Piña Colada Cupcakes

I heard on Wednesday that Nolan’s speech teacher didn’t get to taste the party cake I took to the previous week’s teacher appreciation luncheon, and resolved immediately to make something to bring her on a Friday, which is one of the days she works with Nolan. Piña colada came to mind right away because we had a fresh pineapple on the counter that needed to be eaten stat, so I went with cupcakes featuring coconut cake, pineapple curd filling, and a light topping of whipped cream, cream cheese and more curd garnished with toasted coconut.

These were fantastic, subtly tropical, not too sweet, and sturdy enough to travel to preschool. I love coconut, so I incorporated both coconut milk and flour into the cakes, and would have used coconut sugar too if I had had some. The pineapple curd was made mostly from pureeing fresh pineapple, and strained after cooking for a silkier texture; even after piping some into the cupcakes themselves and folding more into the topping—just whipped cream stabilized with a little cream cheese—there is still over a cup and a half leftover for another use. I suggested piña colada aebleskivers, and I’m hoping we’ll give those a try tomorrow.

Piña Colada Cupcakes

I substituted 1/4 C coconut flour for an equal portion of all purpose flour in the cupcakes, for just a little extra coconut goodness, and added an extra tablespoon or two of coconut milk to compensate for its absorbency. Any piña colada references on this site are non-alcoholic due to my personal preferences, but you could certainly make a rum syrup to brush over the cakes before filling and topping them, if you like that sort of thing.

3/4 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C sugar (I use vanilla sugar for part)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 C canned coconut milk [shake well before opening & measuring]
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Pineapple curd, for filling (recipe below)
Whipped cream frosting (recipe below)
1/2 to 1 C toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with 20 paper liners. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a stand mixer’s bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy, then add sugar; cream till light and fluffy again, scraping down the sides halfway through to ensure even mixing. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each to ensure mixing. Be sure to scrape down the sides after each egg to ensure even mixing. Add half of flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Pour in coconut milk and extracts; mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed or by hand just until blended; do not overbeat.

Fill liners about 1/2 to 3/4 full (I use a quarter-cup disher to fill mine). Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pans after the first 15 to ensure even baking. Check with a toothpick to see if the cupcakes are done. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 1-2 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Transfer pineapple curd to a piping bag fitted with a long pointed tip OR a squeeze bottle. Insert tip into each cupcake and squeeze out a small amount of filling. (You’ll know the cupcake is full is when the filling starts to oozes from the top and pushes the tip up.) Finally, pipe frosting on top of the cupcakes, sprinkle with coconut flakes, and enjoy!

Pineapple Curd

2 large eggs plus 2 yolks (or 6 yolks)
2 1/4 C pineapple juice or puree (I used one small can of juice and pureed some fresh chunks)
3/4 C sugar
5 T cornstarch

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, strain if desired, and cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Slightly adapted from 6 Bittersweets.

Whipped Cream Frosting

I didn’t measure the ingredients in my frosting. I used about 4 ounces of cream cheese, beaten until light, then added about 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream, a few tablespoons of the thick cream from the top of the canned coconut milk, a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar, and a splash of coconut extract, and beat it in the mixer until very thick. Then I just folded in about 3/4 C of pineapple curd and let the mixture chill for a few minutes in the refrigerator before piping.

Update 5/25/11: I ate up pretty much all the pineapple curd single-handedly over the course of a week. It makes perfect smoothies with milk, yogurt, and protein powder, and I also stirred it into yogurt with a sprinkle of toasted coconut on top.

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