Caramelized Papaya and Toasted Coconut Cupcakes

Caramelized Papaya and Toasted Coconut Cupcakes

Caramelized Papaya and Toasted Coconut Cupcakes


I hate lugging groceries from the store, it’s one of the inevitable tasks you must do every week. Fortunately companies like Fresh Direct exist and can deliver whatever you need to your home with the click of a button. Browsing through their online lists, I saw papaya and thought back to Dean & DeLuca where I would eat the the scraps from the papaya for fruit salad and platters. Delish. I ordered two, because generally they are pretty small. What was delivered was larger than a football and no matter how much I love them, after eating several pounds of fresh papaya you get sick of it.

Huge fresh papaya - skin peeled off, seeds removed, cut in half

Huge fresh papaya – skin peeled off, seeds removed, cut in half

So I decided to challenge myself and make two recipes with papaya. I remember hearing of a papaya cake before, so I looked it up and there is a Bahamian Rum Papaya cake that looked to die for. I played off that one by adding coconut and caramelizing the papaya. As I was making the cake I decided I wanted to add more coconut flavor, so I added half a can of coconut milk. I think it made a really moist delish cake.


The frosting is a light coconut flavored buttercream with large toasted coconut curls.


Here’s how I did it. πŸ™‚


Caramelized Papaya Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut

2 cups AP flour

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/8 t baking soda

pinch salt

2 eggs

1 stick softened butter

2 T dark rum

1/2 can coconut milk

1 T orange zest

1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened/chipped)

1.5 cups caramelized papaya (Recipe follows)

  • Whip softened butter until light and fluffy, add both sugars and whip until creamed together.
  • Add one egg at a time until they are both combined.
  • Add in coconut milk, rum, zest, and coconut milk.
  • Sieve all dry ingredients together.
  • Add in dry ingredients until combined, do not over mix.
  • Add in cooled, caramelized papaya. Fold in by hand.
  • Scoop into cupcake liners, I used a portion scoop so they are all even.
  • Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until set. Mine took about 16 minutes. Rotating in between.
  • When they are completely cool, ice and top with toasted coconut.


Caramelized Papaya

1 large papaya, diced

2 T brown sugar

2 T butter

  • Melt butter, add sugar, allow to caramelize.
  • Add in papaya, cook in caramel on low heat until fruit is tender and caramel is thick.
Caramelized papaya cooled and add to batter

Caramelized papaya cooled and added to batter

Coconut Buttercream

1 stick softened unsalted butter

1/8 t ground ginger

2 cups confectionary sugar

1/2 coconut milk

1/8 t good vanilla extract


  • Whip softened butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add coconut milk whip to combine.
  • Add powdered sugar, vanilla, ground ginger.
  • Whip until all is combined and light and fluffy. Add more confectionary sugar if needed.


This recipe produces a cupcake that is a little denser more like a teacake. It is honestly one of the best things I have ever made up! Absolutely delish, you are not going to be able to stop eating the coconut buttercream.





I hope you try this one! Enjoy!

Sean Patrick Gallagher


2 thoughts on “Caramelized Papaya and Toasted Coconut Cupcakes

  1. Can’t wait to try this recipe… for Mother’s day I made a Strawberry Coconut muffin with Strawberry butter that was served warm with room temperature butter and that was outrageous…So your recipe will be fun to make… Love, Joy


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