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Pina Colada Cupcakes

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The first time I made these cupcakes it was for a friend's graduation party.  They have quickly become one of my favorites.  Its an easy adaptation to a box mix that looks & tastes amazing. :)
 
 
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Step 1: Mise En Place

Picture of Mise En Place

Also known as getting all your stuff together.  Before you begin make sure you have everything you need. 
*One box Cake Mix [For this recipe I like Golden Yellow]
*Eggs
*Oil
*Butter
*Vanilla, Rum, & Coconut Extract
*Confectioner's Sugar
*Shortening
*1 small can crushed Pineapple
*Maraschino Cherries
*Shredded Coconut & Flaked Coconut [I use two different ones for inside and garnish, but you can use the same for either]
*1 Whole Pineapple
*milk

Don't Forget to Preheat your oven! Otherwise later you'll be sitting around waiting :)

Step 2: Mix the Cake

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Drain the pineapple into a measuring cup. [Save your liquid! it will replace water and add flavor :D ]

Combine water to pineapple juice to get necessary amount of water.  i.e. - 1 1/4 cups water required, 1/2 cup pineapple juice + 3/4 cup water = 1 1/4 cup liquid! :)

In addition to eggs, oil, water, and pineapple juice, I also added 1/4 TSP Rum Extract, 1/2 TSP Coconut Extract, and 1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract for a nice Pina Colada Flavor.

Combine cake mix, crushed pineapple, and liquids in a mixer.  Mix on low until almost combined, about 30 seconds.

Add shredded coconut and mix on medium speed 2 minutes.

Step 3: Scoop + Bake

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Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.  They can be festive and colorful or simple and white.  The tops of the cupcakes will be so festive that it won't matter.

Fill liners 2/3 full with cupcake batter.  I like using a scoop.  It's a little easier and it ensures almost the same amount in each.

Bake cupcakes according to box directions.

When they're golden and fluffy, they're done. YAY! Now it's time to wait for them to cool.

Step 4: Make the frosting

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Combine 2 sticks butter and 1 stick of vegetable shortening in mixer.  Beat until smooth.
Add 1/2 TSP. Vanilla, 1/2 TSP Coconut, and 1/4 TSP Rum Extract.
Add a pinch of Salt. Mix.

Add 2 lbs. Confectioner's Sugar and mix till smooth.

Add a splash of milk to get frosting to the consistency you want.

Fit a pastry bag with a tip [basically, cut off the end of the bag and put a tip in]. Fill the bag and now it's time to decorate!

Step 5:

Put a nice rosette [swirl] of frosting on each cupcake.

Toast up some coconut flakes for around the outside.  This won't take too long, but it needs to cool before you can put it on the cupcakes.  Simply spread it out on a sheet pan and put it in an oven.  It doesn't have to be too hot, just be careful not to forget it in the oven or you will have a burnt, crunchy mess.

Prep the cherries by taking them out of the jar and putting them on a paper towel.  This will remove the excess liquid so that you don't get a red runny ring in your icing, but don't worry it will still have all the delicious cherry flavor. :)

To cut your pineapple.  Firmly grasp the leaves and the base and twist in opposite directions.  With a little force, they should twist apart leaving you with just the fruit base.

Begin slicing the pineapple.  Once you've removed the first layer, You're ready to start getting the good stuff that you will use to top your cupcakes.

Cut another slice, thinner tends to stay in the icing better, but you can make it as chunky as you want. 
To get lovely little triangle toppers, Cut that slice in half, then each half in half again, then once again in thirds. [you will go from 1 slice, to 2 halves, to 4 quarters, to 12 triangles. . .the pictures make it easy to follow :D ]

You should only need to do this about 2 times to get enough for 1 batch of cupcakes.  If your triangles are too long, or the core isn't quite soft enough, just cut the tip off but make sure to keep the outside rind intact for visual appeal :)

Now you're ready to put it all together . . .

Step 6: Decorate and Enjoy!

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Put toasted coconut around the edges, a slice of pineapple in the top and a cherry.

Ta-Da! You've made super delicious Pina Colada Cupcakes that you can share with your friends, strangers, or anyone that loves cupcakes [ and who doesn't love cupcakes?!]
They're gorgeous! And I bet they taste as good as they look. :)
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