These light and fluffy Piña Colada Cupcakes were inspired by our favorite tropical cocktail. To make them, we topped a moist, fluffy pineapple cake with a creamy coconut buttercream frosting.
Piña Colada Cupcakes
Piña coladas are easily my favorite tropical drink and these cupcakes transform those delicious flavors into something I can enjoy midday at my desk…. without any weird looks from my coworkers. (For some reason, they hate it when I break out the blender.)
This isn’t my first time baking cocktail-inspired cupcakes. But, when I go on a beachy trip, it’s one sip of the beverage invented in San Juan, Puerto Rico that tells my brain I’m on vacation. You’d think the flight, customs, and sand would do it. But, nope.
Even when I’m not on vacation, one sip takes me away to those lazy summer days. So, I thought I might make cupcakes that capture that vibe. These Piña Colada Cupcakes have a pineapple cake base and a creamy coconut frosting that’s made with coconut milk and coconut extract. This buttercream frosting would also be excellent on our chocolate cupcakes.
How to Make These Pineapple Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set this aside.
- Whisk the milk, sour cream, pineapple juice, and coconut extract together in a small bowl. Set this aside.
- Finally, whisk two eggs together in small bowl. Set this aside.
- Using your stand mixer or handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for three minutes on medium high or until the mixture is light in color. This aerates the batter and helps your cupcakes rise.
- Add the eggs and beat for one minute.
- Add half the flour mixture to the mixing bowl. Beat for 15 seconds, then add the milk mixture. Beat at medium speed for 15 seconds, then add the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and beat for a final 15 seconds.
- Fill each cavity in the muffin pan ¾ full with cupcake batter and bake at 350° F for 15-18 minutes. Or, until the cupcakes bounce back when gently pressed. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely on a wire rack.
- While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting by combining butter and half of the powdered sugar until the buttercream is a creamy consistency. Add the coconut milk and coconut extract.
- Frost the cupcakes with the piña colada frosting. Top with a maraschino cherry, a slice of pineapple, and a drink umbrella. (Optional, but like, not really optional if you know what we mean.)
Can I Add Rum?
Yes! A real Piña Colada has rum, but you don’t need it to make these cupcakes. If you do, however, want to add a splash of rum to these, you can. Add ¼ teaspoon of rum (or rum extract) at a time to the coconut frosting until you’re happy with the flavor.
Why Can’t I Use Fresh Pineapple?
I love using fresh fruit whenever possible, but in fresh pineapple there’s an enzyme called bromelain. It’s great as a marinade because it breaks down proteins and makes dishes super tender. But it also causes dairy to separate, which isn’t good when you’re baking.
Heat deactivates the enzyme, which is why I always use canned juice instead of crushed pineapple for this recipe. If you’re grilling them, though, you could use that juice!
Pina Colada CupcakesPrint Recipe
- ½ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 4 cups powdered sugar (divided)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut milk
- 1 tsp. coconut extract
- ¼ tsp. rum extract (or rum, optional)
- 18 maraschino cherries
- 18 pineapple slices
- 18 drink umbrellas
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill muffin tins with 18 cupcake liners.
- Combine cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Combine milk, sour cream, pineapple juice, vanilla extract, and coconut extract in small bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs in small bowl. Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs. Let mix for 1 minute. Scrape down sides.
- Reduce speed to medium and add half of flour mixture. Mix for 15 to 30 seconds until combined.
- Add milk mixture. Mix for 15 to 30 seconds until combined.
- Add remaining flour mixture. Mix for 15 to 30 seconds until combined.
- Scrape down sides and fill cupcake liners ¾ full. Bake for 15-18 minutes until center of cupcake bounces back.
- Place muffin tin on cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Combine butter and 2 cups powdered sugar in mixer for about two minutes or until creamy.
- Add coconut milk and coconut extract.
- Add remaining powdered sugar. Add additional coconut milk or powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.
- Add additional coconut extract ¼ tsp at a time, if desired. Add rum or rum extract if desired.
- Frost cooled cupcakes and top with one maraschino cherry, a pineapple slice, and a drink umbrella.
- Make sure to use canned pineapple instead of fresh pineapple, so the dairy doesn't separate.
- Use coconut milk instead of coconut milk beverage or lite coconut milk. Coconut milk beverage won't thicken your cupcake batter the same way as coconut milk will.
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