Piña Colada and Sweet Tea Vodka

Don’t worry, I’m not making Sweet Tea Piña Coladas.  This post is a two-fer!  First off – Piña Colada cupcakes!!

There was another birthday in the office last week.  This time I went with Piña Colada cupcakes.  I recalled an at-home jewelry demonstration where the birthday girl consumed quite a few pineapple Jell-o shots made with coconut rum, so I knew she’d love the flavor combo.

At first I considered incorporating some coconut rum into my cupcake batter, but all I had was a bottle of 90 Proof Parrot Bay.  I’ve baked using a little bit of alcohol before (made cupcakes with some Caramel Bailey’s once) but for some reason the thought of sticking 90 proof booze in a hot oven filled my head with thoughts of cupcakes on fire so I decided to skip it.

Instead, I grabbed another boxed cake mix and in place of the water I used pineapple juice.  I also folded in some crushed pineapple.  I went with my basic buttercream recipe and put in a little coconut extract.  One of my favorite parts of a Piña Colada is the little plastic sword skewered through a cherry and a chunk of pineapple, so I mirrored that on my cupcakes using a dried pineapple bit instead of fresh fruit.

I seem to recall an episode of Cupcake Wars where the baker got bashed for putting a maraschino cherry on top of her cupcakes as decoration but the judges were obviously being idiots that day.  There’s a reason the phrase “cherry on top” exists!

The balance of pineapple and coconut was perfect, and I ended up helping myself to a second one of these before the work day was done.

Cupcake Wars style

In other news that actually does involve alcohol (time for all you underage kids to go back to looking up Justin Bieber or whatever it is you do these days)… A coworker was telling me about Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka on Friday afternoon.  I’ve heard of Sweet Tea vodka obviously, and I had seen this brand in the liquor stores but hadn’t tried it. She said that you can make a great boozy Arnold Palmer by mixing it with lemonade.

That night, I was out at a local bar/restaurant and what should be on the happy hour menu but a Jeremiah Weed Arnold Palmer for just $5?  Yup!  I had to try it and I’m glad I did!  It came out in a mason jar type glass garnished with a lemon wedge and tasted dangerously just like iced tea lemonade.  I’m not sure what the ratio of lemonade to sweet tea vodka was, so I can’t give you an exact recipe but I’m sure you won’t mind experimenting to figure it out on your own!

If I hadn’t been the chauffeur for the evening I would have doubled up on this drink the way I did on those Piña Colada cupcakes!

 

Pineapple Cupcakes

Ingredients:

White boxed cake mix and oil and eggs listed on box
8 oz can crushed pineapple
pineapple juice

Directions:

Prepare mix according to directions on box, subbing in pineapple juice for the amount of water called for.  In my case, I needed one cup of water.  I drained the juice from the crushed pineapples into a measuring cup and then used Dole pineapple juice to get the 1 cup needed.  Once you have beaten the batter for the requisite two minutes, gently fold in the crushed pineapple and bake according to the directions on the box.

For the coconut buttercream, use the same basic recipe from my Cherry Lemonade cupcakes but instead of the grenadine use 1 teaspoon of coconut extract.

 

 

Buttons (Or, Why Sometimes Boxed Is Better)

I have been tasked with making cupcakes for a coworker’s 60th birthday celebration tomorrow.  At first I was thinking of making the Snickerdoodle cupcakes I posted about in Cupcakes Taste Better Than Gasoline, but then I decided I wanted to try something new – something light and fruity for spring.  I did my usual internet perusal and found a recipe for lemon cupcakes made with light coconut milk.  Sounds tasty, right?

Since I always like to be cautious, I baked them last night.  This way, if they didn’t turn out as hoped I still had tonight to make a new batch.  Good thing.  They were…weird.  Perhaps it was the light coconut milk?  I’ve cooked with it, but never baked with it before.  The batter was made from scratch, and that was the only thing in it that wasn’t normal for a cupcake…  Whatever it was, I knew that recipe was not a keeper.

So today I regrouped with a good old-fashioned lemon boxed cake mix.  Easy peasy, trusted results!  I put lemon batter in, I got lemon cupcakes out!  I did try a little experiment with the frosting – I decided to make a cherry flavored buttercream.  It may very well be the best thing I have ever created.  I had a decent amount left after frosting the cupcakes.  I didn’t want to wash it down the sink but I knew that if I put it in a container in the fridge that I would end up gorging myself on it at some point later in the evening.  I did eat a giant blob of it before disposing of the rest. 😛

So, lemon cake + cherry frosting = Cherry Lemonade Cupcakes!  I got a bag of colorful buttons from the local craft store to use as decoration because the birthday girl loves to sew.  Hopefully people can control themselves long enough to remove the buttons before diving into one of these babies…

Cherry Lemonade Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes

Box of lemon cake mix and ingredients listed on box.

Cherry Buttercream (adapted from Butter Cream Frosting II on allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons grenadine

Directions

Make cupcakes according to directions on box.  Let cool completely.

For frosting, cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat well.

I like to put a lot of icing on my cupcakes, so if you’re going to do it my way make two batches of icing to decorate 24 cupcakes.