Pina Colada Cupcakes

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Don’t just drink your pina colada! Enjoy it in the form of a cupcake. These moist pineapple cupcakes with coconut frosting will make you feel like you are on a tropical island.

Angled view of pina colada cupcakes on wood background.

These cupcakes may seem familiar. Not long ago I shared an amazing recipe for pineapple cupcakes with coconut frosting. They have been a huge hit! It has been said more than once that the combination is similar to a pina colada.

So today’s cupcakes are just that, pina colada cupcakes. I made a few tweaks to each recipe and the result is phenomenal. A summery, beachy beverage in the form of a cupcake.

The recipe for the cupcake is the same as my pineapple cupcake recipe, with the addition of rum extract. The extract amps up the pineapple flavor in this sweet cupcake.  Making it more like the favorited tropical drink.

Side view of pina colada cupcakes with coconut frosting, a cherry, and pineapple slice on top.

The frosting I use to top the pina colada cupcakes is similar to the coconut frosting I mentioned above. While I do love the light coconut flavor in that frosting, I wanted the frosting for today’s cupcakes to be potent with coconut flavor. To achieve this, I altered the butter to sugar ratio just a tad. I also used less coconut milk and added a touch of coconut extract.

If you can’t find coconut extract or you prefer a lighter coconut flavor, you can follow the recipe for my whipped coconut frosting instead. It has a lighter, more natural coconut flavor and a silkier texture.

Side view of pina colada cupcakes on a wood background.

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Side view of pina colada cupcakes on a wood background.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Don’t just drink your pina colada! Enjoy it in the form of a cupcake. These moist pineapple cupcakes with coconut frosting will make you feel like you are on a tropical island.


For the cupcakes

  • 1 and ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons rum extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

For the frosting

  • 1 and ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 and ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons canned coconut milk*
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • slices pineapple for garnish, optional
  • maraschino cherries for garnish, optional


Make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars, continue to beat for 3 minutes. With the mixer set to low, beat in the vanilla and rum extracts. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Gradually add the flour, mixing just until combined. Beat in the crushed pineapple and it's juice.
  4. Fill the cups of the prepared muffin pan ⅔ of the way full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Slowly beat in the coconut milk, followed by the extract. Continue mixing until the frosting becomes thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Top the cupcakes with the frosting. Sprinkle the tops with the toasted coconut. Decorated with pineapple slices and cherries if desired.


*Regular full fat coconut milk is recommended for optimal coconut flavor

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 266Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 2g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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  1. Am I able to substitute the rum extract for any other extract because I don’t like the taste of rum please?

  2. I will like to make these spiked, can you tell me how much rum go add to the cupcakes and the whipped cream?

    1. You can only substitute equal amounts of rum and rum extract. I’m not sure if this will give you the best flavor but adding any more will throw off the chemistry of the recipe. I don’t recommend adding rum to the frosting. It’s is not whipped cream, it’s coconut buttercream, and rum will make it too thin.

  3. Yes I was meaning the garnish. I could try putting it on in the morning, I just don’t want it to go brown before they’re served! Would be a shame to skip it though as it looks nice! I might try and think of something else to top it off.

    1. You can try tossing the pineapple slices in a little lemon juice also. This will prevent oxidation from happening so quickly. But the slices should be fine for a little while before serving.

      1. Thank you! And one another question, I’m struggling to get the rum essence, I’m going to one more shop to have a look today but can I substitute for actual rum or is there an alternative you can suggest?

      2. You can add 2 tablespoons of rum if you can’t find rum extract.

  4. I’m planning on making these next week for a bake off competition, i have been looking for a recipe for a while and as soon as I spotted this one I knew it would be perfect!! Just wondering whether the pineapple will start to go brown if I leave it for too long? Will need to make them the night before

    1. Are you referring to the garnish? It may turn slightly. You can always make the cupcakes then garnish them right before serving. Or skip the garnish altogether.

  5. If I wanted to make mini cupcakes with this recipe, how should I adjust the bake time?

    Thank you!

  6. Dominique says:

    I made this for my best friends birthday and they came out AMAZING. The cake was sooo good and the frosting so silky and smooth! I don’t even like pineapple or coconut, but I couldn’t stop eating these.

  7. I made these cupcakes today for my daughters eleventh birthday and they were delicious! She was tickled pink over them! I’ve never made a homemade cake or cupcakes before just ones from a box. The only thing different that I did was use Coco Lopez in place of the coconut milk. My husband had suggested that the next time I make these was to add a pineapple, coconut, or a piña colada filling in the middle of the cupcake. I think I will try that next time! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

  8. Hi Jen..Can i use gluten free flour for this recipe and all your other cake recipes??..I was diagnosed yesterday, with Celiac Disease

    1. I’ve actually never used gluten free flour with any of my recipes. But, I would think as long as you are using a flour that is formulated to be an exact replacement for all-purpose flour, it should work fine.

  9. Made the cupcake portion today but made it into two small cakes instead. Worked very well and was Delicious. It was a nice pineapple flavour and very fluffy. I will definitely be making this again.

  10. Hi! So I just made two batches for my boyfriend’s firehouse and I think they came out pretty well. Thanks so much for this unique recipe. One thing though, did you mean one 8oz can?? That kind of confused me. I winged it but other people who read this may be a little confused when they try it. Thanks again!!

    1. You are correct! It should read 1 (8-ounce) can. I switched recipe layouts not too long ago and some of the ingredients got a bit jumbled. I haven’t found all the errors yet, so thank you for pointing this out.

      1. Ah ok! Understandable! Thanks for letting me know. While you’re here I have two questions….1) the crushed pineapple I bought were more like chunks. Should they have been crushed like little bits? 2) I have about a cup of frosting left over. It’s so delicious and I’d hate to throw it out. Anything you could suggest to do with it?

      2. I typically use Dole brand and it’s crushed into small bits. They also sell pineapple chunks but they are two completely different things. For the frosting, you can use it as a fruit dip, slather it between cookies, or freeze it for later use.