Cupcake Negotiations

On Friday while shopping at Costco with my husband, a glorious three tiered stackable cupcake carrier caught my attention.  My eyes lit up, and I gasped in delight! Following my gaze, Tyler caught sight of the object of my desire. I oohed and awed over it for for a bit and then we continued on towards check-out, but I kept talking about how cool it was. Tyler then threw out an offer of letting me get it, if I baked him enough cupcakes to fill it (36) the next day. I was tempted but voiced my concerns over not getting my homework done if I spent a bunch of time baking.  He responded, “Alright… Guess you’ll have to hope they still have it next month when we come back…” This caused concern because Costco is often swapping out the items that they have available, so you can never be sure if something will still be there the next time you go (especially when you only go once a month like we do). So I agreed to the offered negotiation from my husband and hurried to go retrieve the carrier and add it to our cart.

The next day I decided to make Piña Colada Cupcakes, consisting of a Coconut Brown Sugar Cake, Pineapple Rum Filling, and Coconut Frosting with just a pinch of lime zest and a small lime wedge on top. I have made the brown sugar cupcakes a few times before, and they have always turned out great, so I just adapted it slightly by replacing the milk the recipe called for with coconut milk.  I will give the recipe for a dozen cupcakes, since not all of you will be needing to meet the requirement of 36 cupcakes like I had to.

Coconut Brown Sugar Cake

(adapted from Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts)


  • 1 1/2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 Cup (6 1/4 ounces) firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used golden brown because thats what I had on hand)
  • 1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon (2 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 (3 ounces by weight) large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup whole milk (I substituted coconut milk)


Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a 12-cup standard nonstick muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.  Add the salt and set aside.  In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and brown and granulated sugars on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated.  Beat in the vanilla.

On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions and the milk (or coconut milk) in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and beating after each addition for about 15 seconds, or until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin-pan cups. (I used a pastry bag to fill them, it gives me greater control over how much I fill each cup and seems to cut down on drips that end up all over when I try to spoon the batter into them.)

Bake the cupcakes, rotating the pan after about 10 minutes, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, gently loosen the cupcakes from the pan, and then let them cool completely in the pan before removing them.

Pineapple Rum Filling-FAIL

I didn’t refer to anything for creating this, I just decided to be inventive.  I heated Rum, Pineapple juice, and sugar in a sauce pot and added corn starch mixed with a little cold water and let it thicken up.  It wasn’t terrible but it also wasn’t amazing, so I didn’t end up using it.  Suddenly my Piña Colada Cupcakes were missing a crucial element to receiving that name, and therefore were re-titled: Coconut Cupcakes. Not as fancy, but it would do. Since I didn’t end up filling these cupcakes, I will leave the instructions on how to fill a cupcake for another day… so stay tuned!

Coconut Frosting

(adapted from Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts)


  • 6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 3 ounces (about 1/3 Cup) cream cheese, softened but still cool (I used ricotta cheese as an experiment, and it turned out very yummy but not as smooth as it would be with cream cheese)
  • 3 Cups (12 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons (2 1/4 ounces by weight) coconut milk
  • coconut shavings ( You can either incorporate them into frosting or just garnish cupcakes with them at the end.  I incorporated mine into the frosting)


In a bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand-held mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Sift 1 1/2 Cups (6 ounces) of the powdered sugar into the bowl and stir until smooth.  Pour in 2 Tablespoons of the coconut milk and again stir until smooth.  Repeat with the remaining powdered sugar, followed by the remaining coconut milk. Add and incorporate coconut shavings if desired. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days and let come to room temperature before using. You should have about 2 Cups.

Once I finished all the cupcakes, I got to use my wonderful new cupcake carrier to deliver cupcakes to a bunch of my friends. (I convinced Tyler that there was no way we were going to eat 36 cupcakes, and that we needed to share them.) I think food is best when shared with lots of people that you love!

And here is my prize! Hooray! Now I can bring the joy of baked goods to the masses with ease. It can transport 36 cupcakes with the stackable cupcake inserts, or you can place the included little plastic sheets onto the stackable layers and be able to store cookie, brownies, etc. on the flat surface, or you can leave out the inserts all together, and transport a large layered cake.


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