If you like Piña Coladas…
I love summer for obvious reasons – warm weather, sundresses, sandals, bright nail polish, fresh fruits and vegetables, and of course fruity drinks. Ok, so maybe they aren’t so obvious. Anyway, what is better than a nice tropical cocktail to enjoy summer with? A cupcake version!
I love piña coladas so much. Creamy coconut and fruity pineapple mixed up with some rum? Yes, please. It’s the quintessential vacation drink and now you can enjoy it in cupcake form. Does it get any better than that?
These cupcakes are alcohol-free. I actually did test them using coconut rum, but I wasn’t happy with the flavor it left behind. Feel free to try it out or just serve the rum alongside, if you want 😉
The cake batter is my go-to recipe (from my great grandmother) for yellow cake…I’ll do a separate post on this at some point. Basically, I just add in coconut extract and swap the milk for coconut milk and pineapple juice – genius! The aroma of these baking is just out of this world good. Your mouth will be watering!
Make sure when you “cream” your butter and sugar – and this goes for any recipe that requires creaming – that you do it long enough to really incorporate the sugar into the butter. It should be very light in color and look kind of fluffy, like this:
Once you’ve got the batter together, just drop a spoonful into each cupcake liner to fill about ¾ of the way full. Now, you’re ready to bake! They only take about 18 minutes, but you have to wait for them to cool before you can frost them.
Speaking of frosting, this is one of the best things I have ever tasted. It’s basically a whipped cream version of my cream cheese frosting, but with coconut and pineapple added in. I’m not one to be really into icings because usually they are too sweet for me, but not this. I, of coarse, control the sweetness and I promise you – it’s perfectly sweet without being too sweet. I could eat it with a spoon. I have eaten it with a spoon.
I like to whip up the icing while the cupcakes are baking and then pop it in the fridge while the cupcakes cool. This way it sets up a bit and is easier to pipe onto the cupcakes – alternatively you could just dollop the frosting on top. By the way, cooling the cupcakes in the fridge will have you eating one much faster.
Once the frosting is on, I like to garnish the top with toasted coconut and a pineapple piece. Toasting coconut is super easy – just sprinkle some sweetened coconut flakes into a small sauté pan. Then over medium-high heat let it toast, stirring constantly to get evenly brown. Just don’t walk away from it because it will burn really fast if you don’t keep it moving. This step is optional, but I highly recommend it. The crunchy, sweet coconut on top of the creamy icing really adds a nice texture and flavor. Don’t forget the pineapple chunk – it wouldn’t be a piña colada without it.
Oh, and you might notice that there are no cherries on my cupcakes. This is because I hate maraschino cherries – I always give the cherry away from my piña coladas, milkshakes, and ice cream sundaes. However, if you’re into the cherry feel free to add them!
These fantastic little cakes have the best flavor and texture at room temperature, but they should be stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. If you’re serving them at a party, say for the 4th of July, you can leave them out throughout your party and they will be just fine. Just be sure to store any leftovers in the fridge. I had these in my fridge last week each morning I took 1 or 2 out of the fridge. That way there was always a room temperature cupcake available when I was ready to eat it!
I highly recommend that you get in the kitchen and get baking – these will be a huge hit at all of your summer parties. 4th of July is on Friday and I’m sure your friends and family would love to be eating one these!
Piña Colada Cupcakes
Transport yourself to the tropics with this cocktail inspired cupcake. Nothing says vacation more than a Piña Colada – and it’s even better in cupcake form! These delicious little cakes are going to be a hit at all of your summer parties!
| Yield: 12 Cupcakes | Prep Time: 45 Min | Cook Time: 18-20 Min |
For the cupcake batter:
1 & 2/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 ¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
¾ Teaspoon Salt
½ Cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Extra Large Egg, at room temperature
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
½ Teaspoon Coconut Extract
½ Cup Coconut Milk*, at room temperature
½ Cup Pineapple Juice, at room temperature
For the icing:
¼ Cup (4oz) Cream Cheese, softened*
¼ Cup (4 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, softened*
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 Tablespoon Pineapple Juice
½ Teaspoon Coconut Extract
1 Cup Heavy Cream
Toasted Coconut and Pineapple Pieces, for decorating, optional
Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a standard cupcake pan with your favorite liners and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until very light in color. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add in the egg, vanilla and coconut extracts. In alternating additions, add in the flour and the coconut milk and pineapple juice – about 3 additions are perfect. Stop the mixer as soon as the batter is mixed. Using a large ice cream scoop, drop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan – the liners should be about ¾ of the way full.
Bake the cupcakes in a 350º oven for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
Combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, pinch of salt, pineapple juice, and coconut extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix over medium-low speed until all the ingredients are combined and you have a nice, creamy base. Pour in the heavy cream and turn the mixer to high. Whip until the frosting doubles in size and forms stiff peaks (the frosting will hold a peak when you pick up the whisk). Transfer to a piping bag and frost the cooled cupcakes. Alternatively you could just dollop the icing on top of the cupcakes if you like. The cupcakes are best eaten at room temperature, but should be stored in the refrigerator*.
*Leftover coconut milk can be frozen for future use, or you could make my Red Curry Salmon with the leftovers!
*The cream cheese and butter should be softened, but not brought to room temperature. If it’s too soft the frosting can get an odd texture when you add the cold cream. I set mine out while I work on the cupcakes – it should be soft enough to work with, but still cool.
*If you’ll be serving these at a party they will be fine at room temperature. However, any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. I like to take one (or two!) out each morning so they are ready to eat when I want a cupcake – they have a better flavor and texture at room temperature than when they are cold!