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How to Make Fun Pina Colada Cupcakes (Easy Recipe)

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How to Make Fun Pina Colada Cupcakes (Easy Recipe)

Bring the tropical vacation to you with these easy, fun, homemade Pina Colada Cupcakes. They’re deliciously moist with the perfect amount of tropical flavors and Malibu Rum.

Sun shining on a cupcake with coconut flakes, a maraschino cherry, a piece of fresh pineapple, and a teal cocktail umbrella.

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🎶 “Do you like Piña Coladas…” 🎶

For awhile now, I have wanted to just go to some tropical island, sit on the beach, listen to the waves, and drink endless Pina Coladas. I’m sure I’m not alone. 

I decided to bring the vacation to me with these fun, boozy Pina Colada Cupcakes. 

I’m a big fan of boozy cupcakes, like these Fireball Poke Cupcakes – How to Make This Boozy Favorite.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

I originally planned to make a pineapple cupcake topped with coconut buttercream. BUT, to make it closer to the traditional cocktail, I decided to combine the tropical flavors in the batter AND the frosting. I also wanted to add some rum. 

I chose Malibu Coconut Rum for additional, fun coconut flavor. It is also not as overpowering as other Rums. It adds to the sweet, moist Pina Colada Cupcake in an incredibly pleasing way. 

If you want an alcohol-free Pina Colada Cupcake, I recommend switching out the Malibu Rum with either milk or water. 

5 Tropical Cupcakes, each has a bright, neon cocktail umbrella and a red maraschino cherry.

Fresh or Canned Pineapple?

I used fresh pineapple to garnish these cupcakes. A slice of fresh pineapple, a maraschino cherry, and a cocktail umbrella make these Pina Colada Cupcakes resemble the traditional cocktail even more. 

In the batter, I like to use Canned Crushed Pineapple in 100% juice. This is for a few different reasons. 

First, it already includes pineapple juice. I don’t have to buy an additional ingredient. This saves some money, time, and space. 

Second, the pineapple is already crushed. I do not have to worry about cutting fresh pineapple small enough that the cupcake doesn’t end up chunky. This saves time… and, possibly, my fingers. 😂 

Third, if you choose not to garnish with a fresh pineapple, it is definitely easier and quicker (and cheaper) to just open a can than cut a fresh pineapple. I’ll admit I’m a bit intimidated by cutting pineapples. 😂 I’ve had some rough experiences with them sliding across the table, almost cutting myself, etc. etc. 

You can use fresh pineapple in the recipe instead of canned. I would recommend cutting the pieces small. I would also recommend adding a little bit more sugar. Canned pineapple tends to be sweeter than fresh. 

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A close up of three fun cupcakes, each has a bright red maraschino cherry, a yellow piece of pineapple, and a neon cocktail umbrella.

Tips for the Best Pina Colada Cupcakes

– Cream the sugar and butter together FIRST. I use this as a first step in many of my recipes because I LOVE the texture it creates. 

The act of creaming sugar and butter together leads to light and fluffy cupcakes. 

The Food Network has a great, simple guide on How to Cream Butter and Sugar.

– If you want to garnish with maraschino cherries, I highly recommend draining them then placing them on a paper towel at least five minutes before using them. Otherwise, the extra juice may drain out onto the cupcake and stain the buttercream.

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– I recommend making the frosting (a buttercream) with a hand mixer, like this KitchenAid 9-Speed Hand Mixer, or a stand mixer, like this KitchenAid one. It creates a nice, whipped consistency.

– Store in the fridge. I made the mistake of leaving them out once… Yikes. The pineapple became very bitter. The whole taste was off. Please, please store them in the fridge. 

This is easier to do with a cupcake caddy like this PrepWorks Collapsible Cupcake Carrier. I personally like that it is collapsible, which makes it easier to store when not in use. If you have a smaller fridge or it’s always full, I would recommend something smaller like this Buddeez Cake and Cupcake Carrier.

Before serving, let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. 

How to Decorate

A Pina Colada Cupcake with a neon pink cocktail umbrella

To make these cupcakes resemble the drink even more, I added an adorable little umbrella. 

Who doesn’t love getting a tropical drink with an umbrella? It’s easy to add this fun experience to the cupcakes.

I found a box of them at Walmart for a decent price. They are also available on Amazon – Cocktail Umbrellas Picks for Drinks.

In addition to the cocktail umbrella, I also added shredded coconut flakes (they can be sweetened or unsweetened), a slice of fresh pineapple, and a maraschino cherry. 

I LOVE maraschino cherries. If you do too, you should definitely check out my Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies. YUM!

If you love cupcakes, you should check out:
How to Make Easy Lemon Cupcakes from Scratch
Fireball Poke Cupcakes – How to Make This Boozy Favorite
Funfetti Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Bring the tropical vacation to you with these easy, fun, homemade Pina Colada Cupcakes. They’re deliciously moist with the perfect amount of tropical flavors and Malibu Rum.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Boozy Treats, Cupcakes with Alcohol, Easy Dessert Recipes, Pina Colada Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Pina Colada Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup Butter softened
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 1 tsp Coconut Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup Malibu Coconut Rum
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 cup Crushed Pineapple

For the Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup Butter softened
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Coconut Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3-4 cups Powdered Sugar

For Garnish:

  • Maraschino Cherries* drained
  • Fresh Pineapple cut into small triangles
  • Cocktail Umbrellas
  • Coconut Flakes sweetened or unsweetened

Notes

*I recommend draining the cherries then letting them sit on a paper towel. Otherwise, the extra juice may stain the buttercream.
As I recommended in the tips above, please store these Pina Colada Cupcakes in the fridge. 
Before serving, let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

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