Piña Colada Cupcakes

I spent most of last weekend baking, frosting and decorating 150 cupcakes for my cousin’s wedding. It seem like a daunting task, especially after just returning from vacation and having 3 days to get it all done, but everything came together nicely (big thanks to my hubby)! I shared a picture of her “cupcake-cake” on Facebook and couldn’t believe what a sweet and wonderful response I got! Thanks guys 🙂 So why am I mentioning this? Well, I thought I had sworn off cupcakes for at least a month or two. I don’t bake them very often anyway, but that all seemed to changed when Stephen requested these piña colada cupcakes.

Piña Colada Cupcakes

I’ve said this a few times before, Stephen doesn’t make very many requests. When he does it’s usually brownies, chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies. Oh, and ice cream… lot’s of ice cream (I’ll have to post those recipes later)! So when he asked me to make him piña colada cupcakes I was a little surprised. We started brainstorming what the “perfect cupcake” would be. No chunks of coconut or pineapple, just lots of flavor. Maybe filled,  maybe not. Topped with a thick, soft frosting and sprinkled with just a touch of coconut. And of course, a maraschino cherry for the top.

Piña Colada Cupcakes

I quickly got to work on the cupcake base. My first attempt was good, but not great. The cake was too light and didn’t have enough flavor. Honestly it would have made a great vanilla cupcake, but that wasn’t what we were going for. We ate a few and then decided that perhaps a version of the infamous yellow cupcake would be the best route to go. I found a recipe in my absolute favorite cookbook, the America’s Test Kitchen (Cook’s Illustrated) The New Best Recipe. We tore it to pieces. Substitutions everywhere, but you know what, it turned out great!!! For the base we swapped some of the granulated sugar for brown sugar. Not only did that help make these cupcakes extra moist, but it added a whole new level of flavor to them. We also ditched the sour cream and used a combination of pineapple juice and coconut milk. This is what made these piña colada cupcakes. A little extra coconut extract helped too 🙂

After we baked them I cored them and filled them with a pineapple filling. Crushed pineapple, sugar and cornstarch is all you need to make this quick and easy “curd.” Once it’s cool, just spoon it into the wells and level the filling with the tops of the cupcakes. Finally, we whipped up a tropical version of my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe. We tossed in some crushed pineapple and added a drop or two of coconut extract. It was perfect! As a finishing touch, I added a pinch of coconut and a cherry on top.

Piña Colada Cupcakes

We fell in love with these cupcakes from the first bite. They were bursting with incredible flavor and were super moist and tender. And that frosting, well, it’s to die for! These piña colada cupcakes are quite possible one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had… and that’s saying a lot! I hope you’ll give these summery little cakes a try, I think you’re going to love them!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Piña Colada Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sweet piña colada cupcakes filled with pineapple and topped with a light and fluffy pineapple coconut cream cheese frosting. There's a little bit of summer in each bite!
Yield: 12 cupcakes
  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • ⅓ c. pineapple juice (use juice from filling)
  • ⅓ c. coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp. coconut extract
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt

  • Pineapple Filling:
  • 1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

  • Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz. (1 block) original cream cheese, room temperature for 30 minutes
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. coconut extract
  • ¼ c. crushed pineapple, drained well

  • ½ c. coconut flakes for garnish (optional)
  • Cherries, fresh or from the jar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin or cupcake pan with liners; set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter for 1 minute on HIGH. Allow the butter to cool for 5 minutes, then add in the egg and yolk, sugars, pineapple juice, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. Whisk until the mixture is combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisk together. Gradually combine the wet and dry ingredients (I like to pour the dry into the wet), and mix just until combined.
  4. Using a large cookie or ice cream scoop, fill each of the liners ¾ full (this will end up being about 3½ tbsp. or a scant ¼ c.).
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden in color. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. To prepare the cream cheese frosting, using the paddle attachment cream the butter, vanilla extract, coconut extract and salt for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. With mixing speed on low gradually add the powdered sugar, beat until it forms a fondant-looking ball. Add the cream cheese and pineapple and mix on the lowest speed possible for 1½ minutes, then STOP! Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes or until cupcakes have completely cooled.
  7. To assemble, core the cupcakes (using a tool or a knife) to create a well to place the filling in. Scoop the filling, packing it in, and level it with the top of the cupcake. Spread the frosting over top and garnish with coconut, a cherry or a slice of pineapple.
-I used canned pineapple for this recipe for ease, I prefer using Dole products.
-These cupcakes are best stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Recipe source: Life Made Simple