Piña Colada Cupcakes

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Occasion:

I’m blessed to have the best dad anyone could possibly imagine. He’s my eternal cheerleader in pretty much anything I set my mind to. When I decided to go to school for about nine million years, he showed up at every graduation and was always genuinely interested in the tiniest details of my studies. When I decided to move for my new job as a professor, he gritted his teeth and drove the U-Haul to his least favorite state in the country to help me get settled in. He even repeatedly braves the nightmarish Chicago traffic to come visit me here! And when I decided to start a baking blog, he thought it was a fantastic idea. He checks every post moments after I hit “publish” and is always telling me to I need to post more often. In short, I’m a pretty lucky girl, and Father’s Day seemed like a no-brainer occasion for another batch of cupcakes.

My dad and I are both great lovers of Piña Coladas… and Mojitos… and Mai Tais… and pretty much any other tropical drinks involving rum. While my mom loves all of the seasons (including the deepest darkest depths of winter), Dad and I both spend a good chunk of the Midwestern year dreaming of sunny tropical beaches and fruity drinks with umbrellas. I recently found a recipe for piña colada cupcakes on the Life Made Simple blog, and immediately knew who I’d make them for.

These cakes have a wonderful balance of pineapple and coconut, and are filled with  a rummy pineapple filling for an extra punch of flavor. I topped them off with a creamy coconut rum frosting, inspired by a rum glaze my dad makes for his famous currant crepes. Maybe some day, I’ll get him to do a post about his crepes. They are sinfully delicious.

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Cake:

I used the recipe for Piña Colada Cupcakes from Life Made Simple Bakes ( http://lifemadesimplebakes.com/ 2014/06/pina-colada-cupcakes/). I made it exactly as the recipe stated, and it turned out great.  The cupcakes contain coconut milk and pineapple juice, and both flavors come through really nicely. The use of brown sugar keeps them very moist and a little caramely. This is a really wonderful recipe. It only makes 12 cupcakes, though, so you may have to double it if you want a larger batch.

Filling: 

Slightly adapted from the Life Made Simple blog. This will make enough for 24 cupcakes.

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1.5 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoon cornstarch
dark rum to taste ( I used about 2 tablesoons.)

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes until the filling is thick. Cool completely.

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Frosting: 

1 stick of butter (room temperature)
4.5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon dark rum
4 tablespoons coconut milk

Beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in coconut extract and rum. Mix in coconut milk until you reach the desired consistency.

 

Decorating inspiration:

http://www.cookingclassy.com/2016/03/pina-colada-cupcakes/

I decorated these cupcakes with maraschino cherries, a slice of pineapple, and colorful umbrellas (of course!). I saw another recipe that used grilled pineapples, which also looked intriguing. If I make these again, I’ll definitely try grilling the slices.

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Perfect treat for a hot summer day, even without a tropical beach. Aloha!
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I finally got to try out the lovely dessert stand my best friend (and fellow baking enthusiast) got me for Christmas.
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