These Pina Colada Cupcakes are a super moist cupcake bursting with coconut and pineapple flavors. They are topped with a slice of fresh pineapple and the perfect, fluffy homemade frosting. Sit back and relax with this cocktail-inspired treat that’s great for any age!
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Pina Colada Pineapple Cupcakes
Pina Colada cupcakes are a unique, fun cupcake recipe that’s great for summer! They are just as light and refreshing as the tropical drink, only they are totally kid friendly and can be enjoyed by all ages. The combination of coconut and pineapple is an unbeatable dessert pairing, that just screams summertime and sunshine.
Whether you make this easy cupcake recipe for a summer birthday, a dessert dish to pass at a barbecue, or as a treat to have around the house, they are sure to be a huge hit.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Delicious unique cupcake recipe
- Ready in less than an hour
- Super moist and fluffy cupcake
- Simple homemade frosting recipe
- Classic pineapple and coconut combination
- Perfect dessert for a summer gathering
- Easy to make with a box cake mix
- Pina colada flavored dessert
- 1 box white cake mix
- Canned coconut milk
- Vegetable oil
- Coconut extract
- Pineapple tidbits
- Salted butter,
- Light brown sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Pineapple juice
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How to Make Pina Colada Cupcakes
These delicious and unique cupcakes couldn’t be easier or quicker to make. While the cupcakes are baking you can prepare the frosting. Decorating is the last step before you enjoy your Pina Colada Cupcakes!
Whisk together dry cake mix, coconut milk, oil, eggs, and coconut extract. Stir in the pineapple bits (make sure they are drained really well, but keep the juice for the frosting!)
PRO-TIP: The batter will be thicker than your typical cake batter.
Pour batter into cupcake tins and bake for 18-21 minutes and let cupcakes cool completely.
PRO-TIP: You will want to fill the cupcake tins until about 2/3 full.
To make the frosting, blend butter and brown sugar until creamy and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and pineapple juice, alternating between the two. Pour in the coconut extract and mix well.
Pro-tip: When making the frosting, I like to start by adding about 1 and ⅓ cup of sugar and mix using a mixer on the lowest setting, gradually working up to the highest. Once it has been whipped together, I add 1 Tablespoon of pineapple juice and mix it again. I continue to do this back and forth, until I have added the last of the sugar. If the frosting is too thick you can add pineapple juice, 1 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
To decorate your cupcakes, top them with a pineapple ring, and frost with a piping bag.
Pro-tip: When frosting my cupcakes I fill a piping bag or ziploc bag with frosting to make things easier and make the overall appearance more attractive. I used a Wilton 1M piping tip for mine, but you can use any large piping tip for the frosting.
Sprinkle with shredded coconut and a cherry on the top.
Variations / Options / Add-ins
- BOX CAKE MIX: Any brand will work fine.
- COCONUT MILK: I used Thai Kitchen canned coconut milk which can be found in the international foods area of the supermarket. Any coconut milk will work but full fat milk makes for a tastier cupcake and keeps the pineapple from sinking to the bottom.
- VEGETABLE OIL: You can use coconut, canola or even avocado oil as a substitute and it won’t change the cupcake.
- PINEAPPLE TIDBITS: You can use crushed pineapple in place of tidbits but I like the bigger bite of pineapple.
- SALTED BUTTER: If you do not use salted butter, add in ½ teaspoon salt to your frosting to help counteract some of the sweetness.
- LIGHT BROWN SUGAR: You can use additional powdered sugar instead but I like the flavor that the brown sugar gives this recipe. It can leave the frosting with the slightest grainy texture so if you don’t like that, just use powdered sugar. If you beat the frosting for the instructed amount of time, you should not notice any graininess in your cupcakes.
- PINEAPPLE JUICE: I used canned pineapple tidbits and kept the juice when I drained it. That juice was what I used for the frosting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once frosted you can store your cupcakes at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is best to store them covered. The frosting alone can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to a week, and in the freezer for up to 1 month. The cupcakes, unfrosted, freeze well for up to 3 months. Be sure, when freezing, to wrap them individually and place them in an airtight container to avoid them drying out.
Most cake mix boxes say to bake the top is golden brown and that is a good rule of thumb. However, depending on the oven, that may slightly overbake the cupcakes and dry them out. Another great method is to use a toothpick to see if they are finished. If the toothpick comes out mostly clean, with just a few crumbs, the cupcakes are usually done. My favorite method of checking cupcakes is to just tap the top with my finger. The cupcake should give just a slight resistance to the tap and bounce back quickly. If there is no resistance or if the cupcake indents and doesn’t bounce back, it is not finished baking.
Yes, the drink does include rum! But to make this age-friendly, we omitted that ingredient. If you are having a more adult party and would like to include rum or even just the flavor of it, there are a few easy ways to do so. The first is to include a teaspoon of rum extract in either the cupcake or the frosting or both. You can add it or use it in place of the coconut extract in either one. The second is to pour ½ Tablespoon of rum on top of each cupcake base while it is still warm. The rum will soak into the cake, keeping it moist and adding flavor to the cupcake.
More Easy Cupcake Recipes
Homemade Hostess Cupcakes | Firecracker Cupcakes | Boston Cream Cupcakes | Carrot Cake Cupcakes | Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes | Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes | S’mores Cupcakes
Pina Colada Cupcakes
- 15.25 ounces white cake mix
- 1 cup canned coconut milk well mixed
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 3 whole large eggs
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- 1 cup pineapple tidbits drained (keep juice for the frosting)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter softened
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 4 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
- 3-4 tbsp pineapple juice
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- Optional garnishes: Sweetened shredded coconut, pineapple rings and maraschino cherries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 24 cupcake tins with liners or by well greasing them.
- Prepare the cake mix by whisking together the dry cake mix, coconut milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and coconut extract until well combined. The batter should be slightly thicker than a normal cake batter when you finish mixing.
- After the batter is prepared, stir in the pineapple tidbits (be sure it is well drained but reserve the juice for the frosting).
- Fill the prepared cupcake tins with batter, until each liner is ⅔ full. Bake the cupcakes for 18-21 minutes or until a tester comes out clean and the top bounces back when you touch it. Let the cupcakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
- In a large stand mixer with the whisk attachment, blend the butter and brown sugar on high until creamy and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Colder, firmer butter will take longer. The end result should look like a light, whipped butter.
- Blend in the powdered sugar alternately with the pineapple juice. I like to add about 1 and ⅓ cup of sugar and mix it in, starting on the lowest setting and gradually working up to the highest. Once it has been whipped together, add 1 Tablespoon of pineapple juice and mix it again. Do this back and forth, until I have added the last of the sugar. If the frosting is too thick you can add pineapple juice, 1 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Pour in the coconut extract before beating the frosting on high for an additional 5 minutes. It should be very light and fluffy with very little grainy texture.
- Fill a piping bag or ziploc bag with your frosting. I used a Wilton 1M piping tip for mine, but you can use any large piping tip for the frosting.
- To decorate, top the cupcakes with a pineapple ring, frosting, shredded coconut and a maraschino cherry (all optional).