Piña Colada Cupcakes | Cupcake Project

Piña Colada Cupcakes

Piña Colada Cupcakes

Groom 4.0 (read the back story for more details) has selected these Piña Colada cupcakes as his pick for one of their wedding cupcake flavors (he gets one and Bride 4.0 gets one).  “Is there anything you would change about these Piña Colada cupcakes?” I asked him after he’d finished it.  “I just want there to be lots more of them,” he replied with a grin.  His wish will be granted because there will be over 100 Piña Colada cupcakes at his wedding!

As my friend Andrew (of Church of Burger/Pizza fame) notes, these cupcakes aren’t just moist, the inside is almost wet due to the juicy pineapple bites scattered throughout the cake.  These Piña Colada cupcakes are so close to the real deal that Andrew pointed out that the Piña Colada cupcakes would be the perfect cupcake to eat poolside in Las Vegas.

Piña Colada Cupcakes and Las Vegas

After Andrew mentioned Vegas, I had to wonder which hotel in Vegas would be most suited for Couple 4.0’s cupcake eating.  Since they will be honeymooning in Italy, the choice was clear…

Photo from About.com


…the Venetian.  Sure, Venice has absolutely NOTHING to do with Piña Coladas – but that’s no stranger than the fact that Groom 4.0 doesn’t like rum and he loves these cupcakes.  Let’s just go with it and move on.

Piña Colada Cupcake Recipe

Piña Colada Cupcakes

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Piña Colada Cupcakes


    Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup coconut rum (or any rum you have on hand)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded baker's coconut (check out my post on how to make homemade baker's coconut)
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting*
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream


    Cupcake Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Alternately add the flour mixture and the rum mixture, beating well after each addition.
  6. Fold in the coconut and pineapple.
  7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  8. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
  9. Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions
  10. Mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
  11. Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  12. Mix in coconut cream.
  13. Pipe or spread on cupcakes.


*Double this recipe if you like lots of frosting.

Alternative frosting: While I believe coconut cream cheese frosting to be the ideal frosting choice for Piña Colada cupcakes, I also made a batch of these cupcakes with the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting that I used on the chocolate coconut rum cupcakes. Tasters seemed to like both frostings equally.

Topping: Bride 4.0 said that she wanted the wedding cupcakes to have red, so I topped the Piña Colada cupcakes with shredded baker's coconut mixed with a little red food coloring.



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73 Responses to Piña Colada Cupcakes

  1. Ivy February 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Gorgeous as always!
    Hey you! LOOOOOOVE the new look! When are you opening up your shop?
    I will move to St. Louis and work for you. :)
    Love you lots!

  2. Kathleen February 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    I sooooo can’t wait to try these!

  3. Becky February 21, 2011 at 4:49 am #

    These cupcakes sound so good, rummy with lots of coconut flavor with the pineapple. A perfect pina colada!
    Spring is on the way, right?

  4. julie @ rosy + tart February 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Holy crap. These bad boys sound and looks AMAZING. I’ll definitely be trying these. They look SO GOOD!

  5. LBL February 22, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    If you wanted them to be not quite so wet, what would be a safe reduction? Less pineapple chunks at the end, or less liquids in the coconut rum/juice/vanilla mixture?

  6. kathryn besser February 22, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Stef, I grew up with piña colada cakes being served at family events (graduations, baby showers, etc.). Our neighbor was a baker and she made hers with real (dry) piña colada mix and a cream cheese frosting… so good! I am looking forward to trying your recipe. Never really baked before but just started volunteering for the coolest charity – cake4kids.org. We make birthday cakes for kids in foster care or alternative living situations. You are my ‘go to’ girl for frosting recipes now! kathy

  7. Cole Murphy February 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    this looks so good ive never had a pina colada cupcake but want to try this recipe !

  8. Stef February 24, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    LBL – You could lose the pineapple chunks, but you’d miss them. They really enhance the cupcake.

    Kathryn – Glad you like the frosting recipes! Thanks!

  9. Dena March 27, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Can I make them without the rum? Making for a kids party. If I take the rum out what should I replace it with?

  10. Stef March 27, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    Dena – The rum bakes out. It’s fine for kids.

  11. Anonymous April 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Awesome, but is there any way I can subtitute the rum? or take it out?? Im 13 and me and my sister love piña colada(w/out alcohal) so this would be fun to make! thanks :)

  12. Stef April 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Anon – You could use more pineapple juice instead of the rum. I think that will work fine. However, the rum does bake out of the cupcakes so it’s different than drinking the rum. You can’t get drunk from these.

  13. Kristin April 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    I had so much fun making your Pina Colada cupcakes. 1 night I made the cupcakes then the next night I iced them. My teammates at school loved the cupcakes – they could taste the coconut and pineapple!!! I made the icing but it was not thick like your chocolate cream cheese frosting. I tried adding more powder sugar to make it thicker, but it really did not work. I like to pipe my icing on. What can i do different with this icing to make it thicker???

  14. Stef April 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Kristen – My only suggestion would be to use more powdered sugar, since you already tried that, I’m not sure what to suggest. Maybe just make the vanilla bean buttercream instead. It goes really well with this cupcake.

  15. Anonymous April 27, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    Will this recipes make a 1/4 sheet cake?

  16. Stef April 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Anon – I think so.. but, I really never make cakes (only cupcakes) so I can’t say for sure.

  17. Bee Bee May 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    I just made a batch but the batter turned out too runny and the cupcakes are all soft and wobbly :( The cupcakes tasted pretty good though!

    Is it okay to add more flour to my batter or would that make the cupcakes taste bland?

  18. Stef May 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Bee Bee – Sorry that happened to you. Yes, you can certainly try adding more flour. It shouldn’t be a problem.

  19. Cooking Etcetera July 9, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Hi Stef, beautiful looking cupcakes. Oh, I’m so going to try baking these again with homemade dessicated coconut from your site 😀

  20. Jessica Kirkpatrick July 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    I had a similar problem to other people that the batter was too runny, and I ended up with cupcakes with a weird texture. I decided to add more flour and baking soda between my first and second batch… I think I basically doubled the amount of flour and baking soda… the second batch was much fluffier and more cupcake textured. Although perhaps these are supposed to be more the texture of a rum cake versus a cupcake? Anyway, thanks for the idea.

  21. Anonymous August 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Yum.. I have to make these!

  22. Laura September 3, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    Mine have just come out of the oven and they smell and look heavenly, my partner insisted I swapped the rum for rum flavouring even though I explained the rum would cook out as little ones will be eating them.

    I did think the mixture looked a little wet but I left mine in 5 minutes longer as they seemed a little undercooked and they turned out lovely.

    I’m turning these into Spongebob swirl cupcakes for my partners daughters 14th as they have a lovely tropical theme.

    This is my first time cooking one of your recipes and I’m certain I’ll be trying them again!

  23. Michelle October 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    These were absolutely the hit of the baby shower. Consistency was perfect and to achieve all I did was drain the juice from the canned pineapple. I will make these over and over again. Thanks so much and now looking forward to making your Rice Krispie Treat Cupcakes for my 6 year old birthday.

  24. Healthe Trim October 13, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    Butter cream would plend better with the pineapple. I think cream cheese would be a clash of flavors.

  25. Rodney November 24, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    These were one of my all-time favorites of your recipes, next to the Tiramisu cupcakes, which will always be my absolute favorite! I drained most of the juice from the pineapple and they turned out perfect…only needed to bake them for 20 minutes. I also added a very small amount of coconut rum to the frosting-YUM!! Thanks for the recipe, Stef!! You never cease to amaze me with your brilliance

  26. Anonymous November 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    i didnt feel the taste neither the coconut milk nor the pineapple all wt i can taste is the flour these cupcakes dissappointed me alot as i thought that it will be the most delicious bt the contrary:( is there any suggestion cud u tell me exactly the flour mass in grams instead of cups

  27. Connie January 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I made this recipe yesterday. I was feeling lazy so I baked it in a 9 x 13″ pan. Also, I substituted gluten free flours and used coconut oil instead of butter making it a GLUTEN FREE/DAIRY FREE Pina Colada cake! I left part of the cake unfrosted and the rest frosted with your cream cheese frosting, and sprinkled top with shredded coconut and lime zest! YUMMMMMERS! I will be making this again!!!

  28. Kiefer2 February 14, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Good God, these are the best cupcakes I have ever had (others have said the same when I have baked them). True story-there’s only 2 of us, so I figured 18 cupcakes was too much for us. I baked the recipe into a cake and we each had a piece. After I cam home from work the next night there was a little over half left- I sat down and devoured the whole thing.

  29. Anonymous February 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    I was wondering if there was anything that could be substituted for the rum. I don’t drink and have never used alcohol in my cupcakes I just wouldn’t feel right putting it in.

  30. jenniferlucie February 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I always put fruit juice in my Christmas cakes, rather than brandy, so maybe just increase the amount of pineapple juice? I don’t know for certain this would work but I don’t see why it wouldn’t. I must try this recipe sometime, it really looks amazing (I just struggle with recipes using cups as I’m from the UK where we always weigh things!).

  31. Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 4:09 am #

    Awesome cupcake! I drained the juice from the pineapple, and it seemed to make it not as runny. I didn’t have any rum in the house either, so I just used a little extra juice and rather than coconut milk, I used some stuff called coco real. It made the BEST cupcakes ever and I haven’t even iced them yet! Great job on this recipe!

  32. Leigh Ann May 2, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    I guess I should have drained the pineapple. My batter was very runny and they didn’t rise. They kind of had the consistence of a pineapple upside down cake….sort of spongy. Also, this might not matter, but when I mixed the rum, coconut milk (not cream of coconut, right?), and pineapple juice, it seemed that the milk curdled. They taste wonderful, but the consistency just wasn’t right.

    • Stef May 3, 2012 at 5:10 am #

      Sorry that happened to you. Yes, you should drain the pineapple. I’m adding that to the directions right now! Sorry for the confusion.

  33. Anonymous May 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Is the baker’s coconut sweatened or unsweatened?

    • Stef May 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

      You could use either. I prefer unsweetened.

  34. Elizabeth July 14, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    I made these yesturday for a party (today). The cupcakes are good and moist but the flavors are pretty subtle. I made some pieapple curd for a filling (although mine came out a little too runny-I should have cooked it longer). And used my go-to coconut cream cheese frosting recipe (which uses flaked coconut as well as coconut cream and coconut & vanilla extracts) with some additional coconut rum (and more powdered sugar to balance).
    The cupcakes tasted good (though not outstanding).
    It’s the decorations that made them: drink umbrellas and teddy grahams in gummy lifesaver innertubes.
    I would definately suggest these cupcakes to people who want a moist, subtly tropical-flavored cupcake.

    • Elizabeth July 18, 2012 at 5:31 am #

      So it’s me again. And though I still stick by my earlier comments…
      Everyone at the party LOVED these cupcakes! I was very pleased with the reaction, and I actuallly think that the flavors intensified when kept in the fridge overnight. I think that the little extra punch of pineapple curd in the middle made the other flavors pop.
      By the way, is there any way I can post a pic of these here on your blog?
      Thanks for the recipe! I look forward to trying others on your site!

    • Stef July 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Glad that they worked out for you in the end! You can’t post a photo here, but I’d love it if you shared the photo on the Cupcake Project FB page!

  35. trini gal! July 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    hi just made these cupcakes they came out perfect, they were moist and the flavours are all there and i used plain white rum and powdered coconut instead of cream.thanks for the recipe!

  36. sydney July 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    okay this is kind of off topic but

    Stef or any other readers,
    I read this blog daily and i do the same with baking! i haven’t tried any of these recipes before and i don’t really know why. Anyways i am throwing myself a beach party and i created a recipe on my own for coconut cupcakes! My question is what can i do to make it better and i’m thinking about dark chocolate cream cheese frosting i am completely open to any suggestions you give me, here is my recipe

    1c white sugar
    1/2c butter
    2tsp vanilla extract
    1 1/2c flour
    1 3/4 tsp baking powder
    1/2c or more of coconut milk

    like i said i don’t know what frosting to use yet and the party is this saturday!!!!!! i am making these on friday so i would REALLY appreciate it if you replied back quickly! thanks so much!!!!!


    also i need another cupcake flavor that will appeal to teenage girlss i was thinking rainbow but idk

    • Stef July 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

      Sorry that I’m too late! What did you end up with?

    • sydney July 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

      i used the same recipe but with just regular dark chocolate frosting and with the left over batter i made the best chocolate cupcake EVER!!!!!! lol and its okay i understand=D

  37. RMary September 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Thanks for your recipe… I just made your cupcakes and frosting… soooo moist and not too sweet. These were delicious!

  38. Anonymous November 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    I made these for a birthday/pool party and they were delicious. I didn’t have to alter the recipe at all. The coconut cream cheese frosting was the perfect compliment. I will be making these again, thank you.

  39. Annie March 20, 2013 at 4:19 am #

    Wow, these cupcakes are amazing, I made these for my daughters bridesmaid get together. They loved them I should have made more, the coconut cream cheese icing was a glorious combination, the recipe has been passed on to all the girls, a great success.

  40. Asma March 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Can I use pineapple purée instead of crushed ?

  41. DeeDee May 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm #


    Great recipe, thank you. I’ve made it twice now and it’s been successful each time but, I”m curious, have you tried this recipe with baking powder? Does it make the cakes slightly more dense or does it not play well with the ingredients? The cakes are spongy [which is why I’m assuming there’s no need for baking powder] and moist but they don’t retain their full body after removing from the oven. They don’t sink but they just kind of compress a little [for lack of a better term] which is why I’m wondering if a leavening might do the trick? Thanks!

    • Stef May 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

      I haven’t tried it.

  42. Heather May 28, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    I just made these tonight, the flavor was there, they were good. I didn’t like the fact that I had to purchase coconut milk and cream. Could I just use cream for the batter and the frosting. Also they didn’t rise much, I filled them 3/4 full and that’s where they stayed, is there any thing I can do to make them rise better?

  43. Jaida July 30, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Hello! i was wondering if there was any substitute for the rum? I know it would be baked out, but no one in the house drinks and it would be a little bit pointless to get some just for this purpose. the cupcakes look wonderful, but i was just wondering if there was a substitute!

  44. Jaida July 30, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    oh. never mind i saw the above comment! thanks for the great recipe!:)

  45. Gillian July 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    These look delicious! I was wondering though – do you think I could substitute some coconut rum for the coconut cream in the frosting? Or do half and half? I’m a fan of boozy frostings to go with boozy cupcakes :)

    • Stef August 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Yes! I think that would be great!

  46. Elizabeth Nieves September 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I tried these today they are delicious. Very moist. Thank you for the recipe.

  47. worksheet December 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Amazing things listed here. We are thrilled to visit post. Thank you so much lots with this particular having a look onward to feel people. Would you like to make sure you decline us a e-mail?

  48. dee March 17, 2014 at 5:48 am #

    What type of coconut milk is best for this recipe; canned thick one or the liquid one in cartons?

  49. Ron April 8, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    Hello! I have been making these cupcakes using your recipe for several years now and, let me tell you, I NEVER get such raves for any baking I do as when I make these. Frankly, it’s sometimes amazing they ever make it in to work without me eating every one. I actually made the recipe as a cake once and, I am not ashamed to say, I ate 3/4 of it in one sitting. I have been told by more than one person that they are the best cupcakes they’ve ever tasted and I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for your blog!

  50. SH August 15, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    I was originally going to try a different pina colada cupcake recipe, but the recipe I had didn’t call for coconut milk or rum, so I decided to search for another recipe. Yours seemed to contain the classic ingredients found in pina colada, so I went with yours. I had pineapple chunks, so I crushed them in the blender. I am very happy with the taste of the cupcakes, I think the icing is too sweet and unnecessary ( I tinkered with it a bit, after I used the original recipe-added some rum to it). The cupcakes do have an interesting texture, but not in a bad way, mine rose slightly (filled them 3/4, but not that much-they didn’t have that familiar rising out of the wrapper dome look. I would make these again, minus the frosting.


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