Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream

from Emily (who loves food)

The taste of the tropics in one beautiful little cupcake. Chunks of pineapple, flecks of coconut, topped of with THE BEST coconut buttercream you will ever try. Ever. So fragrant and coconutty and delish.

The secret?

Coconut cream.

A couple of tablespoons of in the frosting, and a little more in the cake, heralds a soft, fluffy, authentic coconut flavour without the need for tablespoons of metalic tasting coconut essence. Perfect for birthdays, parties, or just eating in general.

The ‘cream’ in your can of coconut cream is the thick bit on the top, so it’s important not to shake the can before opening. This recipe will leave you with about 1/2 can left over, which is perfect for thai curries later in the week.

I made these for my friend’s birthdays – luckily, within a week of each other. Half went to Emma, who has since been pestering me for the recipe, and the rest are going to Annabel tonight.

How, you ask?

The freezer is the answer.

Because buttercream is totally, 100% freezable. Forget throwing away half the batch when you totally overestimate your cake’s capacity for frosting: pop it in a plastic bag, stick it in the freezer and it’ll be ready when you want it – simply stick it in the fridge the night before, and bring to room temperature before baking.

Cupcakes themselves are equally freezable – again, just stick ’em in the fridge the night before, and bring them to room temperature in the morning to avoid soggy cake.

As with any frozen thing though, there’s no back and forth. Once it’s defrosted, you have to use it – there’s no re-freezing.

Anyway – these cuppies are definitely worth your time. You could spice them up witha  bit of maibu, but I personally love them as they are. A little slice of the holidays in the middle of your working week.




Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream – Makes 18 cupcakes

Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 18-22 mins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (the runny bit) diluted with 1/2 cup water
  • 440g can chopped pineapple peices, drained
  • 2/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup reserved coconut cream (the thick bit on the top)
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut essence
  • dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 180c, and line 18 muffin holes with cupcake cases.

Take your can of coconut cream, and open without shaking. Using a spoon, remove 1/4 cup of the dense, creamy portion at the top of the can, and reserve for the frosting.

Take 1/2 cup of the remaining runny coconut cream, and dilute it with 1/2 cup of water. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, comine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Again, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars for 2-3 mins, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 min after each new addition, or until the mixture turns billowy and slightly moussey in texture.

Add a third of the flour mixture, and mix on a low speed until just combined. Pour in half of the diluted coconut cream, again, mixing until just incorporated. Repeat the process, finishing with the last third of the dry mixture.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and fold in the coconut and pineapple pieces.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling to about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 mins, or until lightly coloured and springy when touched.

Cool for at least 30 mins before frosting.


To prepare the frosting, beat the butter and coconut cream until creamy and well combined – about 2 mins. Add in half the icing sugar, and beat for about 3 mins, until it reaches a billowy, stiff texture.

Add in the vanilla and coconut essences with a dash of salt, turn the mixer back on and gradually add in the remaining icing sugar, until you get a firm frosting with a smooth finish.

If you find the frosting is too thin, add more icicing sugar. Too thick? Add a splash of milk.

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