Almost Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

 

I made another batch of birthday cupcakes for a coworker last week.  I should get a raise just for the amount of sugary joy I bring to the office on a regular basis.  However, considering I can barely get a raise for being awesome at my job I’m not holding my breath.

Oh, how I long to be a stay at home mom – just without the kids….  I would sleep in every day, then bake stuff and try new drink recipes and waste hours on Pinterest (except it wouldn’t be a waste because there would be nothing else I should be doing anyway!) Ahhhhh…..

 

Atomic Housewife. 19/52
Atomic Housewife. 19/52 (Photo credit: Sarahnaut)

 

Back to the cupcakes!

Since everyone went gaga over my Rum and Coke cupcakes, I decided to revisit the cocktail theme.  This time I wanted to make some Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) cupcakes using my Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea vodka.

I used a box of  lemon cake mix, and subbed half of the water called for with the vodka.  I also added three tablespoons of vodka to my favorite icing recipe (I cut down on the milk called for to just a splash, since the vodka adds the needed liquid).

The reason my post is titled “Almost Arnold Palmer Cupcakes” is that, while there was a hint of the sweet tea vodka flavor, I didn’t find it strong enough.  So next time I will definitely replace ALL the water called for on the box with the vodka just to punch up the tea flavor a bit more.

Despite the fact that these cupcakes didn’t taste exactly as I had planned, they were still very good.  Light, refreshing, and like my dreams of trading my cubicle for the couch – gone in a flash.

Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

Ingredients

Box of lemon cake mix and necessary ingredients listed on box
Sweet Tea Vodka

Directions

Make batter according to directions on box, using the sweet tea vodka in place of the amount of water called for.  Bake as directed.

Sweet Tea Vodka Butter Cream (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
3 tablespoons sweet tea vodka
Splash of milk (if needed to reach proper consistency)

Directions

Cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat well.

Since boxes of cake mix seem to be shrinking these days, and I don’t like to skimp on the size of my cupcakes, this recipe made 18 cupcakes.

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.

 

 

Hop, Skip and Go Naked?

No, it’s not some kind of adult playground game.  It’s a cocktail!  I stumbled upon this gem while poking around on my favorite recipe site – Allrecipes.com.

If you Google “Hop Skip and Go Naked recipe” you will most likely find a bunch of recipes that involve a combination of beer, vodka and lemonade (ew?).   You might also find a cookie recipe or two.  Cookies are good, but this drink is better!

Simple ingredients – cherry vodka, Triple Sec, cranberry juice and grenadine.  Tastes just like Hawaiian Punch.

Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red
Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red (Photo credit: Like_the_Grand_Canyon)

It is SO good that it’s quite easy to knock back a few, kind of forgetting the vodka part, until suddenly… you’re drunk!   Thus, I have renamed this drink Hawaiian Punch Drunk.  It’s a much more suitable moniker, and removes any connections to that hillbilly beer/lemonade concoction.  Whatever you call it though, you should definitely try it – especially if you live in my neck of the woods where it’s going to be 80 degrees tomorrow!