Somehow, I’ve officially become the Birthday Cupcake person at work. It’s my own fault, mostly. I made cupcakes for someone’s birthday, and then realized that there was another birthday coming up and I’d feel bad if I didn’t make some for that person too...etc., etc., etc. It’s a vicious cycle. I don’t really mind, though; I love to bake, and experimenting with new flavor combinations is always really fun for me.
One of my co-workers had a birthday earlier this month, right before she was leaving for vacation in Mexico, so I thought these pina colada cupcakes would be the perfect thing to make to celebrate both her birthday and her impending tropical getaway. The cupcakes themselves are loaded with pineapple and coconut flavor, and they’re topped with a lime/rum/coconut cream cheese frosting. The cupcakes are so moist thanks to the pineapple in the batter, and the frosting has a great tangy bite to it.
I found a lot of recipes for made-from-scratch pina colada cupcakes when I was trying to decide on a recipe, but I have to admit that I really like starting from a boxed mix when I’m making cupcakes. They’re always going to rise perfectly and they always have a great texture. And they can be doctored up in so many ways. These cupcakes were a huge hit (especially with the birthday girl)!
Pina Colada Cupcakes
cupcakes adapted from Betty Crocker; frosting is my recipe
For the cupcakes:
1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3 teaspoons rum
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
Zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon rum
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 cups powdered sugar
Lime slices, for garnish
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, oil, water, rum, coconut extract, pineapple, and eggs with electric mixer until well-blended, scraping the bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
4. To make the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add lime zest, rum, and coconut extract and blend. Gradually add powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes and garnish with slices of lime, if desired.