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There’s an updated (read: better) recipe for these cupcakes at my dedicated food/recipe site FiestaFriday.net. Check it out!

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Look what my daughter is bringing to school tomorrow!

pineapple coconut cupcake

Why didn’t my mother make me this when I was small? Just kidding, Mom! I know how busy you were, raising 4 children and running a business. Thank goodness you didn’t get stuck in the kitchen. We wouldn’t have been able to receive the kind of education and privileges you and Pop afforded us, otherwise. I don’t think I’ve ever said it, but thank you!

My daughter, on the other hand, is equally happy having a mother who is stuck in the kitchen. At least I hope so. She was beaming as she looked at the cupcakes. That tells me something.

pineapple coconut cupcakes2

No doubt many of you have seen the beautiful dried pineapple flowers atop cupcakes, perhaps in Martha Stewart’s cupcakes book, or her online site, or other sources. Certainly I’m not taking credit to be the first in showing you how to make these. But I think I’ve come up with the easiest method.

dried pineapple flower

dried pineapple flowers

Most instructions ask you to use a small melon baller to gouge each of the pineapple eyes. Quite sadistic, don’t you think? If you’re into that sort of thing, go ahead. Have a field day!

I prefer the less time-consuming method of either peeling the pineapple thickly to remove all eyes altogether in a few strokes, or making v-shaped cuts all along the rows of eyes, removing multiple eyes at once. If that sounds confusing, here’s a photo to show what I mean.

how to cut off pineapple eyes

By the way, I like smaller pineapples for this project. Small pineapples = smaller flowers = perfect for cupcakes.

Once all eyes are removed, the pineapple is then sliced thinly into round pieces. The thinner, the better. It’ll cut down on drying time.

pineapple slices

Now, you have a choice. Either dry these slices in the oven, which means you’ll have to watch closely and most likely have to flip every 30 minutes. Most instructions tell you to. And then, you might have to deal with uneven temperature spots in the oven, if your oven is as old as mine.

I prefer a simpler fool-proof method. Using a dehydrator. Plus I didn’t want to babysit a hot oven. This way, you can leave your pineapple slices in the dehydrator and forget about them for at least 5 hours. Take a nap, go shopping, read a book, what ever you like to do.

After 5 hours, turn over the slices. Then take a nap, go shopping, read a book, whatever you like to do, for another 5 hours. (The total drying time depends on the thickness of your slices and your dehydrator, of course. I’m just telling you what I did with mine.)

After 10 hours, the pineapple slices should be dry, but still pliable. This is when you want to shape them to look like flowers. The easiest way to do this is to place them in a muffin pan so that the edges curve up to form a cup. Leave them overnight until they hold their shape.

dried pineapple flowers

You can use them to decorate cakes or cupcakes, just like what I did with these pineapple coconut cupcakes. Now, who wouldn’t be excited to bring these to school? I know, my son! Too girly, you think? I’ll make him prickly cactus cupcakes next time!

pineapple coconut cupcakes

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar + 1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
3 tbsp buttermilk or coconut milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup crushed pineapple, well-drained
1/2 cup coconut flakes (sweetened)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F, line muffin pans with paper cups.
2. Reserve 2/3 cup of juice from crushed pineapple.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and coconut flakes.
4. In a large bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, add egg yolks, vanilla, and buttermilk, beat well.
5. Add the flour mixture and reserved juice alternately, beat until well blended. Fold in crushed pineapple.
6. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. (Make sure you use clean beaters!) Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, adding a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.
7. Fill lined muffin cups 2/3 full.
8. Bake for 20 minutes.
9. Let cupcakes cool completely prior to icing. Decorate with toasted coconut flakes and dried pineapple flowers.

There’s an updated (read: better) recipe for these cupcakes at my dedicated food/recipe site FiestaFriday.net. Check it out!

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