Pineapple Rum Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting


I had an “uh oh” moment, even though sitting proudly in front of me were the Pineapple Vanilla Rum Cupcakes and Double Coconut Buttercream frosting I had just made. Actually, it was more along the lines of “uh oh, now what? how do I make them look all fancy like I see every day on food blogs?”

Initially, I looked for a piping bag that I knew I didn’t own, but thought would miraculously appear in a drawer. Not surprisingly, that did not happen. Then, I opted for the plastic baggie method, stuffed some frosting in the baggie, cut a little hole and proceeded to “decorate” which produced nothing like I had envisioned in my mind. I slowly put down my baggie and took a deep breath. I then reminded myself that these cupcakes were for a Hawaiian-themed birthday party amongst friends who probably don’t care as much about the visual presentation as I do. As much as I wanted them to look as good as they tasted, I was going to have to take the rustic route. So with that said, out came the trusty back of the spoon and a generous slathering of the frosting to make up for any imperfections.


As I was performing the necessart samplings, the cupcakes were indeed tropical with little bursts of pineapple and the buttercream smelled and tasted just like one of my roadside stops in Maui with its coconut milk and shredded coconut.

As much as I wanted them to look as good as they tasted, I would have to take comfort and embrace that they had the components of Hawaii, even if they didn’t measure up aesthetically. However, they fit in perfectly among the awesome collection of Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, leis and Beach Boys music and bottom line, everyone loved them!

So with my humbling decorating story now over and a yet another new-found appreciation for the skill involved in making people eat with their eyes first, I’d like to give a shout-out to some of the talented folks who make baking look so ridiculously easy. I know it’s not a list of all the amazing people out there, but that list would go on forever if I tried.

Whether it’s cupcakes, cookies, pies, cakes, tarts, flans, pops or pretty much whatever they rock it out every single time!

Pineapple Vanilla Rum Cupcakes (Adapted and encouraged from Brave Tart)

  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped, seeds reserved
  • 4 ounces of white rum
  • 14 ounces of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 ounces of butter, room temperature – unsalted
  • 5 eggs – room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 13.5 ounces of all purpose flour – sifted
  • 11 ounces coconut milk
  • 1 cup of pineapple – diced into small cubes


  1. The day before you plan on baking. Combine the rum and vanilla bean together in a small pot. Bring to a boil, shut off the heat, and cover. Steep overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. Combine and sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Put aside.
  4. Combine the sugar, butter and reserved vanilla bean seeds in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Stop to scrape the bowl down when needed. Mix for approximately 5-7 minutes until it’s well-incorporated, light and fluffy.
  5. Turn the mixer down to medium low and while its running running, add the eggs and then yolk, one at a time, mixing after each until thoroughly combined.
  6. Turn the mixer down to the lowest speed and add in the sifted flour a cup at a time.
  7. Immediately add the vanilla rum mixture (remove the bean).
  8. Slowly pour in the coconut milk.
  9. Add the cubed pineapple and fold in with a spatula.
  10. Fill the batter halfway into each muffin tin and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned.
  11. Let cool before frosting.

Double Coconut Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup of butter – room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk.
  • 1/3 cup of shredded coconut.
  • 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract


  1. With a handmixer, combine butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and coconut until well combined.
  2. Add the coconut and stir in by hand.
  3. Apply generously to the cupcake and enjoy!

28 Responses to Pineapple Rum Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

  1. Michelle Jaffee July 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    I say you frosted with love and that’s more than good enough for me!!

    • Ethan July 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

      Frosting with love…love it!

  2. Kate July 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Hey, I see you are on a coconut kick as well. I made a coconut rainbow cake last week with coconut cream cheese frosting. It turned out well! Let me know what you think of my Coconut Banana Muffins: I wonder if i’m going to get sick of coconut?!

  3. Rosie @ Sweetapolita July 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I love the flavour combo in these! Thanks so much for including me in your list of bakers! 🙂

  4. Lora @cakeduchess July 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Great list of bakers.:) These cupcakes look delicious. I’m not picky about how frosting looks…send me a sample:)

  5. bellini July 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Coconut and pineapple, I am hooked Ethan.

  6. Melissa@EyesBigger July 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    If it’s any consolation, your frosting abilities seem to be head and shoulders above mine…I’m absolutely hopeless and it’s a very good thing I never decided to become a surgeon.
    I *AM* very good at getting frosting all over the floor, counter, plate etc. Like… professional at it!
    these do sound very yummy though… RUM!!

  7. Kimmie July 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    =) This post makes me smile.

    Some of the worst cupcakes I have ever eaten were simultaneously some of the most gorgeous. It’s what’s on the inside that counts and these beauties couldn’t tell the story better.

  8. robynski July 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Oh yum! Like we used to say at the bakery. While something may look good, it is more important that it taste good! So yes, I think you’ve hit the jackpot with these!

  9. Nelly Rodriguez July 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    the flavors sound amazing and love the idea of steeping rum overnight. steeping is so sexy. ahem, it’s all about the love and they look loved! funny how you looked for a bag to magically appear.

  10. Celia July 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Yum! These are making me think of the beach right now – I’m personally totally un-picky about how cupcakes are frosted; sometimes I even dispense with the cupcake entirely…

    If you’re looking for a no-tube frosting method, though, this technique works with butter knives as well as frosting spatulas… 🙂

  11. Kimmy @ Lighter and Local July 12, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Dear friend – with flavors like rum, pineapple, and coconut, you can frost those babies however you’d like as long as you share them with me. It’s a tropical cocktail in a cupcake. It would be great in the dead of winter.

  12. Victoria (District Chocoholic) July 12, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    I’m not sure it matters what these look like, because if I were anywhere nearby, they’d be devoured in an instant. Nice flavor combination.

    I like working with chilled – but not cold – icing when trying to make pretty things.

  13. Charis July 13, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    they look perfect!coconut and pineapple are my fav!

  14. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 13, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    I can’t frost to save my life but I say with flavours like these, who cares? 😉

  15. Stella July 13, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Ah, I see you’ve discovered the tiny umbrella trick! Yes, anything with a tiny umbrella becomes magically perfect. 🙂 There’s a typo though, somehow you put my name on that list of psychotically awesome bakers. I don’t have decorating skillz ANYTHING like those ladies. Patience is not my strong suit…

  16. Amanda July 13, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    I love that you included Paula… she is one of the most thoughtful and considerate and kind bloggers out there, not to mention one of the most TALENTED cookie makers out there. Yay to a great list and great bakers!

  17. Sanjeeta kk July 13, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Love those cute cupcakes sitting pretty with that umbrella! Pineapple and coconut…must have been flavorful.

  18. Tim July 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    If you made the frosting more pineapplely-colored, you could cut maraschino cherries in half and place them in the center, like a pineapple upside down cake-sort of look. 🙂

  19. bridget {bake at 350} July 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Rustic is good….and I LOVE the umbrella!

    Pineapple, vanilla, RUM?!? Yes, please…I’ll take a dozen! And I bet they taste BETTER without all of the frou-frou on top. 😉

    {Thanks so much for adding me to your list!}

  20. Amy | She Wears Many Hats July 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Can we be neighbors? I’ll bring the rum? And the coconut. YUM!

  21. Annapet July 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    This is totally tropical: pineapple, rum, and UMBRELLA, of course!

  22. Aggie July 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    I had to laugh at your dialogue because it’s totally something I would do. I think your cupcakes look mighty delicious!! And pineapple-rum? Hello!

    • Ethan July 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

      well, maybe it was there…

  23. Brian @ A Thought For Food July 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    This sure was a boozy week for a lot of us! I think it’s all we can think about when when the weather is this nice. These cupcakes sure do look marvelous, my friend! And I love the flavors!

  24. Maureen July 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    I love these flavors!! Never make excuses for anything – at the end of the day it’s how it tastes and your hospitality. They’d be fine on my table!

  25. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction July 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    What a fun surprise to come home from vacation and see this post! You’re too sweet to mention me in such good company of great bakers. I am flattered!

    And, love the look of your cupcakes… The flavors sound simply amazing! Cute idea to add the umbrellas, too. 🙂

  26. City Girl July 30, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    The umbrella and table cloth are great touches for the pics! I’ve never made cupcakes from scratch, but I would love to have one of these right now! xoxo

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