These Piña Colada Cupcakes are a yummy tropical treat perfect for the summertime! It features a moist Pina Colada flavoured cupcake, that’s filled with a pineapple sauce, frosted with a piña colada buttercream, dipped in toasted coconut and decorated with cherries, pineapples, umbrellas and cute little straws to resemble a Pina Colada!
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*This recipe was originally posted on July 10, 2018 and was updated on July 10, 2020 with a new recipe, photos and helpful tips*
Oh my God, this heat wave is getting out of hand. It’s gotten so bad that I actually have to carry a spray bottle around and give myself a good ole spritz every now and then to keep from over-heating. The worst thing about this heatwave, however, is that there’s not a single beach anywhere near me.
So since I can’t go to the beach, I’ve decided to bring the beach to me! And with today being National Pina Colada Day, I couldn’t think of a better summer treat than these Pina Colada Cupcakes!
When I think of Pina Colada’s, I think of laying on a tropical beach with the sun shining in your face and the wind blowing through your hair while you watch the waves of the ocean. These cupcakes will have you fantasizing that perfect setting!
3 Parts to These Cupcakes
The main goal I had for these cupcakes was to make them taste exactly like piña coladas, and the 3 main flavours in a piña colada are: coconut, pineapple and rum. I had to make sure these flavours were available all throughout so you get a burst of tropical flavour in every bite!
- Piña Colada Cupcake: upgraded recipe! Last time my piña colada cupcakes were adapted from my vanilla cupcake recipe. This new recipe has been adapted from my strawberry cupcake recipe!
- Pineapple Sauce Filling: we’ll be filling these cupcakes with an easy 4-ingredient pineapple sauce. This gives the cupcakes an extra burst of flavour when you bite into them!
- Piña Colada Buttercream Frosting: This recipe was also modified a bit to make it more stable. Just like the cupcakes, it tastes just like a sweet piña colada!
New & Improved Piña Colada Cupcakes
I LOVE this new piña colada cupcake recipe! Not only is it just as moist and fluffy as the old one, but it’s butter-based which gives it a nice and sturdy structure.
To make the cupcakes, start by creaming the butter and the sugar together for 5 minutes. Yes 5 minutes! You want the butter/sugar to be pale in colour and doubled in volume. This is key to giving us nice fluffy cupcakes!
To give the cupcakes their moist and soft texture, add a bit of sour cream and vegetable oil. Next, mix in the egg whites one at a time. The egg whites also help produce the fluffiest cupcakes! Now time for the flavour! Add coconut extract, rum (or rum extract), coconut milk and pineapple juice (from canned pineapples) to a liquid measuring cup.
Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl, then alternate between mixing in the dry and liquid ingredients into the batter. To do this we start with ⅓ of the dry mixture and mix that until just combined. While the mixer is running, pour in half of the piña colada flavoured liquid. Repeat with ½ of the remaining dry, remaining liquid, then the last bit of dry.
This mixing method helps keep our batter smooth to avoid over mixing or the batter separating.
While the cupcakes are in the oven, prepare the pineapple filling. This is an extremely easy recipe to make, just like every other fruit sauce recipe of mine! This recipe uses 4-ingredients: sugar, cornstarch, crushed pineapples and water.
Before starting, remove 6 tablespoons of pineapple juice from the canned pineapples and set it aside. You’ll be using this juice in the cupcakes and frosting, which is why you should start by making the filling first.
Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan, stir, then let it boil for a few minutes. That’s all! This sauce practically makes itself! If you don’t want the chunks of pineapple and would prefer more of a puréed sauce, blend it in a blender or food processor. Let the filling chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight.
Once you’re ready to assemble your cupcakes, core the centre with an apple corer, then use a small spoon to add the filling. Save the pieces of the cupcakes that you cored out so you could use the top parts to cover the filling. This is important because we’ll be dipping the cupcakes in toasted coconut, and you don’t want the filling to spill out (yet!).
Piña Colada Buttercream Frosting
All of the best flavours of a piña colada in a sweet and fluffy frosting! This recipe starts like any normal buttercream, butter, a pinch of salt and powdered sugar beat together.
From there we add the piña colada flavour! Coconut milk, pineapple juice, rum and coconut extract. The frosting will get pretty soft at this point, so slowly mix in the remaining ½ of the powdered sugar until the frosting thickens up.
How to Decorate These Cupcakes
This cupcake has a pretty intricate design, so let me break it down for you!
The piping tip I used was the large round Wilton 2A tip. Start by piping a rim of frosting around the top of the cupcake. Carefully dip the sides of the frosting into some toasted coconut.
Now back to the frosting. Pipe a swirl of frosting into the centre of the cupcakes, make sure the toasted coconut is still visible around the sides. To make these look more like a piña colada, we top the swirls with maraschino cherries. Then we stick in a pineapple wedge, and a cocktail umbrella because no piña colada is complete without one! I also added some paper straws so these can really look like a piña colada drink!
How adorable are these cupcakes? They are the perfect homage to the classic summer drink. It’s a great treat to bring to any barbecues or parties you go to this summer. Your friends and family will surely be blown away when they see and taste this creative dessert!
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Let’s get baking!
Homemade Pineapple Filling:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 10 oz crushed pineapple (juice included)
- ⅓ cup water
Pina Colada Cupcakes:
- 1 and ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp sour cream, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 and ½ teaspoons Coconut Extract
- 1 Tbsp rum (or 1 tsp rum extract)
- ½ cup coconut milk, room temperature
- ¼ cup pineapple juice (from canned pineapples)
Pina Colada Buttercream:
- 1 and ½ cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 Tbsp canned coconut milk (shake well before opening)*
- 2 Tbsp pineapple juice
- 1 Tbsp rum (or 1 tsp rum extract)
- 1 tsp pure coconut extract
- Toasted Coconut
- Maraschino Cherries with Stems
- Quartered Pineapples
For the Homemade Pineapple Filling:
- Remove 6 tablespoons of pineapple juice from your can of crushed pineapples. Make sure there’s no chunks in the juice. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, remaining crushed pineapples, and water. Heat over medium heat until mixture begins to boil.
- Once mixture begins to boil, continue to cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened, 6-8 minutes. Mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Allow to boil for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely at room temperature. Transfer to an airtight jar and chill completely in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight.
For the Pina Colada Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350° F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Line a second tin with 4 liners, this recipe makes about 16 cupcakes.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add sour cream and oil and mix on medium until combined and smooth.
- Lower the speed to medium-low and mix in the egg whites, one at a time until just combined.
- Add coconut extract, ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of reserved pineapple juice and rum to coconut milk. Set aside.
- Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to batter and beat on low just until combined, then add ½ of the coconut/pineapple juice mixture and mix until just combined.
- Continue mixing in ½ of the remaining dry ingredients, remaining coconut liquid, then remaining dry ingredients. Remember to mix each addition until just combined before adding the next.
- Scoop batter into cupcake liners, filling them ⅔ way full. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool in pans for about 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
For the Pina Colada Buttercream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Turn the mixer to low, and gradually add half of the sugar one cup at a time. Once incorporated, add coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice, coconut and rum extract and beat until combined.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix on low until combined.
- Once the sugar is combined, increase mixer speed to high and whip until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
- Core the centre of each cupcake using the bottom of a large piping tip, or an apple corer. Save the cut out pieces.
- Using a spoon or piping bag, fill the cupcakes with the pineapple filling.
- Cut the tips off of the cut out pieces and use it to cover the hole to keep the filling from spilling.
- Fit a piping bag with a large round tip and fill with the pina colada frosting.
- Pipe a rim of frosting around the cupcakes.
- Roll the sides in the toasted coconut. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of the cupcake.
- Garnish with a maraschino cherry, pineapple quarters, a cocktail umbrella and a paper straw, if desired. Enjoy!
- Make Ahead: (1) Pineapple Filling can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator. (2) Pina Colada Cupcakes can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (3) Frosting can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and re-whip before using.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 597Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 189mgCarbohydrates: 82gFiber: 1gSugar: 75gProtein: 2g
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