Pirate Rum Cupcakes

My friend Liz’s surprise birthday party took place at pirate-themed-bar Pillagers Pub, so naturally I needed to create a pirate-themed cupcake. She had mentioned that she liked the idea of alcohol-infused baked goods, so I got working on a Malibu Rum cupcake and frosting. The cake is an old recipe by Sandra Lee, and the frosting was something whipped together by myself. The result was a light, fluffy, refreshing cupcake with just the right amount of coconut and rum flavoring.

Photos by Justin Schmauser

Malibu Rum Cake
(Recipe from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking)


  • I box classic yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup Malibu Rum
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3.4 ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 4 eggs


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare cupcake pans with wrappers (I used this Pirate Cupcake Kit)

Mix all ingredients (cake mix, rum, vegetable oil, instant pudding mix and eggs) in a bowl with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.

Pour mixture into cupcake pans, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake according to the directions on the back of the box, or when a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool, frost, and enjoy!

Coconut Rum Buttercream Frosting


  • 8 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 TBS Malibu Rum
  • 1 TBS coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


In an electric mixer, whip butter until fluffy.

Add in 3 cups of powdered sugar, rum, milk, and vanilla slowly as you mix.

Continue to mix until you reach the frosting consistency you prefer, adding in more powdered sugar or coconut milk as needed.

(Warning: These are not for lil scabbers under the age of 21, on account of the rum.)

Arrgh you going to make these at your next pirate gathering?


  1. How long do you think these would last (shelf life)? Would you suggest they be put in the fridge if not being eaten shortly after made? I need to make cupcakes for work and would like to make them in advance – possibly a couple days prior.

    Thank you

  2. These cupcakes have honestly not lasted longer than two days in my home. 😉

    I’d recommend making the cake up to a day in advance, and frosting as soon before eating as possible. (Perhaps the morning of work or the night before?) The fridge could work fine for longer than a day, but not much longer. Make sure your fridge doesn’t have any specific strong smells that the cupcakes can absorb, and leave time for the cupcake to return closer to room temp before serving!

  3. my hubby’s birthday is today, and i’ve been searching for the perfect frosting recipe to accompany his birthday cake. This sounds awesome (we LOVE malibu). I’m only bummed that I couldn’t infuse the cake, too, but I made it last night so there would be minimal baking on the actual birthday! THis might be a dumb question, but do you think the frosting needed the coconut milk for creaminess, or can we go without it (i’ve got some frozen in an ice cube tray, but it’ll be a pain to thaw fast enough without nuking it).

  4. You can probably substitute regular milk–it will just be slightly less coconutty.

    Happy Birthday to your hubby!

  5. Here is something to try. I made these and everyone that ate them really liked them.
    I used a pineapple cake mix. I used malibu rum instead of water in the cake mix. For the icing I used a can of fluffy whipped white added about 5-7 tablespoons of malibu. Then topped the cupcake with toasted coconut. They turned out very light and moist.

  6. That sounds delicious! I’m pretty sure that has to be garnished with one of those little bright umbrellas!

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  8. How many cupcakes does this recipe yield

  9. Hi Jodee! The recipe should make the amount of cupcakes listed on the back of the cake mix box you use. I found that I fill my tins a bit higher, so I usually end up with a couple less.

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