It’s very possible that an episode of Sex and the City is responsible for the cupcake craze that still has people seeking out the adorable desserts. Some talented bakers have even managed to build a former hobby into multimillion-dollar empires thanks to the treat’s popularity. While many of these bakeries have gained success by doing great versions of classics, the same old chocolate with vanilla buttercream is starting to seem a little pedestrian.
When you find yourself in the mood for a sweet treat that’s a little more interesting, try out one of these unique creations. Some surprising ingredients — like gin, pistachios, red wine, and even peas — give this beloved dessert a new look. And you thought you had cupcakes all figured out.
1. Gin and Tonic Cupcakes
Combine snack time and cocktail time with these gin and tonic cupcakes from The Girl in The Little Red Kitchen. Start by mixing together the dry ingredients while butter and sugar cream in a mixer. Add eggs, lime juice, and gin, then mix in the dry ingredients alternately with tonic water. A zesty lime frosting adds even more pucker-inducing power and a bit more gin.
This dessert is perfect for a party when you want to impress your friends and family. Just make sure to have some more traditional, and less boozy, cupcakes around for any kids who might show up.
- 2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Zest from 1 lime
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¼ cups granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup gin
- 1 cup tonic water
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Zest from 1 lime
- Juice from ½ lime
- 2 tablespoons tonic water
- 2 tablespoons gin
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 12-cup cupcake pans with liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and lime zest.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and airy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, until combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix in the lime juice and gin. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the tonic water, then the remaining flour, until thoroughly combined.
Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds of the way full with batter and bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar on low speed. Add the lime zest, juice, tonic water, and gin. Slowly increase the speed until the frosting comes together and is nice and smooth. Bring the speed up to medium-high and mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Pipe the frosting or spread it on the cupcakes using an offset spatula.