white chocolate coconut ganache filled cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream

Last week was a week of “it’s not goodbye it’s see you later.” The day after one of my best friends moved to Africa, one of my awesome coworkers left us for a new job. As excited as I am for her and new opportunities, she will be truly missed because her presence always has a tendency to make the day that much better. We had a little farewell breakfast for her but I brought cupcakes, cause that’s what I do 😉 She requested coconut and vanilla flavors so I combined the two for a vanilla cupcake filled with a white chocolate coconut ganache topped with vanilla bean buttercream frosting.


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I have yet to develop my own cake recipe so for now I rely on other delicious ones. This buttermilk vanilla cake recipe didn’t explain cupcakes but it made 18 and the time was pretty spot on. Once cupcakes are done, cool and core centers.

White Chocolate Coconut Ganache Filling

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup lite coconut milk (shelf-stable)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes**

The result of this incredible cupcake filling was a complete accident/miracle. For some reason I always seem to forget that the other important detail to making a ganache besides an equal ratio of liquid to chocolate is that that liquid needs to be cream. I used coconut milk and it did not set. I put it in the freezer, nada. I gave up and left it in the fridge overnight and still it didn’t thicken. I had about 90 minutes to figure out a solution so I dumped the majority of the bag of coconut flakes into the bowl and it thickened the mixture and came out SO perfect for a cupcake filling.

**I do apologize for not supplying a more exact measurement of coconut flakes but I was in such a panic to figure out how to thicken the filling I just dumped a bunch of coconut flakes in the bowl and I think that’s about how much.

Fill the cooled cupcake centers with about a TBSP of filling.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 TBSP lite coconut milk (leftover from filling)
  • 2 TBSP cow’s milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Beat butter adding 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time. Around the 4th addition of powdered  add in milks. Scrape bowl after every cup of powdered sugar is added. If you’ve never used a vanilla bean before, read carefully: cut it in half and scrape the insides out with a spoon. Add to frosting. Pipe frosting and top with coconut flakes.

Another mishap of these cupcakes was that I refrigerated the frosting overnight because it was late and I needed to sleep instead of waiting around to frost cupcakes. When the frosting came out it was very thick and not pipe-able at all. I waited about an hour for it to thaw and transported it to work in a Ziploc baggie with the tip cut off. While piping the frosting, the bag popped and I had to shape the frosting in my (clean) hands before placing a dollop on top of each cupcake. Three of them turned out okay and that’s what I used to take my picture on a bright green paper plate in the office kitchen. So I would definitely recommend piping immediately and then refrigerating!

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The adventure that was making these cupcakes was ridiculous but they turned out perfectly and I even had a sweet note waiting for me when I got back from my lunch break from a coworker.


Hopefully reading this ahead of time will result in a much less stressful process getting to the finished product. Enjoy!