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)

Calling All Bakers! (7UP Cupcakes)

I need your help. I am not a baker. I would never call myself so or pretend to be one. However, on a very rare occasion I will attempted the task of baking from scratch. Usually the results are not pretty, so I tend to stick with doctoring up boxed mixes. But, with so many delicious looking recipes out there, sometimes I have no choice and I have to give in to measuring and mixing ingredients. The reason I’m calling on you, amazing bakers, is that something happened to my precious little mini cupcakes after they came out of the oven, and I’m not sure why it happened.

My most recent attempt at real baking was 7UP cupcakes. It was a recipe that I’ve had for a while. In my attempt to actually make some of my collected recipes, I’m trying to bake one cupcake recipe a month. I figure one a month is doable. In July I made Pink Lemonade Cupcakes (see Cupcake Disaster). Then, in August (just a couple weeks ago) I redeemed myself by making Reese’s Pieces Cupcakes. Both of these were doctored up box mix recipes though, so I was really worried about the 7UP cupcakes. But they sounded too good to not at least try. And with Labor Day weekend bringing summer to a close, I really didn’t want to wait until next summer to bake these. So I did it:

The end result, for the most part, was really good. Perfect for a Labor Day gathering. Light, airy, and the mini sizes were great to just pop in your mouth. However, about half of the batch came out like this:

Basically, the cupcake pulled away from the liner while they were cooling. I’m not sure if this was because of the carbonated beverage added to the batter, or the fact that I put in about 1/2 an egg too many? (I had to half the recipe and when I got to the eggs, I had already added the 3rd egg when I only needed two, so then attempted to remove some of the egg from the top of the batter. If you’ve ever tried this, it’s not easy. In fact, it’s nearly impossible). So bakers, I ask you, why did this happen?

Luckily, this questionable outcome did not effect the taste of the cake, so I ended up just pulling all those out of their wrapper, frosting them, and calling it a day.

I was so happy that these were such a huge hit with my family. They are honest, so I know they are good when my family says they are good.  🙂

Here’s another photo just for fun:

(See my crazy awesome piping skillz? Yeah, too bad each cupcake looked different…)

Here’s the recipe for anyone interested in giving these a try (I had the recipe written down for so long I can’t remember the original source. If you know, please tell us and we will update this post):

7UP cake:
– 3 c. granulated sugar
– 3/4 lb. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
– 5 eggs
– 3 c. all-purpose flour
– 3/4 c. 7-Up, at room temp
– 2 Tbsp. lemon extract

Preheat the oven to 325. Using a large Bundt pan or a tube pan, because this makes a very big cake, grease and flour the pan or spray it with Baker’s Joy or another nonstick flour-containing spray. Set the pan aside while you make the batter. (I halved the recipe becuase I was only feeding 8 adults and didn’t want a ton of extra’s. I ended up with 4 dozen mini cupcakes and about 4 normal size cupcakes).

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and 7-Up alternately until all is well incorporated into the batter. Finally, add the lemon extract. Spoon batter into the prepared pan, swirl the top to even it, tap it on the counter a few times to remove the air bubbles, and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes at 325, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

– 1 container of pre-made lemon frosting
– 1 lime

Take the zest from the lime and mix into the pre-made frosting. Done!

Frost. Eat. Enjoy.

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