Take your palate on a Caribbean journey with these tropical piña colada cupcakes! You can make them with or without rum, they'll taste just as delicious!
Few things recall the tropical charm of the Caribbean more than the piña colada. There's something about the combination of coconut and pineapple that really takes me away, I love that flavor. So I thought I'd try it out as a dessert! I personally think it's even more perfect because you're actually eating it as a cake, which is pure heaven.
When I first started making these cupcakes, I used to make the cake with pineapple flavor and the buttercream with cream of coconut. I figured that eating them together would be enough to get that piña colada taste, but I would always eat the buttercream first and then the cake... and I ended up with two totally different flavors. Then I went online and saw a recipe that perfectly combines the two, and they came out amazing!
The buttercream is what really makes these cupcakes. Mine usually turns out a little runny because I don't like to make it with a ton of sugar; I really don't know how people can eat buttercream that is soooo sweet, eeeck. On top of that, adding the pineapple juice and coconut cream makes it a bit liquid, so if you want a firmer cupcake, pile on the sugar. I also stopped adding rum a while back because I couldn't taste the difference, but if you really want to have it, knock yourself out. However you want to make them, these piña colada cupcakes rock!
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Then, beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth.
Add 1/3 of the flour mix and beat until well blended. Then add ½ the amount of buttermilk and mix until well blended. Repeat the process, ending with 1/3 of the flour mixture. Make sure to scrape the sides with a spatula to get rid of any dry lumps.
Line a cupcake pan with liners. Fill them about 2/3-3/4 of the way with the batter. Bake at 350 ºF for about 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
To make buttercream, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth, about 2-3 minutes at medium speed.
Add pineapple juice, cream of coconut and rum (optional). Beat again for another 2-3 minutes.
Add ½ the amount of powdered sugar. Start mixing at low speed and increase to medium, beat for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the rest of the powdered sugar and beat until well blended. ** Add more sugar if you want your buttercream to be firmer.
Fill a pastry bag with the buttercream. Add the tip of your choice and pipe it on top of each cupcake. Garnish with pineapple and cherries.