The Cocktail Cupcake Experiment.

About a year ago, I saw this blog post about cupcakes baked in martini glasses and I knew I had to try it out. Well, it may have taken a year, but I finally did it! I knew I wanted a “booze” cupcake to go along with the theme and chose cosmo cupcakes. After searching through recipes I decided to stick with my comfort zone and modify a box mix and pre-made frosting. After finding this article on how to improve any box mix, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, but I was torn between 3 options: just add cranberry vodka, add cranberry vodka and canned cranberry jelly, or add the cranberry vodka with fresh cranberry puree? Final decision? Make all three and see which turns out the best.

Now I’m sure you experienced bakers will already know which resulted in the best cupcake, but for the sake of the experiment and this post, I’m going to present and describe all three.

Experiment #1: Just Cranberry Vodka
For all three variations, I started with a Betty Crocker SuperMoist White Cake Mix. I knew that the white cake would allow for any coloring to show up with out getting muddied by a yellow cake. Since the vodka was clear, I decided to add some Wilton Gel Food Coloring to the batter to give it a more “cosmo-like” feel.

The end result? It was REALLY pink!!! I wasn’t sure if I hated it or loved it, but either way I think this color would be a big hit at a bachelorette party or bridal shower.

The recipe for baking in a martini glass said that the glass should fit about a 1/3 of a cup of batter and be half full, but my glasses must be much larger, so what did I do? I put in more batter. This was my first mistake in this experiment, but that’s okay, I have 2 more to go. Since I had to keep increasing the bake time due to the amount of batter, the outside of the cake ended up browning against the glass, which wasn’t the prettiest effect. But otherwise, not so bad:

Now they just need to cool before frosting, so on to the next batch!

Experiment #2: Cranberry Vodka and Canned Cranberry Jelly
I’m not really sure where the idea to used canned cranberry jelly came from. It may have been the lonely can sitting in my pantry, untouched, or it could be something I saw on tv. I’m not sure which it was, but I was really curious to see how it would turn out.

I was pleasantly surprised buy the color of the batter. I thought these would turn out really well, but unfortunately, they came out more brown and lost any hint of red or pink that the batter contained.

Learning from my prior mistake, for this batch I stuck with my standard scoop when adding batter to the martini glass. The directions said to bake for 10 minutes, but I still had to bake this for about 15 minutes. I don’t know if that was becuase of adding in the canned cranberry, if it was my oven, or a combination of the two.

Experiment #3: Cranberry Vodka and Pureed Cranberries
For this last experiment, I had to use frozen cranberries, but they were easy to thaw in the microwave and softened up nicely for the food processor. The result was a beautifully colored mash that, when added to the batter, created a nice bright cranberry color.

After seeing this, I was super excited to see how these would come out of the oven, and I loved the results:

How pretty is that color? I even have some of the puree leftover which I’m excited to put on top of ice cream!

Once all the cupcakes had cooled, it was time to tackle the frosting. In retrospect, I really should have made a frosting from scratch, but I just wasn’t feeling it, so instead I started with Betty Crocker’s Rich and Creamy White pre-made frosting. I wasn’t sure what “white” would taste like, but already knew I would be adding lime zest and a little bit of lime juice so I wanted a plain base.

Once everything was ready, it was time to frost the cupcakes and taste them!

(From left to right: Just cranberry vodka, cranberry puree, canned cranberry)

The cupcakes with the cranberry puree are by far the best. The cupcakes with just the vodka are blah. Not horrible, but not great. It tastes like a box mix. The ones with the canned cranberry lie somewhere in between. I should have gone with my gut instincts and made a frosting from scratch. This one ended up being way too sweet and tart. I think a vanilla frosting with lime added would have balance out the flavors better. I think I will definitely make the cranberry cupcake with puree again, but this time focus on making a tasty lime frosting to go on top.

In the end, these martini glass cupcakes are adorable and can be made with any recipe you choose. How fun would they be to serve at a dinner party, or even have placed around a dessert table? I’m now interested to see what other non typical cookware or glassware can be used to bake in.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)


11 thoughts on “The Cocktail Cupcake Experiment.

  1. Was it worth adding the vodka at all? The alcohol bakes out of it, so you lose that benefit and then you just end up making the batter taste more Smirnoff fake cranberry flavory. I do know rum adds flavor to a cake, but to me, vodka just taste like burning and whatever you mix it with. Just wondering if you thought the vodka taste added something to the cupcakes… or maybe it just adds to the authenticity of a booze cake?

    • Yeah, it definitely added a more boozey flavor so they tasted a little more authentic. But I think if you just added the cranberry purée they would still be just as good. Maybe not as “Cosmo-like” but still good. Now, the ones with just the vodka still lacked in cranberry flavor (big time) so while I think you could get away with the purée and no vodka, I don’t recommend doing it the other way around (vodka and no purée).

      • Stacy, do you think the vodka made the cake moister? I sometimes think it can help with that too.

  2. Yeah, I think it definitely helped with that on the basic just vodka cupcake. The only problem with that cupcake though was that with the fake cranberry and the food coloring, it tastes more artificial.

    • Hi Kim! Thanks for reading our blog! As I mentioned above, the recipe to bake the cupcakes in martini glasses said to bake it for 10 mins at 350 degree’s. For my oven this was not enough time so between 13 and 15 minutes worked best. However, if you are using baking cupcakes you may want to stick with the time on the package. Or start with low time and just check them and add on more time if need be. If you do try them, send us a picture! We would love to see how they turned out!

  3. Pingback: La Cakerie Brings Sweet and Savory to Towson | Cupcake Crusaders

    • Hi Sateima! In the link I shared, it says to substitute half the water for the recipe with Vodka. It’s been a while since I’ve made these, but if I did anything different, I’m sure I would have noted that in the post. Thanks for reading!

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