Vodka-Spiked Mango Pineapple Cupcakes

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

When Fernanda Capobianco saw a lack of wholesome and delicious vegan desserts on the market, she decided to take matters into her own hands. In the following years, she opened a Manhattan bakery and cafe, launched a successful mail-order business and wrote The Vegan Divas Cookbook. One of our favorite of her recipes is a tropical treat inspired by Capobianco’s homeland. “Mango is considered the queen of tropical fruit in Brazil,” she says. “I love its sweet, musky flavor and frequently feature it in my desserts, as I do in these festive cupcakes.” The bright, fruity cake brings to mind poolside Piña Coladas, even if rum doesn’t make an appearance. Vodka does, though. “It adds a special touch, and the flavor becomes very intriguing," she says. To make these cupcakes extra amazing, be sure to use high-quality maraschino cherries like Luxardo.

Vodka-Spiked Mango Pineapple Cupcakes



  • 9 oz AP flour
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Mango
  • 12 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 Cup evaporated cane sugar
  • 1.5 cups soy or almond milk
  • .25 Cup maraschino cherries
  • .25 Cup Walnuts
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1.5 cups Coconut whipped cream
  • 2 cups Crushed Pineapple


Step one

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add liners to a cupcake tray.

Step two

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch and baking powder, and whisk to combine.

Step three

Using a sharp knife, slice the sides off the mango on either side of the pit. Cut the flesh in each pitless mango piece lengthwise and crosswise just down to the skin (don’t cut through the skin) to form small squares of flesh. Then, holding the knife horizontal to the skin, slice the mango squares off the skin. Place them in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the vodka to that mix. You will need .75 cup mango puree for the cupcakes. Set the purée aside.

Step four

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the vegan butter with the sugar at medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved mango purée and mix until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary to ensure the mixture is evenly blended (the mixture will look curdled at this point).

Step five

Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating it with the soy milk in two additions and mixing just until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the Maraschino cherries and walnuts by hand.

Step six

Add the batter to the cupcake tray and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the tray, place on the rack and cool completely.

Step seven

Frost the cupcakes with the coconut whipped cream and garnish with crushed pineapple.

Contributed by Fernanda Capobianco