Pina Colada Cupcakes.

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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.)

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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!

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) packed 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 juice1
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) full fat coconut milk2
  • 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-half3
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 confectioners' 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.
  5. Leftover cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 4.
  6. Make ahead tip: Prepare cupcakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and the frosting covered tightly in the refrigerator. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Use 100% pineapple juice (not syrup). You can freeze leftover pineapple juice and thaw overnight in the refrigerator to make another batch!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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© 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. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

See more cupcake ideas, like raspberry lemon, s’mores, strawberry, pumpkin, and peppermint mocha. Or try my Pineapple Upside Down Cake next!

Here is my favorite recipe for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake! sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

 

Pina Colada Cupcakes with Creamy Coconut Frosting-- one of my all-time favorites!

185 Comments

  1. This looks phenomenal sally, to be honest I’ve been checking your blog and my email EVERY single night to see whether there’s a new recipe bc i just cant like, one day without checking ur blog (sounds cheesy but its true) so i just want to let you know 😀 anyways, will there be any coffee cake recipe coming up or like a cake recipe??Bc I’m super excited for that and I’m also wondering whether you’ll come up with fried doughnuts or dough? Bc that’d be good! But ah your blog is always amazing so keep it up x

  2. I saw your teaser for these on instagram and couldn’t wait to see them! What a gorgeous and fun idea Sally! I love how you decorated this cupcakes – they would be totally perfect for a summer or tropical party! The creamy coconut frosting with chocolate chips sounds perfect! 🙂

    1. I love chocolate and coconut. 🙂 But chocolate didn’t really fit in with the whole pina colada ordeal – you gotta try this frosting on a chocolate cupcake. It’s so good, Chelsea!

  3. I’m obsessing about these cupcakes a little bit. They’re so colorful and tropical and I definitely want to be on a beach somewhere right now with a whole tray full of them. I love that you used coconut milk in these, and I think I would definitely have to add a splash of rum! Love how you decorated them with the little straws and everything. Too cute! So ready for summer now. 🙂

    1. If you add a splash of rum – do report back and let me know how you like it. Obviously it’s a good choice in my book. 😉

    1. Hope you love them Kate – and I’m so excited for the warm weather we’ll be getting soon on the east coast!

  4. Wow these look so goood.. I definitely am gonna try makin these, I wud hav made them just now but I dnt hav coconut milk n pineapple juice, maybe tomorrow 🙂

  5. You have me in such a tropical mood now, Sally! These cupcakes look amazing – I love the straws coming out of the icing! I’m so jealous of your trip to Mexcio! We went to Riviera Maya last year and absolutely loved it. Paradise!

    1. The straws were last minute – Kevin actually asked me what they were doing in cupcakes. Doesn’t he know anything about cupcake decor by now??! Thanks Cate!

  6. Ok, these look absolutely fantastic Sally! I mean my favorite drink combined with my favorite dessert perfection! These may just have to show up at a pool party this summer! These pictures are beautiful by the way, the colors are beautiful! 🙂

    1. Total pool party food – you’re absolutely right! Wish I was at a pool party right now, all I see outside is rain and clouds!

    1. Thanks Lindsay! I don’t think I could choose between these cupcakes and the actual drink! Why choose? Have both!

  7. That photo of the frosting! Drooling. These look amazing, Sally. I love your tropical changes to your no-fail cupcakes. So good. And how fun that you two are going to Mexico! I may just be the tiniest bit jealous! 🙂 Have a great Wednesday!

  8. I would love one of these to magically appear in front of me. Along with a real pina colada (or 3) and some white sandy beaches 🙂 These cupcakes totally put me in the mood for vacation!

    And yes to the disclaimer that coc milk and cream of coconut/coconut cream not being the same thing. And coc milk in a can and coc milk in a carton, also vastly different. So many coconuts 🙂

    pinned!

    1. I was going insane teaching myself about ALL the coconut milks and creams and etc etc etc. It never ends! But now I know – worlds different in taste and texture. Thanks for commenting on that Averie! And lord knows you deserve about a dozen pina coladas lol.

  9. Weddings in tropical destinations are always a win for everyone! And I totally agree with drinks needing a little umbrella. There’s always room for an umbrella and some fresh fruit garnish! Take me with you?? ;o)

    1. Haha I’d love to bring you along – sounds like you need some rest and relaxation after that surgery Lauren!

  10. These look amazing – I can pretty much taste them!! These cuties are right up my ally since I am obsessed with anything beachy. And since MN doesn’t have much to offer in that department, I can at least keep dreaming while biting into one of these. Mmmmm!

  11. We are very fortunate to live in the beautiful Florida Keys and these cupcakes will be prefect for my sons 7th birthday party next month!! We always have his party at the beach and I can’t wait to serve these cupcakes!!!!! I will probably serve them will little umbrellas as well 🙂

    1. A birthday party at the beach – what a lucky guy! I wanted to decorate these with umbrellas but I wasn’t about to head to the store just for them. Hope everyone enjoys them, Amanda!

  12. I’ve been wanting to post a pina colada cupcake forever – it’s one of those things on that never ending list of things I want to post :). Yours look perfect!

  13. How much batter do you put in the liner? Yours rise up just to the edge so nicely. Mine always come up and over!

  14. These are such beautiful, summery cupcakes! I am in love with coconut/pineapple combinations…there was actually a Lindt white-chocolate bar last summer that was AMAZING. Like a vacation! I am sure these cupcakes are just the same. How exciting that you are coming to Colorado! I hope you have a great time…May should be beautiful! Still possibly a little cold at times (especially in the mountains), but hopefully there will be lots of gorgeous flowers 🙂

  15. Sally, you’re just too cute & creative with these cupcakes!! Your adorable fruity and straw decorations are the perfect touch. Not only are you an incredibly talented baker, you make everything look gorgeous too! 🙂 Have a wonderful time in Mexico!! With all of the rain and snow you’ve had this past winter — and your apartment crisis too, my goodness! — you definitely deserve a warm and sunny relaxing vacation!

    1. Thanks so much Amy – I can’t wait to get away! And I took a few photos of these cupcakes plain without the fruit and straws on top and they just didn’t “pop” on camera. I knew they needed some accessorizing. Ha! Thanks so much.

  16. If I close my eyes and pretend to be eating these AND at the beach, I’d say I’m in heaven. They look seriously delicious, and they’re ADORABLE. You’re going to love Riviera Maya, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen!

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