Recipe: Sweet corn and coconut cupcakes (corny cupcakes!)

Inspired by the Nyonya corn kueh made form mung bean flour, coconut and sweet corn kernels that my mother makes, I used those flavours to make these corny cupcakes.

Nyonya culture arised out of the Malaysians intermingling with the Chinese population in Singapore. They created a fascinating culture with their own customs, clothes and of course, food. Nyonya desserts are famous for their colours and interesting textures.

Lacking the skills and the ingredients to make such desserts, I decided to adapt them into something that anyone could make!

These cupcakes are great because they’re not sickly sweet and the flavour combination is subtle enough to work in the cupcake. Think of corn as the equivalent of choc chip chunks in the batter.

See my schematic:


I’m pretty glad these worked out as they were dessert that I brought over to my parents for our family’s Chinese New Year dinner! My Dad loves coconut anything and he loved these!

Makes: 24


  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 200 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 200 g (1/2 400g can) canned corn kernels, drained
  • Coconut whipped cream (see separate blog!)
  • Toasted dessicated coconut (see notes)


  1. Set oven to 180C. Grease 2x 12-hole cupcake trays and line with cupcake cases.
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl.
  3. Add sugar, butter and eggs and mix well until combined.
  4. Add milk to make more liquidy.
  5. Stir in corn, reserving some for decorating.
  6. Add to tray, filling up cupcake cases to about 3/4 full.
  7. Bake in oven for approx. 20 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove from tray and allow to cool on wire racks.
  9. Decorate with the whipped coconut cream as well as a few corn kernels (see notes) and the toasted coconut. I added edible red sparkles because I was going to a red and gold, Chinese New Year theme!


Toasted coconut is great! It livens up ordinary store-bought desiccated or shredded coconut not only adding colour but a delightful fragrance as well. The whole apartment smelt delicious for ages!

  • Add a thin layer to a tray and toast in an 180°C oven for about 5 minutes.
  • Keep an eye on it as it will brown quickly once the sugars in the coconut start to caramelise. It will brown from the outside in so you’ll get a gradient of browns.
  • It’s best to undertoast them to avoid burning the coconut and simply mix the unbrowned coconut with the browned coconut. Once mixed, it will look speckly and mostly brown anyway.

Flavour note: Decorate with way more corn. The flavour of the corn gots lost a bit when it’s cooked as opposed to straight out of the can!

I hope you enjoy this slightly alternative Nyonya-inspired baked dessert!


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