These cupcakes were inspired by my grandmother and mother.

My grandmother loved sweets but was not a big fan of chocolate.  (Hard to believe not loving chocolate and being related to me, right?)  To satisfy her sweet tooth, she almost always had what she called “Plain Cake” in her kitchen.  It is easy to make from ingredients you will have on hand, so I thought it would be fun to try these as cupcakes for Mom’s big birthday party earlier this month.

But I wanted to jazz them up for the birthday party, which is where I got inspiration from Mom.  She has always made great pies, including luscious cream pies like coconut cream, banana cream, and the inspiration for these cupcakes—pineapple cream.  I decided that the plain cake cupcakes would be great filled with pineapple cream.

Now for the rum.  My grandmother didn’t drink alcohol, so the rum didn’t come from her, but the rest of my family and most of my friends love rum, which I thought would add a tropical twist to the cupcakes.

Now it was time to start my experiment, so I made a batch of jumbo “Plain Cake” cupcakes (see the recipe below).  I figured it would be easier to fill jumbo cupcakes than regular-sized ones.  Of course, I had to try one when they came out of the oven.  It had been years since I had had Grandmother’s cake.  The memories flooded in.  I had forgotten that this cake has a thin sugar crust on top, which is yummy.  The texture is a little denser and coarser than many cakes, but I realized that it would be just right to stand up to the cream filling I had planned and the flavor was as good as I remembered.  About then, Jeff walked by and grabbed a bite of one of the cupcakes and agreed, so on to the next step.

Time for the next layer of flavor, so I started the pineapple cream filling.  I put a cup of chopped pineapple in my mini-food processor and pulsed it until I had fresh, crushed pineapple.   The pineapple was destined to be added to the cream filling, but I needed to drain off the juice first so it wouldn’t be too wet and water down the filling.  So I let the pineapple hang out in a strainer over a bowl while I started on the cream filling (see recipe below).   For the cream filling, I started with a recipe I had previously posted only to figure out that I had posted the wrong amount of flour—not good!  (If you tried my “Easy Pastry Cream” before and didn’t find it so easy because it didn’t get thick enough, my sincere apologies.  I goofed when I typed it up.  The recipe should have called for 4 Tbsp. of flour, or 1/4 cup, rather than the 2 Tbsp. I had previously posted.  That post has been updated with the correction.)

While the pastry cream cooled, I used a small round cutter to make a hole in the center of each of the cupcakes.  But I was careful to not cut all the way through the bottom of cupcakes because I didn’t want the filling to run out!  For moisture and flavor, I brushed the inside of each “hole” with dark rum and then piped in the pineapple cream.  A dollop of whipped cream and a small piece of fresh pineapple on top made these cupcakes a special addition to Mom’s birthday party and were a hit with the rum lovers in the crowd.  Hope you like them too!

Pineapple Cream & Rum Cupcakes
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These yummy cupcakes were inspired by my grandmother's "Plain Cake" and my mom's Pineapple Cream Pie! This will also make a single layer cake.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8-16
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature (Grandmother substituted vegetable shortening when she was out of butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • ½ tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray cupcakes pans with cooking spray or line them with cupcake liners.
  3. Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Add half the flour to the sugar and egg mixture. Beat to combine.
  7. Add the milk. Beat to combine.
  8. Add the remaining flour. Beat to combine.
  9. Fill each cupcake holder until it is about ⅔ full.
  10. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick in the middle of a cupcake and pull it out. If it comes out clean, they are done.
  11. For jumbo cupcakes, it will take about 18 minutes for them to cook. For regular-sized cupcakes, it will take about 10-12 minutes. However, test the cupcakes a couple of minutes earlier because every oven is different!
  12. After the cupcakes cool, use a ½ inch to ¾ inch round cutter to cut the center out of each cupcake. If you don't have a round cutter this size, you can use a paring knife or small spoon. Be careful not to cut all the way through the bottom of the cupcakes. You want to leave the bottom intact so that the filling will not come out.
  13. Use a pastry brush to brush rum on the inside of each of the "holes" you created in the center of the cupcakes.
  14. Place the cream filling (see separate recipe) in a pastry bag or zip top bag and cut off the corner.
  15. Pipe filling into the hole you made in the center of each cupcake.
  16. Top each cupcake with whipping cream (see separate recipe).
  17. Garnish with a small piece of fresh pineapple.

Pineapple Cream Filling
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You can substitute coconut flakes for the pineapple if you prefer coconut cream filling!
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup fresh, chopped pineapple (or ½ cup canned, crushed pineapple)
  1. Place the fresh pineapple in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.
  2. Place the pineapple in a strainer over a bowl and drain the pineapple juice.
  3. In a double boiler, combine the flour, sugar, and milk. Cook the mixture in the top of the double boiler over medium-low to medium heat. Whisk the mixture until it thickens. Be patient---this can take about 20 minutes or so. (As the mixture begins to thicken, it is important to whisk almost continuously to prevent lumps from forming.)
  4. After the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency, place the egg yolks in a small bowl. Mix a little of the cream filling with the eggs yolks to temper them. This prevents scrambling the egg yolks.
  5. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the double boiler with the rest of the cream filling. Continue whisking until the cream filling thickens more. This will take 2-4 minutes.
  6. Remove the cream filling from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and butter.
  7. To ensure the cream filling does not have any lumps, strain it through a mesh strainer.
  8. Let the cream filling cool completely, whisking occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
  9. When the cream filling is cool, add the pineapple and serve it or refrigerate it. If you are refrigerating the filling in a bowl (rather than in the finished tart or other dessert), place plastic wrap on top of the filling so that the plastic wrap touches the entire surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming on top.
If you don't have a double boiler, just place a small amount of water in a pot. Then place a heatproof bowl on top of the pot so that the heatproof bowl sits partially inside the pot but does not touch the water.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup (4 oz.) marscapone cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or rum)
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, mix the cream mixture until it reaches the desired consistency.
  2. Cover and refrigerate the whipped cream until ready to use.


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