Whether in a cocktail glass or in these Pina Colada Cupcakes, pineapple and coconut will forever be a classically delicious combination! Make these moist pineapple cupcakes topped with velvety coconut rum cream cheese for every occasion – or lack of one!
I am a huge Piña Colada fan.
When I turned 21, forever ago, I’m pretty sure it was probably the first drink I legally imbibed. It was either that, or one of those horrific malty Smirnoff Ice.
Oh, young me.
As much as I like them, I’ve really weaned myself off of them as I’ve grown older, switching to drinks that are a little less sweet and calorie-heavy. But I find myself making these alcohol-infused Piña Colada Cupcakes fairly often. For birthday parties. Housewarming parties. Baby Showers.
As a thank you gift for my landscaping guy.
On a rainy Tuesday, with Jimmy Buffet blaring away in the background.
You know. All those important days.
JUST TAKE ME TO THE PINA COLADA CUPCAKES ALREADY!
If you’d rather skip my (pretty darn helpful) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this deliciously easy pina colada cupcake recipe, just scroll right on down to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card!
This recipe was originally published on July 19, 2014. It was updated with a revised recipe and additional content on July 15, 2019.
I’ve never been to Hawaii, but it’s surely on my bucket list.
For those that have been, do they serve boozy, tropical cupcakes like this anywhere?
It can’t all be SPAM and Kalua Pork, right?
Pineapple cupcakes, if you’ve never had them, are a flavor revelation. Especially when you use fresh vs. canned fruit.
It makes the cupcakes dense, but in a good way. You could definitely just buy a box of pineapple cake mix to make these with, but why when you could use this recipe as an excuse to splurge on a fresh pineapple?
Also, let’s talk about this coconut rum cream cheese frosting.
As far as I’m concerned, it goes well with everything. It doesn’t need to be too sweet, since you want that hint of rum to pop on your tongue, and you don’t want to drown out the pineapple-y goodness.
What Is In A Pina Colada?
The name pina colada literally means “strained pineapple,” so that should give you a hint! There are many recipes for pina coladas, but all contain 3 standard ingredients:
- Pineapple juice
- Coconut cream (or cream of coconut)
These ingredients are blended up with crushed ice to make a frosty, refreshing tropical cocktail. It is then garnished with a fresh pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.
Even though the cocktails are made with coconut cream, this cupcake recipe uses canned coconut milk. The two ingredients are not the same thing, so they are not interchangeable. Coconut milk is made with a ratio of 1 part water to 1 part coconut pulp. Coconut cream is much thicker, with 1 part water to 4 parts coconut pulp.
Can I Make These Pina Colada Cupcakes Without Alcohol?
Of course! Pina Colada cupcakes can be made with or without rum.
If you’d like to make them without rum, simply replace it with an equal amount of coconut milk in the cupcakes and leave it out of the frosting recipe completely. If you’d still like the rum flavor without the alcohol, consider adding 1-2 teaspoons of rum extract to taste.
How To Make Pina Colada Cupcakes
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin tin or two with 16-ish cupcake liners, then set them off to the side.
Grab two mixing bowls. In one, sift together your dry ingredients. In the other, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add an egg, crushed pineapple (with juice), coconut milk, coconut rum (if you’re feeling boozy), and vanilla. Mix it all up until it’s well combined.
Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until there are no lumps – except for the pineapple bits, of course.
Portion the batter into the cupcake liners using a large cookie scoop, filling them about 2/3 of the way full. Place the tins in the oven, and immediately drop the temperature to 350 degrees F. This blast of heat helps the cupcakes with their initial rise, which is especially helpful since they are so dense.
Bake the cupcakes for about 18-20 minutes, until they are a pale golden brown, and no wet crumbs remain on a toothpick inserted in the center. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
How To Make Coconut Rum Cream Cheese Frosting
Place butter and cream cheese in a clean mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat them together for 2-3 minutes until they’re well combined and fluffy.
Next, mix in about 1 cup of (sifted!) powdered sugar. Add heavy cream (for fluffiness), coconut rum (or rum extract), and vanilla and coconut extracts (not too much – coconut extract is a strong concentrate!) and mix until well combined. Now taste it and figure out what you need to do to flavor it to your liking. Sometimes I add a bit more rum, sometimes a tiny bit more vanilla.
Add in another 1-2 cups of powdered sugar to taste:
- Prefer the cream cheese flavor over the sweetness? Opt for less sugar.
- Too sweet? Add a pinch of salt for balance.
- Still needs something? Want it a bit fluffier? Try adding another 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
For even more pineapple flavor, pipe a ring of frosting around the top of the cupcakes, then fill the cavity with crushed pineapple or tidbits. Continue piping frosting until it’s covered.
Finally, decorate the cupcakes with shredded coconut, pineapple slices, and maraschino cherries.
LOOKING FOR MORE PINA COLADA RECIPES?
- Pina Colada Tres Leches Cake
- Pina Colada Rum Cake
- Strawberry Pina Colada Popsicles
- Pina Colada Bundt Cake
- Strawberry Pina Colada Smoothies
- Pina Colada Chicken Skewers
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING CUPCAKES:
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Pina Colada Cupcakes with Coconut Rum Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 cup crushed pineapple undrained
- ¼ cup full fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup coconut rum
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Coconut Rum Cream Cheese
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons coconut rum optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- pinch of salt
- shredded or toasted coconut for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two standard sized muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt. Whisk in brown sugar and granulated sugar until combined.
- Whisk in egg, crushed pineapple, coconut milk, coconut rum, and vanilla extract into the sugar-butter mixture until well combined.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and use a rubber spatula to mix until smooth.
- Fill each liner approximately 2/3 of the way full. Place cupcakes in oven, then drop temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Coconut Rum Cream Cheese
- While cupcakes are cooling, with an electric or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and coconut extracts, coconut rum, and salt; mix until smooth.
- Continue adding powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you reach your desired sweetness. Mix on low for 1 minute, then increase speed to high and beat for 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy and smooth.
- Pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes. Garnish with shredded coconut, pineapple, cherries, or whatever you wish.
- OPTIONAL: If you'd like even more pineapple flavor, pipe a ring of frosting around the top of each cupcake, fill with crushed pineapple or tidbits, then cover with frosting and garnish.