Pineapple Orange Cupcakes, Gluten Free

Florence, one of my spare back-up moms, actually might love cake more than I do. In fact, listening to her colorful description of her favorite pineapple orange cake made me wonder why I didn’t go over to her house for dessert more often when I was a kid. That vivid description also made me run to the kitchen and start baking the second we got off the phone.  Yes, people still do use telephones – with cords attached.

There is something about this cupcake that reminds me of a warm summer day when we were small kids back about two centuries. We’d be playing outside and the ice cream truck would come singing along – remember the ice cream truck tune? I loved creamsicles but a pineapple orange popsicle was another favorite. That this cupcake is like that – only better is a happy coincidence.  Better in that it probably won’t melt all over brand new white Keds, and that it is topped with  pineapple orange buttercream.

You could ramp up the tropical and add some coconut to the cupcake or put a bit on top of the icing. Or you could rent a cabana with your very own cabana boy and ask him to bring you a tropical drink and a pineapple orange cupcake on the side while you dip your toes into the Hawaiian ocean.  Amazing how a cupcake can take you from the singing ice cream truck of old to a beach in Maui in one paragraph. Ah, the power of cupcake.

This one’s for my friend, Florence.  With a cabana boy thrown in for good measure.

Pineapple Orange Cupcakes, Gluten Free
  • 7 oz. sugar
  • zest of one orange and one lemon
  • 7 oz. GF flour (3 oz superfine brown rice flour, 3 oz. superfine white rice flour, 1 oz. tapioca starch/flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 oz. unsalted butter, almost room temperature (9 tablespoons)
  • 6 oz egg (3 large eggs)
  • 3 oz. buttermilk (about ⅔ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon Limoncello
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon orange oil or extract
  • 3 tablespoons crushed pineapple, drained
Pineapple Orange Cream Cheese Buttercream
  • 3 oz. unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cold and broken into chunks
  • 16 oz powdered sugar, sifted (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon orange oil or extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • orange or pineapple segment or jelly candy
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. Weigh sugar into a small bowl and add the lemon and orange zest. Work the zest into the sugar with your finger tips until all the sugar is coated. Give it a stir and set it aside so the flavors can infuse the sugar. About 15 minutes. Meantime, weigh the flours into a bowl and add the baking powder, soda and salt. Whisk to combine. When the sugar is ready empty it into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the butter. Mix to combine and fluff slightly. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the buttermilk and flavorings. With the mixer on low, add in the flour until it is fully incorporated. Remove the bowl and using a silicone spatula, fold the batter so that all the dry stuff is incorporated well. Fold in the crushed pineapple. Scoop into the liners about ⅔ full. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes and reduce oven temperature to 325. Bake about 14-18 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out with no crumbs. Cool for a minute and remove cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
Pineapple Orange Cream Cheese Buttercream
  1. Place the sifted sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whip attachment mix in cubed pieces of the semi-chilled butter until it looks like coarse crumbs. Break off pieces of the cream cheese with clean fingers and drop into the mixer one at a time while it is running and keep whipping on medium until all the cream cheese is mixed in. Turn the mixer to medium high and as it smooths out add in the flavorings. Whip just until everything is mixed in well and it is smooth. If the mixture is not stiff enough you can refrigerate for about 10 minutes before piping. Pipe onto each cupcake and top with a pineapple orange jelly or whatever decoration you wish (or not). Refrigerate to set the buttercream and serve at room temperature.


  1. MM! love the flavors of this cupcake!

  2. Lovely cupcakes – love your styling and photography too!


  1. […] and recipe available at Gluten Free Canteen Posted by The Cupcake Connoisseur in Gluten Free Cupcakes and tagged with cupcake, cupcake […]