Gluten-Free Pineapple & Coconut Cupcakes

New team at work, new birthdays, new likes/dislikes/allergies. We have a coeliac and someone who is allergic to peanuts, and while the coeliac is fine with missing out on cake (she’s used to it, poor thing) I don’t think anyone should have to miss out if they don’t have to. So here we have some gluten-free (and peanut-free) cupcakes.

pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

This is a recipe I’ve not used before, plus the added gluten-free factor meant that I was really worried these might not work out, but they seem to be pretty good! I tried making the pineapple flowers to add a bit of sparkle and they were surprisingly easy and delicious. If I were to do this again though, I’d make the pineapple flowers first and let them cool while I made the cakes.

3 cups plain gluten-free flour (or regular flour, if you like)
2 teaspoons baking powder
250g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
440g tin crushed pineapple, drained (reserve the juice as you may need it later)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla well. Add the eggs one at a time and beat lightly between each addition. Sift in the flour and baking powder in two batches, and fold in to the batter. Add the pineapple and the coconut and mix well. I found the batter to be really thick, so I added about 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice as well, and could probably have added more.

Spoon batter into lined cupcake tins and bake at 180C for about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes 24.

pineapple flowers

Pineapple Flowers – you will need a whole fresh pineapple for these. Cut the skin off and take out the eyes. Slice into rounds as thinly as you possibly can. Make a sugar syrup by melting 2 tablespoons of sugar into 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan, and boiling briefly. Brush the pineapple slices with the syrup and lay on wire oven racks. Dry in an oven at 120C for about an hour. Take the pineapple off the racks and push them into mini muffin trays (or egg cartons) to shape them, and allow to cool.

I made a cream cheese icing, and decorated the cakes with toasted coconut as well as the pineapple flowers. Yum! And cute!!

pineapple cupcake


Gin & Tonic Cupcakes

It’s been far too long since these were last made, and I had a baby shower/birthday party for a gin lover to attend today, so I had the perfect excuse. They are easy, just a tweak of my usual cupcake recipe, and they may sound strange but are actually delicious.


The tonic is in the cake, and the gin is in the icing. The flavours are subtle. I’ll be (possibly) slightly controversial with the gin snobs out there and say that it doesn’t really matter what type of gin you use, it’s only a small amount.

250g butter, at room temperature
2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
1 cup tonic water
3 cups self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time and beat briefly after each addition. Add the flour and the tonic water in 2 batches, and fold into the mixture. Spoon into lined cupcake trays and bake for about 25 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool before icing.

I make a basic buttercream to ice them and add about 50ml of gin and some lime juice to taste. This time I also sprinkled some green coloured sugar on top for a bit of fun.

Image 9-03-13 at 6.15 PM

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

Whipped up some pretty little cakes for afternoon tea at work today – my usual vanilla cupcake recipe that I’ve mentioned on here before – but I used strawberry flavour and pink colouring in the buttercream icing. I was inspired by the packet of strawberries & cream lollies that I found tucked away in our pantry!

Super easy to make, and they were well received by my colleagues…


If I’d had the time and ingredients to hand, I would have decorated these with some whipped cream as well, and some fresh strawberries! Also maybe swirled some strawberry jam through the batter before baking for a bit of sweet colour.

Last Minute Colourful Cupcakes

I received a last minute request from my hairdressers this week for 2 dozen cupcakes and I love those guys so I couldn’t say no! They were really easy going about it too, didn’t care what flavour I made, just that there should be a bit of colour. Because I didn’t have a lot of time (I needed to make these on a Friday night but I was also going out for dinner and drinks beforehand) I decided to keep it simple. I made these vanilla/vanilla cupcakes because I knew they would work, and to make them colourful I used bold coloured cupcake liners and decorated them with 100’s & 1000’s.

I discovered a great way to do the decoration without spilling the 100’s & 1000’s everywhere was to keep it all contained in a plastic box. Ice the cakes, put them in the box, tip the sprinkles over the top, let them sit for a minute, shake off the excess*. Easy, pretty, tasty!

*Tip: I learned from experience when shaking off the excess sprinkles, be really careful not to let go of the cupcake or it falls and completely squidges the icing and you have to start all over again, and that’s a bit annoying.

Coconut Butterfly Cakes

This is a regular cake recipe which I turned into cupcakes. The normal recipe makes 2 round cakes which are then sandwiched together with jam and cream, so to make them individually I turned them into butterfly cakes. Cute and delicious.

270ml coconut milk
1 ½ desiccated  coconut
200g butter
1 1/3 caster sugar
4 eggs
1 2/3 self-raising flour
strawberry jam
whipped cream 

Mix the coconut and the coconut milk together in a small saucepan over medium heat until it reaches a simmer. Take it off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Sift in 1/3 cup of the flour and fold it in to the batter with a large metal spoon. Fold in the coconut mixture, and then the rest of the flour until all combined. Spoon into lined cupcake trays, bake at 180C for about 30 minutes, until golden on top. Cool on wire racks.

Assemble the cakes just prior to serving, otherwise they go a bit soggy and sad. Using a sharp knife, cut out a round section from the top of the cupcake.

Fill the hole with jam, and then a dollop of cream. (I cheated a little and used the whipped cream in a can from the supermarket)

Take the piece that was cut out of the cupcake and slice it in half, then set these halves on an angle in the cream to make the butterfly wings. Enjoy!

These can be made using any cupcake recipe that you like – vanilla, chocolate, whatever… All yummy!

Vanilla/Vanilla Bridal Tea Cupcakes

A colleague is about to get married, and just before she finished work for a few weeks her team decided to throw her a bridal morning tea. They asked me to supply some cupcakes if possible, and of course I agreed! So last week we all brought in a plate of food and turned one of the conference rooms into a girly, high tea style, bridal party room.

I wanted to make something ‘pretty’ and appropriate, but I was limited by the time and ingredients that I had available, so I decided on vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream but with a girly decorative twist. I’ve started experimenting with the piped buttercream icing, and I’m learning how to make the cakes look somewhat like roses! (added chocolate heart shapes and silver cachous for extra pretty)

The cakes themselves were very easy:

250g soft butter
2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 180C. Cream butter, add sugar and vanilla, cream again. Add eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Mix in half the flour. Add the rest of the flour and the milk, and mix until just combined. Fill cupcake tray sections about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Standard vanilla buttercream icing was used, and the secret to the ‘roses’ is to pipe in a circular pattern starting from the middle moving outwards.

They went down a treat!

Easter Chocolate Cupcakes

We had a big Easter celebration on our final day of work before the break – there was an Easter bonnet parade and competition, some lucky door prizes, the Easter Bunny made an appearance, and of course there was a heap of food! I made these chocolate cupcakes, and  they fitted right in with the theme for the day.

I used the same recipe for the cakes as I did for the Chocolate and Rosewater Cupcakes, and I made a very chocolatey buttercream icing (extra cocoa!) to pipe on top. I then decorated them with crushed Cadbury Flake bars, and popped a couple of mini chocolate eggs on top of it all to finish them off!