Recipe Thursdays: Classic Piña Colada

"Colada" is actually Spanish for "strained." In addition to the famous Piña Colada — the offical beverage of Puerto Rico — any sweet, rum-based cocktail blended with crushed ice can claim to be a colada. Here's the Classic Piña Colada recipe from The Little Pink Book of Frozen Drinks by Virginia Reynolds.

Classic Piña Colada

1-1/2 oz. golden rum
1-1/2 oz. coconut cream
4 oz. pineapple juice
About 1 cup ice cubes

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until slushy.
2. Pour into a chilled parfait glass or half coconut shell.
3. Garnish with pineapple chunks and a cherry.

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Recipe Thursdays! Piña Colada Cupcakes

Welcome to Recipe Thursdays! Each week, we'll share a recipe from one of our books. We thought we'd start with a fun treat that's perfect for these sunny summer days. This week's recipe is from our friends at Sweet Cupcakes in Boston, Massachusetts, and our Sweet Little Book of Cupcakes.

Piña Colada Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

You’ll love this virgin cupcake version of the tropical cocktail. Topped off with mini paper parasols, they're a real crowd pleaser!

Pineapple Preserves
Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes
Coconut Buttercream Frosting

• 2 pastry bags and tip, or knife
• 12 cocktail umbrellas (optional)

1. Prepare the Pineapple Preserves and let cool in the refrigerator.
2. Prepare the Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes as directed and let cool.
3. Once preserves are cool, make a small cut to the tip of a pastry bag with scissors. Flip the top half of the bag inside out, and use a spatula to fill it with the preserves. Squeeze some of the preserves out to rid the bag of any air pockets.
4. Using a teaspoon or apple corer, make a hole in the center of the top of each cupcake, being careful not to push the spoon or corer through the bottom of the cake.
5. Squeeze about one tablespoon of preserves to fill the hole you’ve made in each cupcake.
6. Prepare the Coconut Buttercream Frosting. It should be freshly mixed and at room temperature at the time of decorating.
7. If piping the frosting, make a small cut to the tip of the second pastry bag with scissors. Insert the tip into the bag. Flip the top half of the pastry bag inside out, and use a spatula to fill it with the frosting. Squeeze some of the frosting out to rid the bag of any air pockets, and frost the cupcakes or spread the frosting on with a knife.
8. Top with a festive cocktail umbrella, like its tropical cocktail counterpart!

Pineapple Preserves
Makes enough to fill 12 cupcakes
1 cup crushed pineapple (canned), strained of excess juice
1-3/4 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons liquid fruit pectin*
*Found in canning aisle of grocery store, or online. Do not use powdered pectin.
1. Place the fruit into a 6- or 8-quart saucepan and place on high heat.
2. Stir the sugar in with the fruit, and then add the butter.
3. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) and keep on high heat, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in the pectin quickly and return to a full rolling boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.
5. Remove from the heat and pour into a heavy duty container (either plastic or glass), cover, and refrigerate.

Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
1-1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds only
2/3 cup whole milk
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
2. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
4. In an electric mixer, or large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy and gradually add in the sugar and mix well.
5. Beat in the egg until well blended, and then beat in the vanilla extract.
6. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a paring knife. Discard the husk.
7. Measure the milk into a small container and add the vanilla seeds.
8. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately in three steps to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Blend gently until smooth.
9. Pour the batter into the lined cupcake pan, distributing the batter equally.
10. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate, and bake for 12 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
11. Place the pan on a wire rack, and cool completely.

Coconut Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds only
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup trans fat-free vegetable shortening
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon natural coconut flavor
1. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a paring knife. Discard the husk, and set the seeds aside.
2. In an electric mixer, or large bowl, beat the butter and vegetable shortening on medium speed until creamy.
3. Add the vanilla seeds and mix for a few seconds on medium speed.
4. In a separate bowl, sift the confectioners sugar.
5. Add the confectioners sugar to the butter mixture on low speed until it begins to incorporate.
6. Add the vanilla extract and coconut flavor, and beat at medium to high speed until fully incorporated.

Cupcake photograph by Eric Levin