Macadamia Coconut Cupcakes

Macadamia Coconut Cupcakes. They are vanilla cupcakes, with a macadamia custard filling, frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, rolled in toasted coconut flakes, topped with a coconut fudge ball.

Yes, the flavor bar has just been raised, folks.

I can’t top this flavor profile. The macadamia custard filling has got to be my favorite thing ever! I’d probably lick someone’s shoe if it had some of this custard over it (ok, too far).

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coconut macadamia cupcakes


Let’s dissect these Macadamia Coconut Cupcakes and see what it’s all about.

The cupcake is vanilla. The moistest of all. Oil based, because that provides the cupcake with a very fine crumb and whole lotta fluffiness.

Inside, we find our delicious macadamia custard. You’ll want to eat this with a spoon. And it’s good in a spoon. But better with cake.

The frosting is what I really wanted to talk about today.

I am using a Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the frosting. My all time favorite buttercream. There’s a nickname for it, it’s SMBC, you’ll see this being used sometimes by other blogs.

Making Swiss Meringue Buttercream isn’t very difficult. But you may have a couple issues, because this is the type of recipe that is very precise and leaves little room for mistakes.

It’s a simple technique, that needs to be followed to a T. Lots of things could go wrong if you don’t pay attention to the details. And I am going to break them down for you.

Listen up!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream tips

Number one! First and foremost, you are going to place your egg whites and sugar in a double boiler, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, over medium heat. Don’t stop whisking this mixture, or the bottom may cook. You don’t want to cook the egg whites, you just want to bring them to a safe temperature, which would be 140F.

I bring it up to 138F, because it will continue to raise the temperature as you remove it from the heat source.

Number two! Pour this mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. Be careful when you do that. Because the bottom of the bowl might have accumulated water from the condensation. You don’t want to let any water touch your meringue, or it will make it unstable and ruin it completely.

A little tip, if you’re using a KitchenAid and you have a heat proof bowl, simply use your bowl over a small pan with simmering water to make the base for the meringue. This way, you don’t have to transfer the mixture to another bowl, and most importantly, less dishes!

Number three! Whip the meringue until it has cooled down and formed stiff peaks. This is very important. However, you don’t want to overwhip your meringue and add too much air into it. Just stop once the stiff peaks have formed. When you start to see streaks made by the wires of the whisk, to check if the peaks have formed. Keep checking constantly as you whip.

Number four! About the butter. You don’t want the butter to be way too soft or way too cold when you make this. Remove the butter from the fridge right before you start to make the buttercream. This will give the butter time to sit at room temperature and soften a bit.

Macadamia coconut cupcakes

Problems you might encounter:

Soupy buttercream

If your buttercream doesn’t seem to become creamy, that could be due to two things

1. Your butter was too soft


2. You haven’t let the meringue form stiff peaks

If the case is that the butter is too soft, your buttercream will have a hard time firming up.

What to do? You should try to stick your bowl in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to give the butter a chance to become harder. Remove from the fridge and start whipping again. If the buttercream is still soupy, you most likely fall into the second category.

Unfortunately, if it was the second case scenario, you will have a hard time making this buttercream work. Depending on how much you’ve underwhipped your meringue before adding the butter, it will be irreversible.

What to do? Keep whipping for 15 minutes and see if it works and becomes buttercream. If, after 15 minutes, your buttercream is still soupy, you should probably start over.

Storage tips

You can keep your Swiss Meringue Buttercream out of the fridge for up to 2 days. If you keep it in the fridge, it will last you about 5 days, just make sure to let it come to room temperature and whip it to make it smooth before piping it. To store in the freezer, make sure to wrap tightly and remove all air from the ziplock bag you’re storing the SMBC in. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Again, make sure to let it come to room temperature and whip it until smooth and creamy before using it.


Let me quickly talk to you about the fudge balls on top. They are coconut fudge balls and they are very popular in Brazil. As you must know, that’s where I am from.

In Brazil, this is called Beijinho (translation= little kiss). And it’s a staple at birthday parties. Completely mandatory to serve it at your celebrations!

It’s so easy to make and you don’t even have to roll it up fancy like that if you don’t want to, most times I just make a batch and eat it with a spoon.

These fudge balls are made out of condensed milk, shredded coconut and butter. That’s it!

And yes, eating the beijinho with a spoon is like my biggest dessert indulgence of all times. But if I am serving for guests, or at my son’s birthday party, I do like to roll it into nice balls.

I did serve it at my son Luke’s birthday party this year. The theme was Peter Rabbit, and I thought the little coconut fudge balls would make for cute bunny tails.

You can read more about the birthday party right here.

Anyway, these Macadamia Coconut Cupcakes have a lot of steps and layers. However, they aren’t hard or complicated to make. I made the fudge balls and the macadamia custard filling the day before, so the next day, it took me a couple hours from start to finish to have the cupcakes ready.

Macadamia coconut cupcakes

How about you. Do you like filled cupcakes? What are some of your favorite cupcake flavors? I love new ideas! I want to bake, bake, bake, bake, bake!

In this same fancy flavor profile, you can also find my majestic Lemon Coconut Layer Cake. And if you are looking for another summery and bright cupcake recipe, be sure to check out my delicious Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes.

coconut macadamia cupcakes

Macadamia Coconut Cupcakes

These Macadamia Coconut Cupcakes are the ultimate elegant indulgence. Vanilla cupcakes, filled with macadamia custard. Frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Topped with a coconut fudge ball.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, brazilian
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 370 kcal


Vanilla Cupcakes
  • 158 grams all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cup, 5.6 oz
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 120 grams canola oil 1/2 cup, 4 oz
  • 150 grams sugar 3/4 cup, 5.3 oz
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 122 grams buttermilk 1/2 cup, 4.3 oz
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 160 grams egg whites 4 egg whites, 5.6 oz
  • 200 grams granulated sugar 1 cup, 7 oz
  • 340 grams cold unsalted butter 24 tablespoons, 12 oz
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Coconut Fudge balls (Beijinho)
  • 1 can condensed milk 14 oz.
  • 1 /2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Macadamia Custard
  • 120 grams milk 1/2 cup, 4 oz
  • 250 grams ground macadamia nuts 1 cup, 8.8 oz
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100 grams sugar 1/2 cup, 3.5 oz
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
For the top
  • 2 cups shredded coconut


Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  • Whisk eggs with a wire whisk for about 1 minute. They will become frothy and lightened in color. Add oil and whisk until combined.
  • Add sugar and whisk for about 1 minute. You can use a mixer to do this, or simply a whisk. I usually go with just a whisk.
  • Add vanilla extract and half of the buttermilk. Whisk briefly until just combined.
  • Now, add half of the dry ingredients and whisk gently until combined.
  • Finally, add rest of the buttermilk. Whisk and then, add remaining flour. Make sure to just whisk the mixture until combined.
  • Don’t overmix it!
  • Pour batter evenly into a cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners, or buttered and floured.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. Until puffed, and lightly golden.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • About 30 minutes before you start to make your buttercream, remove butter from the fridge. Cut it into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside and let it come to room temperature. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, you might need an hour or so to have the butter soften. Please note that you don’t want your butter to be too hot and melted either.
  • Place egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof bowl or in a double boiler pan.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Set bowl on top of the pan with simmering water.
  • Whisk constantly until egg whites and sugar reach 138F temperature. This ensures that the egg whites will have reached a safe temperature. The temperature of pasteurized egg whites is actually 140F, however, if you bring it up to 138F, the temperature will raise a couple degrees even after you take it out of the heat source.
  • Keep whisking mixture for about 30 seconds after you take it off the heat.
  • Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Be sure to wipe dry the bottom of the bowl to get rid of the condensation that formed before you transfer mixture. Because if a drop of water gets in contact with your egg white/sugar, it will ruin your meringue.
  • With the whisk attachment, beat meringue on medium-high speed.
  • You are going to beat the meringue until stiff peaks form. Now, this might take a while. Usually takes me about 10 minutes. The reason for that is that the egg whites have to cool down first and then they will be able to reach stiff peak.
  • Just let the mixer do its job and cool down the meringue as it whisks it.
  • Once your meringue has reached stiff peaks, start adding butter, with the mixer on medium-high speed.
  • Add one slab of butter at a time. Waiting a few seconds before adding the next one.
  • At times, you will question yourself if your meringue will ever form, the answer is mostly likely: yes it will form. Just be patient. Keep whisking it.
  • Add vanilla once you’re done adding the butter.
  • At this point, you should see your meringue having hardened up and formed into a smooth cream.
  • If not, there are a few troubleshooting tricks you could try.
  • Please refer to the post above for troubleshooting.
Coconut fudge balls (Beijinho)
  • Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
  • Over medium heat, stir mixture without stopping, while you bring it to a boil.
  • Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low.
  • Keep stirring non stop while it cooks.
  • You should cook it for about 15 minutes.
  • To test if your beijinho is ready, simply tilt the pan and if the mixture all come off from the bottom of the pan, leaving just a fuzzy layer of fudge on the bottom of the pan, you’re good to go. Mixture will look shiny and firm. If you run a spatula on the bottom of the pan, fudge will take about 5 seconds to come together again. You are looking for a very thick stage.
  • Remove fudge to a buttered plate. Let it cool down until it gets to room temperature and then stick it in the fridge.
  • Let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so until it’s cool.
  • With buttered hands, scoop a small amount of fudge and roll between your palms to form a smooth ball. Coat the ball in shredded coconut or granulated sugar. Put in small baking cups (I use those 1 inch ones)
  • Do this until you’re done with all the fudge. You’ll obtain around 20 balls depending on how big you make them.
Macadamia Custard
  • Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Turn off heat as soon as you see the first bubble emerge. Set aside.
  • Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl for about 1 minute, until lightened in color.
  • Add cornstarch and whisk.
  • Add ground macadamia nuts and mix everything together.
  • Now, add a couple of tablespoons of milk to mixture, while whisking non stop.
  • Add a couple more tablespoons and keep whisking.
  • Finally, add the rest of the milk whisking everything together.
  • Pour this back into saucepan where you heated milk.
Bring it to a boil over medium low heat, while stirring with a wooden spoon, non stop.
  • Stir vigorously for a minute to thicken mixture. Once custard is creamy and thickened, remove it to a heatproof bowl.
  • Let it cool down for about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and stir.
  • Cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Place the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard, because this prevents a skin from forming.
  • Once macadamia custard cools down, you can start assembling cupcakes.
To assemble
  • Place 2 cups of coconut flakes on a non-stick frying pan. Over medium heat, stir coconut flakes while you toast them. Once you see the flakes start to get brown, turn off the heat, they will continue to darken even after you remove them from the heat. Set them aside to cool down.
  • With a spoon, make a 1 inch hole on top of each cupcake.
  • This step is not so necessary, but highly recommended: eat all little holes you removed from the cupcakes!
  • Place a small amount of custard inside of each cupcake. About 1 heaping teaspoon of custard per cupcake.
  • Pipe swiss meringue buttercream on top.
  • Roll frosting on toasted coconut flakes to coat.
  • Place a beijinho on top.
  • Keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days.


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  1. These cupcakes look seriously good, I think you have raised the bar here, and that macadamia custard filling must be really good if you´re willing to lick it of a shoe! lol…seriously great post and recipe, thanks for all the great tips

  2. 5 stars
    Oh, wow, I absolutely love how you decorated these cupcakes! They are towering high!!! I love using oil for cakes too! Makes them so beautifully moist!

  3. These look and sound so good, such a great punch of delicious flavours. Appreciate the tips for things that might go wrong during the recipe and how to recover from them, really helpful.

  4. Oh my goodness!! Love the combination you have used in this cupcakes.. I am a big coconut and macadamia nut fan!!

  5. 5 stars
    These are seriously amazing looking cupcakes! I love coconut desserts so much and the macadamia custard in this is a must-try! Thank you for sharing!

  6. 5 stars
    Oh, that filling sounds incredible! Swiss Meringue is my favorite buttercream also. These would be perfect for a bridal shower!! So gorgeous.

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