I won't go into detail about the reasons for my baking and blogging hiatus, as I don't want to rain doom and gloom all over a post that I intend to be positive and hopeful. I made these cupcakes over a year ago, intending to do a post corresponding with cherry blossom season. But then spring didn't come for me.
Suffice it to say that it was a very, very long, dark winter.
What's the saying - April showers bring May flowers? Well, after a long winter full of showers (thunderstorms, monsoons, hurricanes, maelstroms, etc.), May brought me some good things - especially hope. I'm finally seeing the sunshine breaking through the clouds, and the flowers are starting to bloom. So, while it's not exactly cherry blossom season in California, this seemed an appropriately-timed post.
Since we're celebrating a belated spring, full of sunshine, cherry blossoms, and hope for new possibilities, let's start with the recipe for the cocktail that inspired these cupcakes, shall we?
Dirty Shirley Cocktail:
- 1 oz vodka
- 5 oz lemon-lime soda
- dash of grenadine syrup
Pour the vodka over ice cubes in a highball glass. Fill the glass the rest of the way with lemon-lime soda, and a dash of grenadine. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
So, about those cupcakes...
|And a pretty, pink, marbled (and boozey) inside!|
|Lovely on the outside...|
For the cupcakes:
- 1 box white cake mix
- 3 egg whites (you can save the yolks for limoncello pound cake!)
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup lemon-lime soda
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons plain, whole yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Ingredients (vodka-infused cherry marble)
- 1 box cherry Jello (I used black cherry, because I like the color. Also, these portions are based on a large/8-serving box. If using a small, 4-serving box, cut all portions in half. You want to use half as much liquid as is called for on the box).
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 cup ice water
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on med-high for a couple of minutes, then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Mix on slow speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Due to the yogurt and cream of tartar, your cupcakes will have a nice, light texture - the yogurt makes them moist and fluffy, and they will hold their shape better (not "fall" as much as they cool) due to the cream of tartar. The carbonation in the lemon-lime soda helps make them lighter, too.
- Portion out the batter into prepared, lined, cupcake pans.
- Bake as directed (18-22 minutes). The edges of the cupcakes will be just slightly golden brown.
- Let the cupcakes rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the spiked jello filling...Mix the Jello into the 1/2 cup boiling water, and stir until completely dissolved. Add the ice water and the vodka.
- Place the mostly-cooled cupcakes, on their cooling rack, over a cookie sheet with raised edges. Trust me, you'll need something to catch stray Jello.
- Using a bamboo skewer, or a fork, poke lots of holes in the tops of the cupcakes (but be careful not to pierce the cupcake liner, because that would be a bummer)
- Slowly, spoon the cherry Jello mixture onto the cupcakes, letting it soak into the holes. I got close to 2 tablespoons into each cupcake.
- Transfer the cupcakes into the refrigerator to allow the filling to set while you mix up the frosting.
For the frosting:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened, but not quite room temperature
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
- few drops red food coloring (optional, but gives the frosting a pretty, soft, pink color)
- maraschino cherries, for garnish (also optional, but so cute!)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, salt, liqueur, and vanilla on medium until emulsified. Increase the speed as the mixture comes together.
- Decrease the speed to slow, and add the confectioner's sugar, 1 cup at a time. Once that starts to come together, increase the speed to medium, and then, finally, mix on high for about a minute. You don't want to mix for too long, because that will heat up (melt) your butter. You can add more liqueur or confectioner's sugar, as needed, until desirable piping consistency is reached.
- Remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator. Pipe on frosting, and garnish with a (stemmed) maraschino cherry.
|I don't even like maraschino cherries, but they're so darn cute.|
***posted by Jacqueline***