Cupcake Series: Pina Colada Cupcakes


Hello there!

So confession time: I am mildly obsessed with fancy cocktails. Granted, I’m not terribly keen on actually drinking them, since I have the bitter taste tolerance of the average two year old, but they’re just so bright and colorful and happy – basically the epitome of everything that is wonderful about a tropical getaway.

I especially love the teeny tiny paper umbrellas. So cute!

So while it’s technically not quite summer yet (which, by the way, is super weird to me since fourteen years of public education taught me that summer begins when summer break begins, which isn’t quite true anymore when you move out of the college dorms in early May), it’s almost summer, and it always pays to be prepared, especially if you’re preparing by preparing the pineapple-coconutty goodness that is these pina colada cupcakes.

(By the way, yes, all of that actually is grammatically correct – except, of course, for the “coconutty” bit, though that’s really a bigger issue of spelling than grammar.)


On a slightly tangential note, in the development of this recipe, I discovered the magical product that is canned pineapples in 100% pineapple juice. Apparently my brain still lives in the Stone Age (or at least the era that produced these gems), since I was under the clearly mistaken belief that there exist only canned pineapples preserved in some sort of nauseatingly sweet 98% corn syrup concoction. At any rate, they’re perfect if you’re like me and internally panic at the thought of trying to dissect a pineapple without several visits to the ER. They’re super good and most unequivocally not nauseatingly sweet! (:

At any rate, whether it’s summer where you are or not quite summer yet, remember that with the power of baking (and life changing canned pineapple chunks), any day is a great day for decidedly resort-y cupcakes. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Tuesday,


Pina Colada Cupcakes

Adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen, Cooking Classy, Sally’s Baking Addiction, and Tidy Mom
Makes 16 cupcakes


325 g (3 cups) all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 cup drained canned pineapple chunks (measure after draining!)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Coconut Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, low or full fat
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbs canned coconut cream
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup heavy cream

To Serve:
Pineapple wedges
Coconut flakes (I got mine from World Market!)
Pineapple toothpicks (Also from World Market!)
Cocktail umbrellas (…actually, not from World Market)



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy and well incorporated. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, pineapple juice, and coconut milk until fully incorporated.
  4. Chop the pineapple chunks in a food processor or blender until finely shredded. Fold the sifted flour mixture and pineapple into the butter-sugar-egg mixture until just mixed and no large flour streaks remain.
  5. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cupcake comes out with no or only dry crumbs attached. Set aside to cool!

Coconut Frosting:

  1. In a stand mixer or large stainless steel bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, coconut cream, and coconut extract until fluffy and well incorporated.
  2. Add in 1/4 of the heavy cream at a time, beating until well combined, then beat the mixture to stiff peaks. At this point, you should be able to lift the beaters out of the mixture to form sharp, triangular peaks whose tips do not topple over. Set aside as the cupcakes cool!


  1. Load the coconut frosting into a piping bag with a round tip, then pipe a small 1/2″ tall dollop in the middle of the cupcake. Then, pipe in a swirl from the outside in toward the center of the cake, using the dollop as a support as you swirl upward.
    Tip: I used the Wilton 2A tip, but any shape will do!
  2. If desired, lop off the very tip of the frosting swirl to create a smooth, flat surface. Garnish with pineapple wedge, coconut flakes, pineapple skewer, and cocktail umbrella. Enjoy!



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