Cocktail Cupcakes

Post-exam cocktail cupcake anyone?

Post-exam cocktail cupcake anyone?

First blog… scary stuff

Yesterday we had our first official mammoth baking session – cocktail cupcakes. Ruth has been off the cocktails recently (brewing a baby) and I (Lizzy) have just finished my second year exams. It’s safe to say we were both chomping at the bit to make some celebratory, definitely adult cupcakes. I  took myself off to Ruth’s for a few days to recuperate, have some baby therapy with my new nephew and of course, to bake.

We have been known to sample plenty of cocktails (!) so we based the cupcakes on three of our faves:  Mojito, Sex on the Beach and Pina Colada. We really wanted to get the cupcakes to taste as much like the cocktails as possible, while still tasting delicious (mint, in a cupcake – are you sure?!).

For all the cupcakes we started with a basic sponge, to which we added the cocktail flavourings.

We took the plunge and started with the Mojito cupcake.  We were dubious about how the mint would turn out, but wanted to stay true to the cocktail.  The smell of mint came wafting from the oven and on tasting, the flavour was indeed predominantly mint. It was surprisingly delicious and very much in keeping with a Mojito. We decided to pair it with a lime butter icing and rum centre, so that all three flavours had a chance to shine. We made a thick rum glacé icing, cored out the centre of  cupcake and dolloped it in – when you bite into the cupcake you are met with a little shot of full-on rum flavour, yum! We piped the lime butter icing on top, and voilà, Mojito cupcakes!


Mojito cocktail cupcake

Piping is not something I have done much of in the past, but I’m keen to improve my technique. Just my luck, Ruth decided we had to use a plain nozzle (she has a new obsession with plain nozzle piping) and this made it soooo much more difficult to make the swirls look good. My first few were, I think it is safe to say, catastrophic :(. Luckily, it turns out you can just scrape off your first attempt and try again. Phew! In the end, I managed to pipe a handful that I was happy with….Ruth assures me it get easier.

Mojito Cupcakes

To the basic sponge, add:

1 tbsp rum or 1tsp rum flavouring

4 or 5 mint leaves, finely chopped

zest of 1 lime

Rum glacé centre

Sift 60g of icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add rum (about 1tbsp), whisking with a fork as you add. Careful not to make it too runny. Add lime zest if you wish. Core out the centre of the cooked cupcake and insert a dollop. Put the lid back on.

Lime butter icing

To a basic butter icing, add:

zest of one lime

a splash of rum

Next up we cracked on with the Pina Colada. This cocktail contains pineapple juice and Malibu (coconut rum) and is an absolute favourite of mine. It reminds me of summer sunshine (and we’re in desperate need of that at the moment!). Ruth has perfected a coconut and pineapple cake before, so we based our experimenting on that. From previous experience, Ruth has found that it can be tricky to get the flavour of pineapple to come through, as the desiccated coconut tends to dominate.  For this reason we inserted pineapple jam mixed with a dash of Malibu to the centre of the cupcake. Now for the exciting bit, Ruth has a new duo icing piping kit, so we iced them in two colours: white and yellow. It was easy to use and the result was pretty effective. They looked so sunny, they just made us smile (or maybe that was the Malibu)! 😉


Pina Colada cocktail cupcake

Pina Colada Cupcakes

To the basic sponge, add:

1 tbsp Malibu

30g sweetened desiccated coconut

1 tbsp pineapple jam

Pineapple jam centre

Loosen 3 tbsp of pineapple jam with 1 tbsp Malibu. Core out the centre of the cooked cupcake and insert a dollop. Put the lid back on.

Coconut Cream Cheese Icing

100g butter, softened

100g sifted icing sugar

4-5 tbsp coconut cream (not coconut milk)

150g full-fat cream cheese, straight from the fridge

Method for coconut cream cheese icing: Cream together the softened butter with the sifted icing sugar until fluffy. Add the cream cheese straight from the fridge (tip off any liquid from the top) and the coconut cream and using a hand whisk carefully combine with the butter and icing sugar. It should still be a thick pipeable consistency.

The Sex on the Beach cocktail (peach schnapps with orange and cranberry juice) proved to be a bit more challenging to turn into a cupcake. We couldn’t find any fresh or frozen cranberries in the supermarket, not the right time of year! We decided against using dried cranberries because they just wouldn’t have the right flavour for this particular combination. The cake itself was very orangey, so we made a peach schnapps glacé icing mix to insert into the centre, much the same way as for the Mojito. Beware – this is VERY sweet, yummy but sweet. Think orange and strawberry creme chocolates and you start to get the idea…..I loved it and it gave the cupcake a real kick, definitely adult only! Ruth wasn’t so keen and reckons that she would leave it out next time. We wanted to make a cranberry icing, however cranberry juice from a carton just isn’t intense enough and the lack of real cranberries in the shops made this a non-starter. Instead, we chose to do a cream cheese icing, flavoured with peach schnapps. Cream cheese icing is much less sweet than buttercream, so it counteracted the sweetness of the peach schnapps nicely, and the flavour really came through. At this point, I’d necked a few sneaky schnapps shots (just testing of course) and so was feeling a little wobbly when it came to the piping, oops 😛

So, Sex on the Beach minus the cranberry…an almost success! Oh well, stick an umbrella and glacé cherry on the top and no-one will notice.


Sex on the Beach cocktail cupcake

Sex on the Beach Cupcakes

To the basic sponge, add:

1 tbsp peach schnapps

zest of 1 orange

Peach schnapps glacé centre

Sift 60g of icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add peach schnapps (about 1tbsp), whisking with a fork as you add. Careful not to make it too runny. Core out the centre of the cooked cupcake and insert a dollop. Put the lid back on.

Orange and Peach Schnapps Cream Cheese Icing

100g butter

100g sifted icing sugar

zest of 1 orange

150g full-fat cream cheese, straight from the fridge

See method above (for Pina Colada)


It’s was my housemates 21st during exams, so we’re having a tea party tomorrow as a belated birthday party, ever so sophisticated! The cocktail cupcakes will be taking central stage, so I’ll let you know how they go down, but I’m sure they will be a hit. Now that my housemates have all finished their exams, let the celebrations begin!

It’s my birthday next week….I’m pretty certain there is something afoot, I’m sure big sis Ruth will be blogging about that soon (fingers crossed) 😉



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