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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cosmopolitan Cupcakes

I threw a girls' night cocktail and dinner party for my mixer, Bella, which was custom painted by Nick Dinardo of Un Amore Custom Designs.  I also made these very special cupcakes for the party...Everyone loved them, moist, vodka-soaked cranberries surrounded by rich lime flavored cake and topped with Cosmopolitan frosting.  What more can I say?  

Bella's party companions were: Melanie, Jacqueline (my BIWB partner extraordinaire), Dorothy (Iron Blogger), Peggy, Nancy, Holly, and Hayley (Blogger Phenom).  All great friends who listened very patiently over the long, long months waiting for Bella to return.  After several delays, including a trip to Michigan to get fixed, she arrived a few weeks ago.  I couldn't be more happy with Nick's design and finished art work.  I am truly luck to have Bella in my home.

And, a very, very special thanks to Peggy for allowing me to borrow her "extra" KitchenAid while Bella was away.  I couldn't have baked a thing or blogged these last few months.  Most especially, there would have been NO Xmas cookies for my 30 friends and family.  I could not thank Peggy enough...Really.  If you bake and you have a KitchenAid, you know I mean.  :)

So you see what Bella is holding?  Take a close look...It's a cosmopolitan!  As the artist, Nick, was putting the finishing touches on Bella, we had to decide what she would be holding.  Rose, wooden spoon, glass of wine?  Wait, wait!  I am known among my friends for making a killer cosmo.  It was only fitting that Bella should be enjoying one for eternity, too.  And, see that bling...Swarovski crystals baby!  Nick's very special gift just for Bella!!

More on Bella later as I'm developing her signature cupcake...Just be patient cuz' you're going to LOVE it!

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Add the lime juice and zest just before you use the cranberry mixture.
In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well.  Add the extracts.
Add in the cranberry mixer and mix on low just to combine.

On low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture alternating with the milk.  Add the last 1 cup of flour at the end. Mix as little as possible and just until the batter comes together.  Fold in the last bits by hand.   Next time: adding pink food gel to the batter!
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups.  Bake as directed.  Look how beautiful right out of the oven... 
And, how lovely in their party liners as they cool to get ready for their frosting...
In the mixer, beat the butter on medium until broken up, then add all the liquids.  Beat this on medium until it is almost emulsified.  THIS is what I mean by ALMOST EMULSIFIED... 
Add in all the confectioners’ sugar and beat as directed.  I added about 3 tbsp corn syrup this time, it's different each time it seems.  I find the best piping consistency is when the frosting ~just~ falls back from the beater into the bowl.  Kinda like this... 
And, yes, it IS very imporant to beat it for 1 minute on medium high. 
Trust me.  It'll be fluffy and beautiful to pipe. 

Okay, so this little cupcake didn't get enough of the frosting and had to be the
sacraficial tasting and texture check cupcake.  Somebody had to do it! 
See all those booze-infused, plumped cranberries? 
Super moist and holds its shape...just the way I like it! 

Cosmopolitan Cupcakes
{adapted from Luck O' The Irish Cupcakes, makes 24 cupcakes}


Cranberry mixture
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup Vodka
1/4 cup Triple Sec
Zest and juice of one lime

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
3 cups flour, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk or half and half

Cosmo Frosting
2 stick salted butter
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 Tbsp cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
1 Tbsp Vodka
1 Tbsp Triple Sec
1 Tbsp milk or cream
Pink food coloring or gel
5 cups sifted powdered sugar
Corn syrup

To Make the Cranberry Mixture
In a blender or food processor, add the cranberries, vodka and triple sec.  Blend until the cranberries are shredded, but not pureed.  Remove to a bowl, cover and let sit overnight.  Add the lime juice and zest just before you use the mixture.

To Make the Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350º F, and line 24 cupcake cups.
Combine salt, baking powder, cream of tartar and 2 cups of the flour in a bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well.  Add the extracts and beat until creamy. Add in the cranberry mixer and mix on low just to combine.  On low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture alternating with the milk.  Add the last 1 cup of flour at the end. Mix as little as possible and just until the batter comes together.  Fold in the last bits by hand. 

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups.  I use a #12 scoop and added maybe 1/2 Tbsp more batter to each cup.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make the Frosting
With a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium until broken up, but not smooth about 1 minute (you don't want you butter to get too hot=runny).  Add the extracts, cranberry concentrate, vodka, triple sec, milk and food coloring/gel.  Beat on medium for one minute, scraping bowl, until just emulsified.  Beat for another minute, scrape bowl. 

Slowly add in all the confectioners’ sugar.  Beat on medium for 1 minute, scrape bowl.  Beat on medium for 1 minute, scrape bowl. To achieve desired spreading/piping consistency:  add 1 tbsp corn syrup and beat for 30 seconds, repeat as necessary until desired consistency.   Beat for 1 minute on medium high.  Decorate! 

I so enjoyed the party with my girlfriends and especially showing off Bella.  I'm sure there will be more girls' nights at my place as the weather gets nicer and we can be outside. 

Happy Spring!!


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  1. 1. Bella is gorgeous. 2. That frosting was AMAZING. And those cupcakes - oh the cake was perfect. 3. Thanks for having me over! I can't wait to reciprocate. 4. I totally have mixer envy. :)

    1. Thanks, Dorothy! So glad you could make girls' night and Bella's big reveal. :) The girl can wear red! Much, much better than her previous boy-blue. Let's plan a coffee rendezvous with our homey bloggers sooner than later, yes?

  2. I wish I had a cupcake and a drink! These look wonderful, Ellen...why or why don't you live closer;-D!

    1. You would have been here with no doubt, my friend, if only...And, you know, if you're ever in CA you better come visit! Imagine the cooking and baking and cocktails during that visit--epic. :)))

  3. These cupcakes are so delicious! Ty says he agrees, and that's saying something! :)

    A huge thank you for the party, food, drinks, and conversation. You have such nice friends! Looking forward to the next one. (hint, hint!)

    And Peggy--a big thank you to you as well! Ellen's Christmas cookies are part of our Christmas traditions--our family would've been so sad without them. ;)

    Bella is beautiful! Enjoy!


    1. Thank you, Mel! My slumber party/clean up crew friend extraordinaire!! :) Thanks again for helping and for breakfast and for yummy bread and for amazing soup. I felt so special! And, I have always known Ty had great taste-he married you! Smart man...Lv ya!

    2. Aw, thanks! :) Let me know when the next slumber party will be...always a treat to spend time with you.

  4. Those cupcakes were SO good. I loved the frosting, and coming from a typically cake-only kinda girl, that says a lot :) Thanks for hosting such a fun and wonderful cocktail party. Bella is GORGEOUS and glad she can work as "good" as she looks ;)

    1. Thanks, Hayley! Glad you could make it to Bella's Bash...And, we know, she's a working girl! :)

  5. Ellen, I am so sad I missed Bella's big reveal... she looks gorgeous. The cupcakes look yummy as always... Hopefully we can connect sometime soon, I miss ya! Sounds like the "girls night" was a fun time with good friends and good food :)

    1. We had a great time and would have loved your company, too. You'll see Bella very soon, I hope. :) I'll do a non-boozey dessert for the wee babe when you can make it for dinner. XO

  6. Hello. I am attending a friend's bachelorette in March and I wanted a fun, girl's night out cupcake. Came across these. I was hoping for comments from those that baked these but the comments about how they tasted were good too. I made these today as my tester cupcake for the event. I did a fourth of the recipe and yielded 10 cupcakes. I only filled the batter half way which did not reach the full top so I figured I would probably get a little over 6 cupcakes. I loved that the ingredients were not too expensive and I did sub cranberry juice in the frosting for the concentrate. I am following paleo which prohibited me from eating a full cupcake (I did test the batter and frosting though lol) but my mom had one and she said these were one of my better cupcakes. Easy instructions and delish and fun cupcakes. I would recommend these for a girly get together. Thanks for these cupcakes and I cannot wait to make them for the big event.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment and for letting me know that the cupcakes turned out so well for you! I'm always a little nervous when I start reading and am very thankful that the cupcakes tasted as you liked and that the directions were easy. :) Best of luck when you make these for the big event and please let me know how they turned out!

    2. Per your request providing an update as the bachelorette party was last night. All the ladies that attended loved the cupcakes. They were highly impressed that it was a cosmo cupcake. They loved the taste and I had one too and it was light, fluffy and flavorful! Great recipe and I would make these again!

    3. These are just great Cosmopolitan Cupcakes, the designs look so nice and are perfectly fitting for the holiday party that I am planning to host at the one of outdoor Los Angeles venues. Would like to host a party in the funky style so was wondering if you have some creative food décor for a funky holiday themed bash!

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