Pina Colada Cupcakes.

Have your piña colada and eat it too! These extra moist pineapple coconut cupcakes will make everyday seem like a trip to the beach. 

Pina Colada Cupcakes - moist pineapple coconut cupcakes topped with coconut frosting. Tastes like your favorite tropical cocktail!

Today’s recipe was inspired by one of my favorite “activities.” A beach, a book, a piña colada, and an impossibly blue sky. Pure contentment right there. Though today’s piña colada cupcakes don’t have any alcohol in them, I’m not stopping you from serving them with a beachy alcoholic beverage. No judging here!

I’m all about summer these days in my kitchen. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a little over the cold weather. Winter was sooo last month. Bring on the flips!

Pina Colada Cupcakes - moist pineapple coconut cupcakes topped with coconut frosting. Tastes like your favorite tropical cocktail!

If you have an hour or two to spare, use it wisely and make these cupcakes. They’re a tropical-tasting medley of pineapple and coconut flavors, all mixed into my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe. One bite will instantly brighten your mood. Since no one stops at just 1 bite of a cupcake, just think what the entire cupcake will do.

Happiness in a cupcake wrapper.

I was inspired to make these cupcakes last week after we finished booking our trip to Mexico. Kevin and I are headed there at the end of this month for Kristen & Seth’s wedding. Riviera Maya to be exact. Have you ever been there? 5 days of sunshine, flip flops, and wedding festivities. I’m so excited for their wedding, pink sunsets, turquoise water, some great food, and of course – the fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. Always umbrellas.

Pina Colada Cupcakes - moist pineapple coconut cupcakes topped with coconut frosting. Tastes like your favorite tropical cocktail!

Today’s cupcakes are an upgraded version of my favorite cupcake recipe. Still keeping that brilliant vanilla flavor, I amped things up a bit and added the flavors of sweet pineapple and coconut. Making them is about as easy as a walk on the beach.

I used nearly all brown sugar in these cupcakes. Brown sugar + pineapple is exactly what I love about my Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, so the swap from white to brown sugar here was a no brainer. You’ll love how much flavor the brown sugar brings.

A couple things you’ll need that you may not already have: 100% pineapple juice and coconut milk. I use full-fat canned coconut milk in this recipe and highly suggest you do the same. This coconut milk (pictured above) is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. And it has a high oil content. It makes the cupcakes SO moist. The moistest cupcakes I’ve ever made.

*Coconut milk and coconut cream are not the same items. Coconut milk is 1 part water simmered down with 1 part coconut pulp. Coconut cream is 1 part water and 4 parts coconut pulp. Coconut cream is much thicker – I’ve never attempted this recipe with coconut cream. Stick to coconut milk. More information about coconut milk can be found in my recipe notes at the bottom.

Pina Colada Cupcakes - moist pineapple coconut cupcakes topped with coconut frosting. Tastes like your favorite tropical cocktail!

The frosting I use for these piña colada cupcakes starts with my ordinary vanilla frosting recipe. The same vanilla frosting I use to top my cakes, cupcakes, and even cookies. If you’re looking for a go-to vanilla frosting, this recipe is it.

To amp up the flavor, I add a touch of coconut extract. Coconut extract can be found in the baking aisle in your grocery store with the vanilla extract and spices. There’s no way around the coconut extract unless you want to compromise the coconut taste or texture of the frosting. If you can’t find coconut extract, simply use a little extra vanilla.

This coconut frosting is ultra thick and creamy, perfect for piping and slathering on top of the pineapple coconut cupcakes. So rich, velvety, and buttery.

Ultra Creamy Coconut Frosting - I love this frosting on chocolate, vanilla, or even pineapple cupcakes!

May I suggest topping a spoonful of this creamy coconut frosting with mini chocolate chips? Or slather it on my favorite homemade chocolate cupcakes. Go ahead, indulge.

These cupcakes are certainly sweet, just like typical piña colada cocktails. I always like to add a pinch of salt to my frosting to offset some of the sweetness. Works like a charm. If you want a lighter frosting, try a simple whipped cream flavored with a drop of coconut extract. Or here’s a tasty strawberry whipped cream recipe if you’re interested as well.

(Add a splash of rum if you’re feeling jazzy.)

Pina Colada Cupcakes - moist pineapple coconut cupcakes topped with coconut frosting. Tastes like your favorite tropical cocktail!

Since there’s no alcohol in these piña coladas, they’re the perfect tropical treat to share with little bakers. They can help decorating the frosting with coconut – oh gosh, please do this over the sink.  I ended up with coconut pieces all over my kitchen floor and Jude jumped at the opportunity to help clean. He didn’t get to any in time, don’t worry.

CHEERS!

(Blue straws used as decoration are from Sweets and Treats Boutique.)

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Piña Colada Cupcakes

Super-moist pineapple coconut cupcakes topped with creamy smooth coconut frosting. Decorate each cupcake with a sprinkle of coconut (toasted or not), a slice of pineapple, and a cherry on top. Have your piña colada and eat it too!

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes, plus cooling

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 2/3 cups (210g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, room temperature preferred
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) pineapple juice*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) full fat coconut milk*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Coconut Frosting

  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream or half-and-half*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Make the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in egg, pineapple juice, coconut milk, and vanilla extract until combined.

Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat the softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Turn mixer off and add confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla, and coconut extracts. Mix on low for 1 minute then increase to high speed and beat for 3-4 full minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if frosting is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (I usually add 1/4 teaspoon). Frost cooled cupcakes. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake. I used a Wilton #12 piping tip. Decorate cupcakes with coconut, pineapple slices, and/or a cherry.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 4.

*Use 100% pineapple juice (not syrup). You can freeze leftover pineapple juice and thaw overnight in the refrigerator to make another batch!

*Note on coconut milk: I used 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk. I suggest using full-fat if you can for the moistest, richest taste and texture. The brand I used is pictured above in this post and was purchased at my regular grocery store in the international foods aisle. Do not use coconut cream or cream of coconut. You can always freeze leftover coconut milk and thaw overnight in the refrigerator to make another batch.

*Feel free to use coconut milk in the frosting instead of the heavy cream/half-and-half. I do not suggest using milk because you will lose a lot of its creamy texture.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

 

Try my Pineapple Upside Down Cake next!

My absolute favorite Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe! Super-moist and loaded with flavor.

 

 

 

   

106 Responses to “Pina Colada Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    61
    Joannaposted June 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

    This recipe was DELICIOUS! Huge hit at a party I had. Everyone loved them!

    Reply

  2. #
    62
    Cheleneposted June 30, 2014 at 8:17 am

    These are so cute! I made these tonight and absolutely loved the frosting–it had a real coconut flavor, but I thought the actual cake part need something more. Do you think substituting 1 tsp vanilla for coconut flavoring would work?
    I love your blog by the way and have your cookbook :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on June 30th, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Hey Chelene! Yes, that would be just fine in the cupcake batter. Glad you have my cookbook and enjoy my blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes you’ve made!

      Reply

  3. #
    63
    Andrea Larsonposted July 13, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Made these for a luau party last night and they were so dense and delicious! The coconut milk and coconut extract took these to the next level! Thanks!

    Reply

  4. #
    64
    Carlineposted July 13, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    oh my goodness, these are to die for! I made them this Saturday morning, and here it in Sunday evening, and they are all gone! Everybody LOVED them! Have you ever tried a pineapple upside down cupcake recipe?!

    Reply

  5. #
    65
    Neetuposted July 29, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Sally! What an awesome site, I’m sooo glad that I stumbled upon it! Will definitely be trying out these cupocakes, if possible tonite itsellf! Just so in love with them! I have already liked u on facebook, do chk out my website and my facebook page and like them, am sure u’ll find sumthing u enjoy!

    Neets!

    Reply

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