Need a little sunshine? How about in the form of these pineapple coconut cupcakes. You could call them pina colada cupcakes!

These start with the same amazing coconut cupcake recipe from these Coconut Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes. You could also try these Passionfruit Coconut Cupcakes.

Closeup of a cupcake coated with coconut and topped with pineapple

Why you’ll love them

  • Light and fluffy coconut flavoured cupcakes
  • Fluffy and creamy coconut buttercream frosting that melts on your tongue
  • A hidden filling of pineapple curd
  • Stunning and simple dried pineapple flowers on top

What’s not to love about these mini tropical cakes?

I knew I loved these pineapple coconut cupcakes but, when I first made them, a couple of years back, they got rave reviews from my taste testing group too. Even a “best cupcake I’ve ever had”.

I recently shared these with my mum, who is extremely honest in her critiques (which I appreciate). She loved them too and took another 2 home with her.

Ready to make them?!

Birdseye view of the inside of a fallen down cupcake

Ingredients

Ok, it looks like a lot when you see it like this but most of these are everyday baking ingredients.

Ingredients for pineapple coconut cupcakes on a marble surface
Ingredients for pineapple coconut cupcakes

Flour (1), cornflour (aka cornstarch) (3), sugar (6), eggs (7), baking powder (9), salt (11), icing (powdered) sugar. But here’s the ingredients that make these cupcakes really special.

  • Fresh pineapple (2): Completely optional but if you want those cute dried pineapple flowers, you’ll need one of these.
  • Oil (4): A light flavoured vegetable oil is perfect and keeps these cupcakes moist.
  • Coconut milk (5): Not cream. Use full fat coconut milk and make sure to shake it up first.
  • Pineapple curd (8): Very simple to make your own, you’ll find the pineapple curd recipe here. You could also swap it for another curd, jam or preserve.
  • Desiccated coconut (10): Very finely cut dried coconut. This is added to the batter for flavour and texture.
  • Toasted shredded coconut (13): You may be able to buy it already toasted but it’s very easy to make yourself too.
  • Coconut extract (not shown): This is added to taste to the coconut buttercream frosting.

How to make the coconut cupcakes

I love this cupcake recipe because it’s so easy to make. All you need is a bowl, a balloon whisk and a silicone spatula and you’re away.

4 images showing the making of cupcake batter

  1. Start by whisking together the dry ingredients in a small bowl. This lightens and combines them.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar oil and eggs (photo 1) just until combined, then add the dry ingredients in and mix gently.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk (photo 2) and use a spatula to gently mix it together.
  4. Use a large cookie scoop / medium ice cream scoop to portion out the batter into cupcake liners (photo 3 &4).

How to make dried pineapple flowers

These take time in the oven but are so simple with just a sharp knife, a baking tray and a muffin tin.

4 images showing how to make dried pineapple flowers
  1. Cut the hard skin off the pineapple making sure to cut deep enough to remove all the eyes (photo 5).
  2. Slice the pineapple very thinly (and carefully) – about 2-3mm thick only (photo 6).
  3. Dry the slices with paper towel, then lay them in a single layer on a baking tray (photo 7). Bake for 1-2 hours – the length of time will depend on the thickness of the slices.
  4. As soon as they are removed from the oven, press them into a muffin tin (photo 8), where they will cool and the shape will set.

Assembling the cupcakes

The buttercream is incredibly simple to make, just by beating together butter, icing (powdered) sugar and coconut extract. Once that’s ready and the cakes are cool, you can assemble them.

4 images showing how to fill and top cupcakes
  1. Start by cutting a hole in the top-centre of the cupcake, roughly 1 inch round and deep (photo 9). You can use a knife or this handy cupcake corer.
  2. Fill the holes with pineapple curd (photo 10).
  3. Pipe the buttercream on top (photo 11).
  4. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in toasted coconut (photo 12).
  5. Now sit the little flowers on top and serve.

Tips and tricks

  • The pineapple curd recipe makes more than you will need but you can freeze the leftover or turn this lemon crumble slice into a pineapple crumble slice.
  • Weigh ingredients if possible: When making cupcakes always measure your ingredients carefully. Invest in kitchen scales if possible. They’re cheap and will give you the best result.
  • Or spoon and level: If you don’t have kitchen scales spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level off with the back of a knife. Don’t use the measuring cup to scoop straight from the flour jar as you will guaranteed end up with too much.
  • Don’t overmix: Once the dry ingredients go into the wet ingredients, only mix them until just combined and then cook the cupcakes straight away.
  • The pineapple flowers: there’s no need to individually remove the eyes of the pineapple. While it will waste a little more flesh, you’ll get a prettier flower if you just slice the eyes clean off.

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Closeup of a cupcake coated with coconut and topped with pineapple

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The recipe

A batch of cupcakes with pineapple flowers on top

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes (Pina Colada Cupcakes)

4.84 from 6 votes
These Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes are a soft and fluffy coconut cupcake, filled with homemade pineapple curd and topped with coconut buttercream frosting and a dried pineapple flower.

Ingredients

DRIED PINEAPPLE FLOWERS

  • 1 fresh pineapple

FOR THE COCONUT CUPCAKES

  • 165 g plain (all-purp) flour (1 ¼ cups / 5.8oz)
  • 35 g cornflour (cornstarch) (¼ cup / 1.2oz)
  • ¼ cup fine desiccated coconut
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g white granulated sugar (1 cup / 7oz)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup light flavoured vegetable oil (like canola / sunflower / rice bran)
  • 1 cup coconut milk, room temp & shaken (250ml)
  • ¼ cup pineapple curd

FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  • 226 g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup / 2 sticks / 8oz)
  • 2 ½ cups icing (powdered) sugar
  • 3 teaspoons coconut extract (not essence)
  • ¼ cup toasted shredded coconut to top (notes)

Instructions
 

  • Make the pineapple curd (see notes for options)

FOR THE DRIED PINEAPPLE FLOWERS

  • Preheat oven to 120C / 250F / 100C fan forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper
  • Using a sharp knife, slice off the skin of the pineapple, making sure to slice away the eyes as well. Slice the pineapple into thin slices (about 2-3mm thickness)
  • Use paper towel to dry the pineapple slices thoroughly then lay them out on the baking trays in a single layer.
  • Bake for 1-2 hours, turning the trays half way. Length of time will depend on how thick they are. They’re ready when they look / feel dry but still flexible and the edges are golden.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge

FOR THE COCONUT CUPCAKES

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F 160C fan forced. Line a regular muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornflour, coconut, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl use a balloon whisk to combine the sugar, eggs and oil, until smooth.
  • Swap to a spatula, and add the flour mixture, mixing gently until just combined.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and mix carefully until just combined.
  • Divide the batter among the cupcake cases using a cookie scoop or medium ice cream scoop to about ⅔ full.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes.

FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  • Beat the butter and 1/2 cup of the icing (powdered) sugar in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or with an electric beater for a couple of minutes, until well combined.
  • With the beater on low, add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it’s all incorporated then add the coconut extract.
  • Beat until very light and fluffy (4-5 minutes).

TO ASSEMBLE

  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a hole in the centre and add a teaspoon or so of chilled pineapple curd to each.
  • Pipe the buttercream on top then top with dried pineapple flowers.

Notes

  1. I use cornflour a lot in my baking. The combination of plain flour and cornflour = cake flour. You can use cake flour in place of both.
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens vary. Check the cupcakes 2 minutes before the recipe suggests. It’s worthwhile keeping an oven thermometer in your oven at all times.
  4. Find the pineapple curd recipe here, or swap it for another type of curd, preserve or jam.
  5. The pineapple curd recipe makes more than you will need but you can freeze the leftover or turn this lemon crumble slice into a pineapple crumble slice.
  6. Toasting the coconut: Place the coconut in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Cook, tossing or stirring often until golden. Don’t leave it or it will quickly burn.
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