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Nov 7, 2008 05:49 AM

Cocktail Cupcakes- infusing cake with alcohol

There's a big party we go to for my husband's old high school friends every year after Thanksgiving. It's pretty excessive, so in the spirit of the celebration I want to bring an alcoholic dessert. Preferably something you could actually get a little tipsy from, not some pie that only has 2 tbls of liquor for the whole thing.
I was thinking of infusing some cupcakes with different liquors, shot each, in a cocktail manner, trying gingerbread and whiskey (ginger ale and whiskey is my favorite drink), that kind of thing. I have a few questions about this:
1) Should I try heavier cakes like pound cakes rather than the standard cupcake kind of cake?
2) Will the alcohol evaporate over night once it's been poured onto the cake?
3) I'm thinking silver foil cupcake liners ought to be able to hold the alcohol inside the cake without it all getting to messy, agree?
Ideally I'll make this the day before or the morning of the party. My plan is to make a few different kinds of cupcakes, pour the shots over them, wait awhile, then frost them.
Combinations I'm thinking of:
Gingerbread and Whiskey
Chocolate and Peppermint Schnapps
Rum and something.
Vanilla cupcake and something.
Maybe try Pumpkin pie vodka?

Any suggestions and advice would be helpful. Also, let me know if you think this has no chance of working.


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  1. I usually infuse cupcakes/cakes with an alcohol based syrup so, inasmuch as it's heated, it looses some of its alcohol. To answer your questions more directly, a full "shot" of booze poured onto a cupcake is going to make mush so serve it with spoons.
    A heavier cake would be less mushy, but it's still a pretty small serving of cake to hold an ounce and a half of liquor poured onto it.
    You will experience a small amount of alcohol evaporation in the time frame you listed but it won't be enough to matter.
    My recommendation is try it before you jump into it with both feet. You've got plenty of time between now and Thanksgiving to experiment. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    1. I'm a little leery about posting re. food intending to intoxicate....sounds like what you really need is jello shots here, but you asked, soooo....

      Todao is right about the cooking tips...if you want to feel/really taste alcohol, you'd be better off going with homemade or storebought chocolates with alcohol/liqueur nips inside them, and even then the amount of alcohol is enough for just a bit of a burn. These can be conventionally shaped or (if storebought) shaped like little airline-size spirit bottles.

      Another absolutely simple idea is to serve dessert beverages. Mudslides are sweet and delicious and can be very potent, as can some hot coffee and hot chocolate based drinks. There's also the option of sipping Godiva liqueur or Chambord, etc, but this doesn't sound like a sipping crowd.

      I hope this helps.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pinehurst

        lol jello shots...I was thinking the same thing! How about a Banana's foster with more rum and banana liquor...served poured over the cupcake...or a booze laden affogato. (melting icecream with hot espresso and everclear?

        1. re: pinehurst

          Pudding shots are way better than Jello Shots

        2. High ratio flour will increase the amount of liquid that the batter can hold. But I fear you will not be able to incorporate 1oz of liquid in a normal size cupcake and still call it cake, pudding maybe, cake no. Even reducing the oven temp and increasing the baking time will not evaporate enough liquid so that it could be considered a cupcake.

          Now you could take part of the liquor and reduce it, which will reduce some of the alcohol. The greater the reduction the greater the increase of flavour, and also the greater you reduced the alcohol content. You could add some unreduced alcohol to the reduced alcohol to increase the alcohol content. Here what you are doing is increasing the flavour of the liquor, but unfortunately your alcohol content is still reduced. But the flavour of the liquor is increased by the amount you reduced. This depending on the liquor will also give the illusion of more booze.

          1. I used to do Kahlua chocolate trifle for potlucks - particularly during my undergrad - which required Kahlua soaked chocolate cake. My suggestion: 1 oz. per cupcake will be overload, I used 2-2.5 oz for a whole 9x13 cake... Once cool I poked several small holes in the cake with a toothpick (as Alton would say "perforate prodigiously") then used a vermouth mister loaded with Kahlua and misted the entire cake and let it sit several hours/overnight which allowed for even distribution of the alcohol... simply pouring it on meant it puddled and some parts of the cake were a soggy mess, and some were bereft of alcohol.

            HTH :)

            2 Replies
            1. re: maplesugar

              I love these cupcakes, have made them several times. They are B-52 cupcakes, Kahlua in the cupcakes, Bailey's in the frosting and Grand Marnier candied orange peel for garnish. DELISH!

              1. re: foodie_guru

                Thanks for the link foodie_guru those cupcakes look delicious! MMMmmm Bailey's icing :)

            2. a friend's mom makes a mean Harvey Wallbanger cake...I don't have her recipe but I did a quick search and found a lot of listings. here's the first one:
              I imagine you could make the cake from scratch.