food & drink · recipes

Coconut & Pineapple Cupcakes

So here it is; the first of what will hopefully be many recipes. These went down a treat at yesterday’s birthday/leaving party. Along with these, I also made Cinnamon & Apple Cupcakes, and I shall be sharing that recipe soon as well. I really enjoyed making these; they have a lovely tropical taste that would be just perfect for a summer picnic.


The cupcakes consist of a vanilla and coconut sponge filled with home-made pineapple jam, then topped off with a vanilla cream-cheese frosting. I finished them off with a dusting of white sugar sprinkles and colourful hundreds-and-thousands.

Time for the Pineapple Jam!

The cooling cupcakes...

Find the (image heavy) recipe under the cut.

I had the idea for a pineapple filling in a cupcake after my boyfriend’s flatmate gave me some little pineapple-filled Singaporean pastries during Chinese New Year. You might be able to buy pineapple jam in a supermarket, but I’ve yet to come across it in the major stores and I didn’t have the chance to search Chinatown before making these. Devising a quick recipe was easy enough, though.

For the Pineapple Jam

  • 1 ripe pineapple
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (lemon should work just as well)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  1.  Cut off the top and bottom of your pineapple with a large knife and discard, then remove the skin, taking care not to remove too much of the flesh. Discard the skin as well. Carefully cut the flesh from the hard core -discard the core too- then cut the flesh into 1 to 2cm cubes.
  2. Add the cubes to a blender or food processor, and blend. If you want a smooth jam, blend until puréed. If not, then blend until most of the cubes have vanished.
  3. Heat a wok or large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the blended pineapple, then stir in the granulated sugar, the lime juice and the cinnamon.
  4. Boil off all of the liquid – this may take a while, so you might want to make the cupcakes whilst waiting. After an hour, most of the liquid should be gone and you should have something like:

    Pineapple Jam
    Don’t worry about the pineapple sticking to the pan. I found the sugars in the fruit added to the flavour when left to caramelise.
  5. At this stage, I turned the heat up to medium-to-high. With a silicon spatula or wooden spoon, star folding and stirring the jam until it thickens and darkens in the colour. How thick and dark you’d like the jam is really up to you, but remember that it will thicken a little more when left to cool.
  6. When thickened, remove from the heat. If using straight away in the cupcakes, then simply transfer to a bowl and refrigerate. If you plan to use the jam at a later date (I really need to try this on toast) then transfer to empty jam jars whilst the mixture is still hot.

For the Coconut Cupcakes (adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes)
(Makes 12)

As I was going to being filling the cupcakes with a sweetened jam, I reduced the amount of sugar from the original recipe. Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe also called for whole milk, but I substituted semi-skimmed milk. The cupcakes still came out beautifully light and fluffy.

  • 120 g plain flour
  • 40g dessicated coconut
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 120 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1⁄4 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C / 325°F / Gas 3. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases and set aside.
  2. Add the flour, dessicated coconut, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in to a bowl. Using a free-standing mixer, or hand-held whisk, beat until sandy in consistency and everything is combined.
  3. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
  4. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate jug, then pour into the flour mixture. Mix until incorporated, then mix for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth.

    Coconut Cake Mixture
    There’ll be some small lumps from the coconut, but the rest of the mixture should be smooth. Just be careful not to over mix it, or the cakes might not rise nicely.
  5. Spoon into the paper cases until two-thirds full, and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until lightly golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.

    Cupcakes in the making
    I found these cute polka-dot paper cases in the 99p store; sadly, the pattern and colour doesn’t show up too well in the photo. In eat set, there were 50 blue, and 50 pink cases. (Ignore the little accident in the top right…)
  6. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray for a few minutes, then turn onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.The cooling cupcakes

For the Cream-cheese Frosting 

  • 125g low fat cream-cheese
  • 30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g to 400g icing sugar
  1. In a mixer or using a hand-held whisk, cream together the cream-cheese, unsalted butter and vanilla extract, taking care not to over beat and melt the cheese.
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar in thirds, and mix thoroughly before adding the next third.
    Adding the Icing Sugar
    I find adding the icing sugar bit-by-bit reduces the chance of lumps appearing in the frosting.

    Making the Frosting
    Who doesn’t love an action shot?
  3. The end product shouldn’t be runny, so add the extra icing sugar if needed. It should thick enough to form peaks in the bowl, and should cling to the whisk.

    Yummy Frosting
    Little mountains of sweet, frosted goodness.

Assembling the cupcakes:

  1. Using a teaspoon, carefully remove the top of your cupcake. Take care not cut too deep; you don’t want your jam to fall out of the bottom!
  2. Pop 3/4 teaspoon of pineapple jam into the hole, then replace the top of the cake. Don’t worry if it sticks up, as the frosting will cover up the seams.

    Easy peasy~
    As easy as one, two, three~!
  3. To ice the cupcakes, top each cupcake with a generous teaspoon of frosting. With a small pallet knife, or the back of a teaspoon, spread the frosting over the top of the cake. If you find the frosting sticks to the pallet knife/spoon when you’re trying to spread it, then try dipping the knife/spoon in hot water before hand. Remember to shake off any large droplets. (If spreading melted chocolate, heating the knife also helps, but remember to dry to knife fully to avoid making the chocolate cloudy). The heat and slight damp should make the frosting more manageable – thank you to my Nana for the tip!
  4. If adding sprinkles or any other decoration, do so before the frosting sets. I forgot to at first, so only half of my cupcakes had sprinkles in the end. ):

    Aren't they adorable?
    Even without the sprinkles, they tasted amazing.

Enjoy! I’d love to see the results if anyone has a go at making these!


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