Chef Penny's Piña Colada Cupcake

Chef Penny's Piña Colada Cupcakes

Coconut, rum and pineapple are key in this boozy dessert recipe.

In this week's episode of Epicurious' 4 Levels videos, Chef Penny Stankiewicz demonstrates a pro cupcake inspired by piña colada to capture the feeling of vacation.

One of the secrets of Chef Penny's recipe is overemphasizing the coconut flavor with high-quality canned coconut milk for richness, coconut extract and toasted coconut. There's plenty of pineapple in the forms of puree, powder and garnish, including dehydrated fruit for concentrated flavor.

Chef Penny uses a sous vide immersion circulator to make her 12-hour dulce de leche filling and turns Italian meringue into boozy buttercream complete with rum and vanilla bean. She soaked cherries in Aperol, rum, sugar and vanilla bean for four days for her garnish and torches pineapple slices to top the treat off. Another secret ingredient, lime zest brightens the light, airy coconut cake.

Watch the video for more pro tips and get the complete cupcake recipe below.


Piña Colada Cupcakes

Yields 12 cupcakes


  • 240 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces butter
  • 290 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 yolks
  • 5 ounces coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 90 grams sweetened coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and sift together.
  3. Combine vanilla extract, coconut extract and coconut milk. ​
  4. Place room temperature butter in the bowl of a stand mixer along with the sugar and lime zest.
  5. Cream with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add eggs and yolks one at a time.
  7. Alternate adding the flour and liquid, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  8. Stir in sweetened coconut.
  9. Use a yellow scoop (#20) to dish out batter into cupcake pans lined with papers.
  10. Bake until set and lightly golden brown around the edges and the center is set and springs back to the touch, 17-25 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool completely before icing.

Study with Chef Penny in our Pastry & Baking Arts program.

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