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Homemade Puerto Rican Coquito Eggnog for the Holidays
Looking for a new tradition this Christmas, try Chef Bianca’s Puerto Rican Christmas Eve!
 
Let’s start out with a pair of Puerto Rico’s national dishes.  Pernil and arroz con gandules are a combination of dishes to die for!  A marinated pork leg or shoulder slow-roasted until tender laid next to a mixture of rice, pigeon peas and pork cooked with sofrito.  And if you haven’t had sofrito yet, you don’t know what you are missing!! But we will talk about sofrito at another time.
Next up on the dinner table are pasteles!  Pasteles are a traditional dish of a mixture wrapped in a banana leaf.  This mixture can be taro root, platain, or green banana.  This dish has an ongoing debate about it as well…Raisins or Olives.  I am on Team Olive!  If raisins have been put into my pasteles, you have totally ruined them! LOL! Its a labor intensive process but its worth every minute.

My favorite family recipe and third required item on the Puerto Rican Christmas menu is Coquito.  Coquito is a traditional holiday drink made with evaporated milk, cream of coconut, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum (optional), vanilla extract and ground cinnamon.  The following recipe is for my Coquito Cupcake. Tender cinnamon cake with a spiked up frosting! 

Coquito Cupcake

Cupcake:
3/4 C butter, softened
3/4 C granulated sugar 
1/3 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 C plus 1 Tablespoon cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 C light coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 T Bacardi rum or any light rum

1. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees F.
Start by creaming the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the sugar, salt and spices and continue to mix on medium speed until sugar is fully incorporated and mixture is light and fluffy. 
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, until each egg is fully absorbed into the mixture. 
3. In a separate bowl, sift the cake flour and baking powder. In another bowl, Combine the coconut milk, vanilla, and rum. 
4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixer, then add 1/3 of the wet. Continue alternating wet and dry mixtures until fully incorporated. 
5. Spoon batter into lined cup cake tin and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean. 

Yields 12-14 cupcakes

Icing:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 lb confectioners sugar
1/4 C light coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp light rum
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Sweetened shredded coconut for garnish

1. Cream butter in bowl of electric mixer. Add confectioners sugar until fully combined.
2. Add coconut milk, vanilla, rum and cinnamon. Mix until smooth icing consistency.
3. Pipe onto cupcakes and top with shredded coconut and additional cinnamon if desired.

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