Pina Colada Cupcakes

Pina Colada’s are one of my favorite drinks. They’re just so festive. I can’t be in a bad mood when I drink a pina colada. Maybe that’s because the only time I drink them is when I’m on a vacation, usually on a beach. But that’s a minor detail…

I’ve made multiple versions of pina colada cupcakes in the past. The old recipe that I made first for Hubby’s mom’s birthday was a bit fussy with the egg whites getting beaten separately then folded in. Then for another one of her birthday’s, I made lime and coconut cupcakes. That recipe was much more user-friendly and just as (if not more) delicious than the first one.

So when I was asked to bake cupcakes for the bridal shower of my friend who loves coconut, I instantly thought of those lime and coconut cupcakes from a couple years ago. I decided to use the coconut cake recipe as a base and add some pineapple to make them pina colada cupcakes.

I used festive cupcake liners and topped each with a pineapple chunk and cherry. The toasted coconut on the outside added some great nuttiness and texture to the cupcake overall.

As expected, these were a huge hit. The groom-to-be got to taste a leftover cupcake and then requested I bring him one every week for the rest of his life. Now THAT’S a compliment!

One Year Ago: Lemon Cilantro Potato Salad
Two Years Ago: Black Bean and Butternut Squash Quesadillas
Three Years Ago: Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake

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Pina Colada Cupcakes

Yield: 24


For the Pina Colada Cupcakes
1 batch Coconut Cupcakes, recipe below
1 batch Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting and Filling, recipe below
Toasted coconut, optional
Pineapple chunks, optional
Maraschino cherries, optional

For the Coconut Cupcakes
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for pans
3 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup cream of coconut
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 whole eggs
3 egg whites

For the Coconut Frosting and Filling
8 oz cream cheese, not whipped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup chopped, drained, canned pineapple chunks
3 ounces unsweetened or sweetened flaked coconut


For the Pina Colada Cupcakes
Bake the cupcakes as directed and allow to cool completely.

Make frosting/filling while cupcakes are cooling.

Make any optional garnishes while cupcakes are cooling:
Toast coconut in an oven at 350 for a few minutes until they were emitting a nutty aroma.

Let pineapple chunks and cherries sit on a paper towel to release their juice. Stack on a toothpick to use as a garnish.

Use the cone method to remove a portion of the cupcake. Eat those cones as a snack. Or discard them. Fill the hole with the pineapple/coconut filling.

Pipe frosting on top of the cupcake and add a rim of toasted coconut (or sprinkle coconut over all of the frosting). Add garnishes. Colorful drink umbrellas would be great here too.

For the Coconut Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 325° and prepare two muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Whisk together cream of coconut, milk, and extracts in a bowl or measuring cup.

Beat together butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add whole eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until combined well.

On low speed, beat in flour mixture and cream of coconut mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until just combined (do not overbeat).

Pour batter evenly into the prepared muffin pans.

Bake cupcakes until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.

Transfer pans to racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool completely.

For the Coconut Frosting and Filling
Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Beat in butter until smooth.

Slowly beat in confectioners' sugar on low speed until smooth for frosting.

Transfer 2/3 cup of frosting to a bowl and fold in pineapple and coconut for filling.

Recipe adapted from these Lime and Coconut Cupcakes, originally from Ladies' Home Journal