Just 2 days ago, it was sunny and 60 degrees outside. Today? It has been raining/hailing with a possible forecast of snow tomorrow... in April. Welcome to OH weather. I've been waiting anxiously for the sun to peek out, and to bust out my short-sleeved shirts and shorts. In an effort to move along to warmer weather, I decided to try a recipe for Pina Colada cupcakes. This recipe results in a golden crust and a light, springy texture in the cake- this texture is reminiscent of angel food cake, packed with tropical flavors... and when you pair it with the Pineapple Buttercream frosting, it really "tops" it off (lol). What calls out summer more than an ice cold frosty Pina Colada-- in an eatable and fun dessert form.
Pina Colada Cupcakes
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
14-oz sweetened, shredded coconut
Pineapple Buttercream Frosting
2/3 cup fresh pineapple chunks or 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1-3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Shredded sweetened coconut (toasted is fine too)
Maraschino cherries, drained and dried
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line muffin pan with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix just until combined. Fold in 7-oz of coconut.
5. Fill each muffin liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25-35 minutes (mine only took 28 minutes), until tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
Pineapple Buttercream Frosting
1. When cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the frosting.
a) If you are using fresh pineapple, puree the pineapple chunks in a food processor or blender until smooth.
b) If you are using canned crushed pineapple, you can move to step #2.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and fluffy, approx. 4 minutes.
3. On low speed, mix in powdered sugar until well combined.
4. Add pineapple puree to achieve desired pineapple flavor (approx. 1/2 cup). (Tip: Try to drain out most of the juice, as it'll make your frosting runny. If frosting is too runny, refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow it to set up a bit.)
5. Frost cupcakes with pineapple frosting, roll the tops in the remaining shredded coconut. Top each with a cherry and serve with cut straws for a fun presentation!
(Take regular straws and cut into thirds.)
* Make sure to put enough frosting on top- this will ensure the cherry stays put (and not falling off your cupcake and rolling around...)
Yield- 22 cupcakes
Additional ideas to garnish the cupcakes:
- Wedges of fresh cut pineapple
- Sprinkling of crushed macadamia nuts and/or crushed almonds
- Top with cocktail umbrella
- Wooden toothpick with bite-sized pineapple and cherry
Note: Just my personal note that I am in LOVE with my Williams-Sonoma Gold Touch Muffin Pan. It bakes and browns so evenly, and releases effortlessly. I normally wouldn't have used liners, but since I'm making these cupcakes for a Bake Sale at work, I decided to use them. Clean up is a breeze too.
To toast shredded coconut: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lay coconut in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and put it in the oven for ~20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Keep a close eye, as it can burn easily!
Source: Cupcakes- Ina Garten, Frosting- Beantown Baker, Decorating idea- Good Things Catered