Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes

I think my sister likes to bake even more than I do, so when she was in town for a few days, cupcake-making had to be on the agenda. Although she doesn’t like coconut, she figured this recipe would be a crowd-pleaser and it definitely was!

I was a little nervous as the cupcakes went into the oven because the batter seemed really heavy on the pineapple. They turned out beautifully, though, and I love how the flat tops were perfect for icing. The frosting didn’t taste very coconutty, so next time I might sub coconut extract for vanilla, or, as my sister suggested, use a little Malibu rum!

(adapted from Coconut & Lime)

10 oz (canned) crushed pineapple in juice (not heavy syrup!)
1 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Mix the baking soda, flour, sugar and salt together with a fork.
Beat the oll and eggs together in a glass measuring cup and pour into the flour mixture.
Mix well, then add the pineapple and stir gently until combined
Pour into the prepared muffin tins, and bake 15-20 minutes or until the cupcake bounces back when you press lightly on the top (they’ll be pretty golden-brown when they’re ready).
Cool on a wire rack, and frost when completely cooled

(adapted from Epicurious)

1 stick butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 300 F and spread the coconut onto a baking sheet. Toast for 4-8 minutes or until just golden, then remove and set aside to cool.
Beat the butter and powdered sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the coconut milk about a teaspoon at a time until the icing has a smooth, creamy consistency. Beat in the vanilla.
Transfer the frosting to a piping bag, and pipe onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

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30 comments to Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes

  • Oooh what a yummy combo. I don’t think I’ve ever had those together before!

  • As a lover of all things coconut, this is a must make! Thank you!

  • Cute little cupcakes! I love coconut!

  • Mmmm, these sound fabulous! We are big pineapple fans and the coconut frosting sounds so perfect on top.

  • These look so cute and delicious!

  • Oh baby these sound wonderful! YUM!

  • Jennifer

    Hi, I was just wondering how many cupcakes does this recipe make? Thanks so much!

  • Cate

    It makes 12.

  • laura

    Do you drain the pineapple before adding it? Or does the juice get added as well? Thanks! Looks yummy…

  • Cate

    I added the juice as well

  • Debbie B

    Can you substitute the butter for the frosting with cream cheese?

  • Cate

    I’m not sure how a 1:1 substitute would work…you might still need a little bit of butter. Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but if you try it let me know how it goes!

  • majo leal

    Can fresh pinneapples work??? i hope they do :)

  • Gab

    do you drain the pineapple juice or do you put in the juice

  • Cate

    Gab – You don’t drain the pineapple

  • Michelle

    All I have is crushed pineapple in heavy syrup. What will happen if I use it? Is there any way I can make the syrup in it less, erm, heavy?

  • Cate

    Michelle – Hmmm…I might just cut back the sugar to 1/2 cup or possibly 1/3. I hope that works!

  • becca

    I was just wondering if you tried the icing recipe from the Coconut & Lime blog and just liked the epicurious one better?

  • Cate

    Becca – The cupcake recipe on coconut & lime didn’t have a coconut frosting recipe with it, so I just picked one that sounded good (and was coconut flavored). She recommends pineapple cream cheese frosting with the cupcakes but I wanted a different flavor.

  • Heather

    Just baked these for my son’s preschool luau! I doubled the recipe and made mini cupcakes instead. I also added a little baking powder too. They are so delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  • April


    Why did you add baking powder? How did it affect the cups? Thanks, April

  • Jody

    To get a stronger coconut flavor, heat your coconut milk till it reduces by about half and THEN use it. (Cool before using!) Also, mix some untoasted coconut into the frosting too – I don’t recommend ‘coconut extract’ – it’s hard to find except for the ‘imitation stuff.

  • Hi Cate,
    I was just wondering if will mardarian oranges will substitute for the pineapple because, I am not much of a pineapple fan. but these look so good I have to try!

    Answer back, Lucy! ;)

  • Cate

    Lucy – I love that idea, but I’ve never tried it so I have no idea how it will work. If you try it, let me know!

  • Leena

    Made these yesterday for a party and they were a hit! I didnt use coconut milk in the frosting but used about 1.5 Tbsp malibu rum. Delicious! The toasted coconut sprinkled on top was a nice contrast. Great, simple recipe – thanks Cate. Will definitely make these often :)

  • kathy

    I’m new to the cupcake world and these sound great! Pineapple and coconut are a good combination. I will let ya know how they come out.


  • I’m really excited about trying this recipe for Easter. Are you familiar with how salted and unsalted butter will affect the frosting? I wasn’t sure which to select. Which did you use? Thanks, Carol

  • Cate

    I don’t notice too much of a difference, but many people recommend only using unsalted when baking

  • Savanna

    Im a big penacolada fan and think these would be perfect! Im so excited to bake these for my luau party :D

  • Maude

    to answer Carol’s question, they always say to use unsalted butter everywhere but I always use salted (more common…always have some in the fridge) and everything always turns out great. A little salt often makes the sweet flavours stand out. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

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