After my party was over, there were a few varieties of cupcakes that were leftover. I photographed those singularly, and posted the recipes to them (Fuzzy Navel, Limoncello, Mojito, Margarita) in the past month. So I didn't have a really nice photo of the remaining varieties (Irish Car Bomb, Mudslide and Pina Colada), and thought maybe I wouldn't blog about them. But then I realized that if those were the varieties with no leftovers, it means they were the most popular, and I should certainly blog them! In the photo above, the Pina Colada are the 4th level from the top, with the cherry on top.
All of the cupcakes I made were a first run except for the Pina Colada, my first variation can be found here. In the previous recipe, I used a coconut cake, pineapple rum filling, and coconut buttercream. I didn't change the recipe too much this time, but there are a few adjustments. These include adding rum to the cake batter, not using a filling, and instead adding caramelized rum pineapple to the buttercream and omitting the coconut milk. Also, obviously the garnish changed from toasted coconut to cherries, which I think add more color and a whimsical feel.
Either way, you can't go wrong with these cupcakes.... but if I had to choose, I liked this variety better. The buttercream was less stiff, more buttery and gooey. I also don't like straight up buttercream, the pineapple adds a nice change. One note - be sure to crush it very well or it can clog your piping tip!
Pina Colada Cupcakes
(Rum Coconut Cake with Caramelized Pineapple Buttercream)
3 sticks of butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour (I used closer to 3.5)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. rum
8 oz. unsweetened coconut, flaked
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl down as needed.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts, baking powder and soda and salt.
Combine the buttermilk and rum in a measuring cup.
Alternately, add the flour and buttermilk mixture to the mixer on low speed, starting and ending with flour.
(With this recipe, I have found that I tend to need a bit more flour that Ina specifies so the cupcakes dome properly and stay dense, she doesn't include weight measurements, which would help)
Line a muffin tin with 24 cups, fill each cup 2/3 full.
Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until golden brown and set.
(This batter gets closer to 30 cupcakes for me)
Caramelized Pineapple Buttercream
2 cups fresh pineapple, finely diced
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. spiced rum or 1/2 c. rum + 1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 sticks of butter, softened, separated
2 lbs. powdered sugar
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick of butter.
Add pineapple and brown sugar with a pinch of salt, cook for 10 minutes, or until pineapple is golden brown and caramelized.
Turn heat to high, add rum and reduce until liquid is almost evaporated.
Remove from heat, add vanilla extract, stir, cool for 10 minutes.
Add to a dish and refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.
Add 1 1/2 sticks of butter to a stand mixer, cream.
Slowly add powdered sugar, 1/2 c. at a time, if mixture gets too thick, add a touch of cream.
When all sugar is combined with the butter, add the pineapple mixture and mix to combine.
Spoon into a piping bag and ice cupcakes, top with cherries.
Freezer leftover buttercream in an airtight ziplock freezer bag for up to 3 months (I had about 2 cups of extra buttercream).