Recipe: Grand Central's Pina Colada Cupcakes
For the Pineapple Cakes
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks butter, unsalted at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained well
Coconut Rum Buttercream (recipe below)
Toasted sweetened shredded coconut, for garnish, optional
Pineapple wedges and cocktail umbrella, for garnish, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with oven rack in middle position. Line lightly greased muffin tins with paper cups.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 6 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape as needed. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
5. Add one-third of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Add a third of the buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Continue to alternate with flour and buttermilk two more times. Scrape sides of bowl. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the crushed pineapple.
6. Distribute the batter evenly between the cups, filling each one about 2/3 full.
7. Bake until cake springs back when lightly pressed or skewer comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and rest 5 minutes.
8. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool on wire rack until completely cool to the touch before frosting.
Coconut Rum Buttercream Frosting
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
6 tablespoons water
6 large egg whites
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
5 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons light rum
1. Combine 1 cup sugar and the water in a medium-size heavy saucepan.
2. Heat over medium high, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Wash down sides of pan with a brush dipped in water. Place candy thermometer in the sugar syrup, clip to side of saucepan.
3. While sugar syrup is cooking, in a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks; stop mixer and check sugar syrup.
4. When sugar syrup reaches firm ball stage (250 degrees), remove from heat and add in increments to egg whites, stopping machine while adding the syrup and beating for 5 seconds between each addition. Once all sugar syrup has been added, beat on high speed slightly cooled, about 2 to 5 minutes.
5. Beat in the butter at medium speed, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time. Once all butter has been incorporated, turn mixer to low speed and slowly drizzle in coconut cream and rum. Increase to high speed and beat until completely incorporated and buttercream is light and fluffy.