Pina colada, which translates to "strained pineapple," is a cocktail that is traditionally made with white rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. It is also the national drink of Puerto Rico (they even have a holiday for it.) Combining the bright and vibrant citrus flavors from pineapple juice and the heavy and oily flavors of coconut cream creates a perfect balance that tastes as refreshing as an ocean breeze. After a recent trip to the beach, I decided that I wanted to create a vegan pina colada cupcake recipe that anyone can enjoy. This recipe is inspired by these fantastic vegan vanilla cake and vegan "butter"cream recipes by Gretchen's Vegan Bakery. Although this recipe may look intimidating, it can be easily broken down into smaller steps. For example, you can make the cupcakes in advance and store the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Vegan Pina Colada Cupcakes

  • Prep Time:3 hrs
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:3 hrs 20 mins
  • Servings:18
  • Medium


  • For the cupcakes:
  • 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 cups hot water
  • For the filling:
  • 14 ounce can chilled unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup strained crushed pineapple
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 stick Earth Balance buttery sticks
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Jordi Almeida
  • Step 1

    Make the cupcakes:
    Preheat oven to 350ºF
    In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

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  • Step 2

    In a separate bowl, stir the hot water, coconut oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract until the coconut oil has fully dissolved.

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  • Step 3

    Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until it just comes together (about 15-20 strokes.)

    Jordi Almeida
  • Step 4

    Fill the cupcake molds halfway and bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.

    #SpoonTip: If you pour the cupcake batter into a liquid measuring cup, it makes it much easier to control the flow of the batter.

    Jordi Almeida
  • Step 5

    Make the filling:
    Take the chilled coconut milk and scoop out the coconut solids into a large bowl, discarding the remaining liquid. Add the powdered sugar, strained crushed pineapple, and vanilla extract and whisk vigorously until thickened and fully incorporated.

    Jordi Almeida
  • Step 6

    With a knife, make a crater in the center of the cupcake with a knife or spoon.

    #SpoonTip: Use an apple corer if you have one, it makes this process much easier.

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  • Step 7

    Pour the filling into the cupcake.

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  • Step 8

    Make the frosting:
    In a large bowl, add the Earth Balance, vegetable shortening and beat on high speed for about 5 minutes.

    #SpoonTip: Ensure that the butter and shortening are at room temperature to make mixing easier.

    Jordi Almeida
  • Step 9

    Add the sifted powdered sugar, pineapple juice, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.

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  • Step 10

    Fill a piping bag or plastic storage bag with frosting.

    #SpoonTip: You can place the piping bag in a tall cup and fold over the edges of the plastic on the cup to fill the bag much easier.

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  • Step 11

    Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.

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  • Step 12

    Decorate with desired toppings and enjoy!

    #SpoonTip: These cupcakes are best when served cold. The frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When ready to serve, take out the cupcakes about an hour before to allow the frosting to soften.

    Jordi Almeida

Now that you have a fantastic vegan pina colada cupcake in your hands, you can top of your at home beach experience with these watermelon and guava skewers or this personal 6-minute peach cobbler.