Coconut Muffins with an Orange Glaze

I don’t have a terribly sweet tooth (although I know that doesn’t sound right to those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while and been witness to the vegan baked goodies and Indian sweets I’ve posted here). But it is the truth– I’d pick a savory snack over a sweet one any day.

For breakfast, though, and especially for breakfast on a Sunday morning, I love a bite of something sweet, although not cloyingly, richly sweet.

I was thrilled, then, to come across a recipe for Maui Muffins with an Orange Glaze in one of the vegan cookbooks I’ve owned for at least a year now and that has some truly unique recipes– the Candle Cafe Cookbook (I really love their chocolate cake with a ganache frosting. In fact, it was after eating it at a friend’s home that I rushed out to buy this cookbook).

These muffins sounded perfect– delicious and complex with many layers of flavor, but healthy as well with whole wheat and fruit juices and coconut.

I have a quirk about coconut. I love it in curries and Indian dishes, and I adore it in traditional Indian sweets like modaks and karanjis and naralachi vadi. But I absolutely, positively cannot stand it in cookies, cakes, candies and other baked goods.

But I’d bought a bag of sweetened coconut a while back that was lying in my refrigerator asking to be used, and I thought, what the heck. The muffins sounded good enough to try.

I doubled up on the coconut in the original recipe because I didn’t have pineapple, which the recipe called for and which is perhaps one of the reasons why these are called Maui muffins. So I am renaming mine Coconut Muffins instead. Also, instead of whole-wheat pastry flour, which the recipe called for and which I’d just run out of, I used durum whole-wheat flour which I did have on hand because that’s what I use to make my chapatis. The substitution worked very well– the muffins were moist and had a great crumb.

The recipe calls for agave nectar and for those of you who might not be familiar with it, this is a great natural sweetener which comes from the agave cactus. It makes a great substitute for honey which spoon-for-spoon has almost twice the calories as sugar does. (And, of course, honey is not vegan because those poor bees didn’t work themselves to death so we could just swoop in and steal their honey.)

Agave nectar has a low glycemic index which makes it one of the healthiest sweeteners you can eat, and if you live in the United States, it is easy to find — even the Costco I go to here in my Washington suburb stocks it.

So here it is, then, a delicious, healthy and easy recipe for a snack or breakfast or brunch or pre-breakfast…you get the idea? You can leave out the orange glaze if you want to reduce the sugar in the recipe, but I thought its sweetness was wonderfully complimentary to the barely-sweet muffin.


Coconut Muffins With An Orange Glaze
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast/Muffins
Serves: Makes 12 muffins
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup durum whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp egg replacer powder
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (use maple syrup or regular sugar if you don’t have this)
  • Zest of 1 orange (set aside 2 tsp or so for the orange glaze)
  • ¼ cup canola or other flavorless vegetable oil (the original recipe recommends safflower)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, egg replace powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, dissolve the egg replacer with the orange juice. Add the agave nectar, orange zest, oil and water
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together until they are just combined. Do not overmix. Add the coconut and mix in.
  5. Greas a 12-cup muffin tin and divide the batter equally between the cups.
  6. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Place on a rack to cool. Unmold after 10 minutes and continue to cool the muffins.
  9. Heat the orange juice in a small saucepan until it begins to boil.
  10. Add the powdered sugar and zest and turn off the heat. Whisk together well.
  11. Pour over the cooled or barely-warm muffins.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Vaishali, I have the same thought as you with regards to coconut. I love it in Indian curries, desserts but do’n like it much in cookies, cakes etc.
    But I have a sweet tooth and would pick sweet over the savory one.
    Like the coconut muffin variation, looks good.

  2. says

    Same pinch, i havent tried coconut in my bakes as yet but planning to do so soon :)
    Wishiny you and your family a very Happy Holi! Muffins look delicious, would love to grab one for breakfast!

  3. says

    I too don’t like coconut in cakes or cookies Vaishali. :-) But that muffin of yours looks so tempting I don’t mind if it has coconut. Love that orange zest on the top. :-)

  4. says

    mmm. what a lovely muffin! Not fair to tempt like this. I am imagining the yummy taste coconut would give to this muffin :)

  5. says


    Like you, I do not have sweet tooth either, but I eat occasional sweet things and this looks yummy. In out house Zenguy loves sweet things, I shall make it him and it is healthy too.

  6. says

    I love coconuts and it counts for whole wheat flour thats great.

    Vaishali,I always hit in to controversy about agave nectar.I stocked on two big bottles but when I keep reading negatives about it,I am skeptical.Some source quotes its the best replacement for sugar but I have also read it contains the same calories as of sugar .

    Just wanted to get your thoughts .

  7. says

    Rachana, Latha, Swathi, Thanks!

    RedChillies: We Konkani gals love our coconut, right :) But seriously, this recipe was definitely a mind-changer for me on coconut in baked goods.

    Gita, ChitChat, Thanks!

    Parita, A very happy Holi to you!

    Sharmila, Uma: THanks.

    Priya, you are so kind..thanks and hope you try it.

    Priya, Sowmya, HappyCook, Zengirl, Thanks!

    AMA, you are right– there has been controversy over agave nectar, but most of it seems unfounded. Doctors and dietitians focused on health eating, like the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, recommend the use of agave over sugar in sweets because of its low glycemic response. Agave is not calorie-free, and no one is claiming that, but it is absorbed more slowly by your body than regular sugar which is very beneficial, especially for diabetics. Hope that helps :)

    Sumi, thanks!

  8. says

    I would call it as Golden muffins.. just love the colour and combi of coconut with orange glaze..

    Yes can repost with link back and send it to me:)

  9. Anonymous says

    Hi vaishali,

    To much of my happiness I have found flaxseed. Can I substitute egg replacer with flaxseedmeal?

    God Bless.

  10. says

    Hi Nisha, these muffins are more delicately flavored, so I would recommend replacing the egg replacer with 2 tsp of cornstarch. If you don’t have cornstarch, use 1 tbsp of the flaxmeal mixed with 2 tbsp of water, but you might lose some of the delicate orange flavor.

  11. says

    I made these muffins a few times a while back out of The Candle Cafe Cookbook – they were delicious!! The only problem I had was the glaze was so sticky that it was a mess eating them. Worth it though!!

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