I just realized that since I was a kid I've been saying that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue on the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. I was wrong, of course, for all these years. It was the Niña. I feel foolish.
To my credit, I've always pronounced piña correctly, though I guess I've never used it in any context other than piña colada. You can't ignore that tilde, folks!
That, in case you were confused, was my segue into these piña-colada-inspired cucpakes. There's lots of coconut involved in both the cupcakes and the frosting, and the filling is basically pineapple flambeed in rum. Yowza.
So...maybe these are so outstanding that I'll be forgiven for my tilde transgression?
coconut buttercream frosting
- 8 slices pineapple
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup rum
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- Pinch of salt
To make the filling, first stack the pineapple slices and cut into quarters, then into a small dice. Heat sugar in a large skillet over medium-high, stirring, until sugar melts and turns golden brown. Add pineapple; toss. Carefully pour in rum; immediately tilt skillet slight to ignite alcohol. (If using an electric stove, use a long match to ignite alcohol.) When flames subside and caramel melts, carefully stir in cream, orange juice, and vanilla-bean seeds. Reduce heat to medium; boil, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Fold in the coconut. Let this stuff cool completely before using or storing.
Make the cupcakes and frosting as instructed in my earlier post.
To fill the cooled cupcakes, carve out a cone-shaped hole and carefully spoon the pineapple-coconut innards into the hole. Apply frosting generously to cupcakes, sprinkle with toasted coconut, and eagerly stuff your face full of piña goodness.