One of my good friends, Adam, just happens to be one of the biggest fans of my birthday cupcake effort at work.  It seems that he’s always contemplating what his next birthday choice will be.  I’m pretty sure he had something else in mind this time but when he saw rum punch on the menu, he was intrigued.  The truth is, I was too.  This was nothing more than a flavor idea I had but no concrete recipe plan.  The one thing Adam did request, similar to last year, was that I “challenge the laws of physics and fit as much booze as possible into one cupcake.”  With that in mind, I went to work.  Ever since buying Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz, I’ve had my eye on his Bahamian Rum Cake.  It is originally meant to be a bundt cake but I made it into cupcakes (with a bit of rum added to the batter, of course), brushed with a rum glaze and then just straight rum to really up the booze content.  The cupcakes are topped with a simple pineapple-rum whipped cream frosting, and fun little cocktail umbrellas are the finishing tropical touch.  (A piece of pineapple and a cherry would look great too.)

As with all spirited cupcakes, I find that everyone has completely different levels of taste tolerance.  Some think they were too strong, and though Adam didn’t tell me I am sure they weren’t quite strong enough for him.  I only tasted a few bites but Ben and I both thought the amount of rum, at least for us, was just right.  Definitely enough to be a prominent flavor but not so much we needed a chaser afterwards.  All in all, I think these cupcakes have earned their name – and also made me crave a real rum punch.  Won’t be long now until I can enjoy one!

  • Yield 24 cupcakes


3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup canned coconut milk
3 tbsp. dark rum (optional)

For the rum glaze:
6 tbsp. canned coconut milk
3 tbsp. sugar
¼ cup dark rum

For the frosting:
1 cup chopped pineapple
2-3 tbsp. rum
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


  • 01

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  Combine the coconut milk and rum in a measuring cup.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add in the dry ingredients and the milk mixture mixing each addition just until incorporated, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

  • 02

    Divide the batter between the cupcake liners.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack set over foil or wax paper.

  • 03

    Meanwhile, make the rum glaze.  Combine the coconut milk and sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.  Off the heat, add the rum.  Poke each cupcake several times with a wooden skewer.  Drizzle some of the glaze over the cupcakes.  (If desired, brush with additional rum.)

  • 04

    To make the frosting, combine the pineapple, rum and lime juice in a blender or food processor.  Pulse briefly so that the pineapple is finely chopped but not fully pureed.  In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in the pineapple mixture with a spatula.  Pipe the pineapple whipped cream on top of the cupcakes as desired.