This year we wanted to turn that brilliant idea into a tradition. The only problem is that there's a dearth of cocktail cupcake recipes out there -- only these few from Baking Bites seemed up to our standards, and even they are pretty mainstream. Our bag is classic cocktails, and we really wanted to try something a little different. So we made it up.
The cocktail: Manhattan (2 oz whiskey, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, shaken and strained, garnished with orange peel and a maraschino cherry). The origin recipe: Burnt-Butter Brown Sugar Cupcakes Now, our recipe isn't perfect yet, so we're looking for another excuse to make these and tweak them a bit. They don't have quite as strong a whiskey flavor as we're looking for, but they're delicious nonetheless.
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup self-rising cake flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons whiskey
1 tbsp milk (in the future, we're thinking of substituting whiskey here too)
Preheat the oven to 400F and start burning your butter. Put it in a small saucepan on medium heat, stirring all the time until it turns dark golden color. Take the pan off the heat and let the butter solidify, but stay soft.
When the butter is solid but still soft, put all the cake ingredients except the whiskey and milk in a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth batter. Add the whiskey and milk down the funnel, pulsing sparingly to form a soft, dropping mixture.Divide among lined cupcake tins, and cook for 15-20 minutes for regular-size cupcakes, 8-10 for mini.
We used a basic cream cheese frosting to top these (buttercream would be too much, well, butter for these cakes) with one little difference: sweet vermouth. That's an integral part of a Manhattan, and we were pretty excited about figuring it into the cupcakes. However, it turns out that the vermouth makes the frosting too sweet, so it's best to leave it out until we do a little more research.
Frost the cupcakes and top with just a little orange zest and a sliver of maraschino cherry.
And if anyone knows of any cocktail baked good recipes, or a way to figure in bitters, please send them our way.