These were the lucky outcome of a small experiment in the kitchen. It all started when I set off to make the Espresso & Brandy cupcakes from here. I soon realized, however, that I did not want to have to make some coffee just to use 1 tablespoon (especially as I have a 6 cup caffettiera). Instead of using coffee, I thought, why not use a coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua? Unfortunately (or luckily?), my liqueur cabinet is always adequately stocked. Not that I sneak downstairs when my partner is fast asleep and drink in the solitude of the night, but I do keep a good assortment of booze for baking and cooking. You would be amazed at how many uses a bottle of brandy can lend itself to. Anyway, I decided to slightly change the frosting recipe too, thinking 5 tablespoons of liqueur would have made it exceedingly runny. Therefore, I decided to match the flavour of the cupcake by adding some Kahlua, followed by some Brandy (the only one in the original recipe) and, weirdly enough, some Malibu (a coconut flavoured liqueur). The result was a deep success, with my partner (who doesn’t like sweet things) even declaring the icing reminded him of ice-cream. Yippee!
Ingredients (for the cupcakes)
- 185g unsalted butter, softened
- 185g golden caster sugar
- 185g self-raising flour
- 3 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp Kahlua
Ingredients (for the icing)
- 150g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g full-fat cream cheese
- 400g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tbsp Kahlua
- 1 tbsp Brandy
- 1 tbsp Malibu
- cocoa powder, optional
- First of all, line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and pre-heat your oven to 180C.
- In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Incorporate the flour and the salt, then pour in the liqueur and beat well until very smooth and pale.
- Divide the batter between the paper cases (I used an icre-cream scoop), then bake for 35 minutes, until the sponges spring back when lightly pressed.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
- In the meantime, prepare the icing. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, combine the butter with the cream cheese, then slowly add the icing sugar and use a rubber spatula to mix that in with the butter and cheese mixture.
- Using the paddle attachment, beat the icing on high speed until very light and fluffy, then gradually add the liqueurs, mixing well after each addition.
- Transfer to a piping bag with a star nozzle attached and, once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe big swirls on the top surface, trying not to break the flow and to pipe moving from the outsides to the insides. Dust with some cocoa powder if you want to.