These Pina Colada Cupcakes are absolutely AMAZING! Moist pineapple cupcakes with a sinful coconut buttercream and toasted coconut on top!
I LOVE pina coladas.
They are easily one of my favorite drinks, especially during the warmer months. I love to make a batch and chill by our apartment pool or enjoy on my balcony while reading a book.
Who doesn’t love the classic flavors of nutty coconut and sweet pineapple? It truly is a match made in culinary heaven!
In this uncertain time, I am relying a lot more on my favorite comforts to keep me happy, healthy and sane. Some are major things like staying home, but others are enjoying foods I love because it brings me joy. Cupcakes are a definite joy-bringer – how can you not smile when you see a beautiful swirl of icing on a petite little cake? It’s adorable and they always taste good. Win win!
These Pina Colada Cupcakes are all about joy, too! They are guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
What I love about these cupcakes is that they’re truly flavorful – there is big, bold pineapple and coconut flavors so you know EXACTLY what it is when you bite into it! I like my flavoring to be stronger, so these definitely have a prominent pineapple and coconut flavor!
You’ll start with the pineapple cupcakes, which starts with a box of yellow cake mix. You’re welcome to use your own homemade pineapple cake recipe, but I like the ease of a cake mix. It’s readily available, it’s easy to use, and it tastes great when doctored up with pineapple flavor. To do so, you’ll use pineapple juice instead of water and add in a can of crushed pineapple to really drive home that flavor. Likewise, if you see pineapple cake mix in the store, buy it! I love the pineapple-flavored cake mix the best, but some stores don’t carry it as much so if you can’t find it, use yellow.
Bake up the cupcakes and let them cool, and then you’ll make your coconut frosting! This frosting is a simple buttercream with a coconutty twist: I use cream of coconut in the actual frosting to make this extra creamy and flavorful. Note: cream of coconut is NOT coconut milk. They are two different products: coconut milk is runny, and cream of coconut is thick like a paste. You want cream of coconut which is often found on the drink mixers aisle since it is a popular drink mixer for things like pina coladas.
Lastly, you’ll swirl a huge mountain of coconut frosting over the pineapple cupcakes and garnish with toasted coconut, a cherry, and a wedge of fresh pineapple. I mean, how good do these look?!
Pina Colada Cupcakes
These Pina Colada Cupcakes are exceptionally moist and flavorful cupcakes that will take you to the tropics without leaving your kitchen!
- One box yellow OR pineapple cake mix
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 3 large eggs
- 8 ounces (One 8-ounce can) crushed pineapple drained
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup cream of coconut NOT coconut milk. Cream of coconut is often found on the alcoholic beverage aisle by the mixers.
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk (if needed – only use if frosting becomes too pasty)
- Fresh pineapple wedges, cherries, and toasted coconut for garnish
Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Line 2 muffin pans with about 18 paper liners. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cake mix, oil, pineapple juice, eggs, and crushed pineapple with a handheld electric mixer until combined and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, but not wet, crumbs. Cool completely.
To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter, cream of coconut, coconut and vanilla extracts together with the paddle attachment until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Mixture may look separated at first due to the oil in the cream of coconut; this is normal. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Only add in a little heavy cream if needed if frosting is too thick or pasty.
Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. If piping the frosting as high as the photos, I would double the frosting recipe. Garnish with toasted coconut, a maraschino cherry and a fresh pineapple wedge. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
NOTE: To toast coconut, simply add 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut to a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until coconut turns light brown and is fragrant, careful not to step away for too long as it cooks fast and can burn quickly. Allow to cool before garnishing.
These cupcakes scream spring and summer to me, and I know you’re going to enjoy every bite of them!
Love pineapple and coconut? Me too! Check out these recipes…
Have a super sweet day!