and best of all, your dessert comes in a pre-portioned package so you won’t over-stuff yourself. (Though they’re so tasty, you might go back for a second…)

My problem with classic American cupcakes is that the ratio of frosting to cake is about 1,000 to 1. While frosting is delicious, this is a cupCAKE, not a cupFROSTING. Frosting also packs on a ton of calories, since it’s pretty much made of a pound each of butter and sugar. The poor cake–which should be the centerpiece of the dessert–is buried and forgotten, and often is dry and flavorless due to its lack of attention. Everyone’s in it for the frosting, and that’s sad.

While these cupcakes do have a good amount of frosting, it’s clear that the moist, chocolaty cake is the star. It’s a little sweet, but not so sugary that it’ll make your mouth pucker: you can actually taste the other ingredients, like coffee, cocoa powder, and toasted coconut. They are the BOMB.

Made paleo-friendly from THIS recipe! Yay for inspiration! 

Ready to pounce on these delicious cupcakes? Good, let’s get started.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins with 15 muffin liners, preferably parchment ones. I know 15 is an awkward number when it comes to baking, but just go with it, OK?

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 8 large eggs at medium speed until a little frothy and lightened in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. 8 eggs sounds like a lot, but it’s what gives the cupcakes a good deal of their structure. We want cupcakes, not pancakes.


While the eggs beat themselves silly, stir together 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk with 3 tablespoons of instant coffee powder in a small saucepan over medium low heat. When the liquid begins to boil, turn it off the heat and let it cool for a minute; it should be a lovely chestnut-brown in color.

Allow it to cool for a minute, then pour into the eggs. Beat just to combine, then add in 1/2 cup of coconut nectar (can be substituted with honey or maple syrup), 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted. Keep mixing until everything is completely incorporated, about a minute longer.

In a small bowl, sift together 1 cup of coconut flour, 1/4 cup of tapioca flour/powder (doesn’t matter, they’re pretty much identical), 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (the higher quality, the better), 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine and pour into the wet ingredients about 1/3 cup at a time.


Your batter should be smooth, thin-ish (about halfway between crepe batter and pancake batter in thickness), and dark brown in color when it’s ready. If you’re feeling adventurous, add in 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips, but feel free to leave them out, if you’d like.

Using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, evenly divide the cupcake batter between the muffin liners. Bake in the center rack of the oven until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 30 minutes. DO NOT OVER-BAKE! Veer on the side of caution and take these babies out before you think they’re done; too late and they’ll taste like sandy piles of blugh.

Once the cupcakes are out of the oven, place 3 tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut on a baking sheet and spread out to ensure even toasting. Place on the top rack and bake until golden brown all over, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful: coconut burns very easily!


Let the cupcakes cool in the muffin tins for at least half an hour. You can make the frosting while you wait!


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together 3/4 cup of palm shortening, 1/3 cup of coconut nectar (can be substituted with honey or maple syrup), 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder, and 2 tablespoons of coconut flour on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

To the frosting, add in 2 tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk, 1 teaspoon of coconut extract, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a generous pinch of salt. Keep beating on high for a minute or two more, then taste and adjust the flavor.

Scoop the frosting into a pastry bag or a large ziploc bag with a corner snipped off. Secure the bag, push the frosting to the bottom, and twist the top. Set aside while you make the drizzle to go on top.


In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1/2 cup of coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips, and 1 tablespoon of instant coffee powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. If you find that the drizzle is still really liquid-y, let it reduce for a little while longer or add in 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter (or other nut butter) to thicken.

You’re now ready to assemble! Squeeze the frosting in a circular motion on top of the cupcake, apply the drizzle with a small spoon, and sprinkle some of the toasted shredded coconut on top. Enjoy…but please do so before 2:00 in the afternoon. (Otherwise, you’ll be bouncing off the walls all night!)


What desserts would YOU like to see made paleo in 2014? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

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