Intoxicated Cupcakes: 41 Tipsy Treats, the latest in the recent onslaught of booze-drenched cake cookbooks, certainly isn't going after any James Beard awards. But it's summer. And so it's perfectly acceptable to have a strawberry daiquiri cupcake (p. 40) followed by a piña colada cupcake chaser (p. 27) guilty pleasure moment while you peruse those B list summer movie listings.
Of course, the cupcakes still have to be good.
If you're a from scratch-only baker, consider yourself forewarned that there are a lot of cake mixes and instant pudding mixes scattered about in those “Bright and Cheery Orange Raspberry Cupcakes” and “Tooty-Fruity Sangria Cupcakes.” But cake mixes are perfectly understandable when you're using ingredients like “ready to drink” Mudslide mix in those chocolate Mudslide cupcakes with vanilla-Mudslide icing. And what makes a “good” cupcake is certainly a highly subjective matter.
But we're still not quite sure if it's a sugar high thing, or if we're having a misdirected audience reader moment. With all of the booze, clearly this is a book for adults. We just can't get over all the exclamation points in the head notes: “The icing is fluffy, and marshmallowy, and is extra fancy when piped!” and “Don't worry, you can wash your hands while they bake!”
On the plus side, there are several recipes that are refreshingly cake mix-free. That Limoncello-poppy seed version sounds interesting, as does the chocolate Grand Marnier cupcake. And we were excited when we scanned the recipe for “Wine and Cheese Party Cupcakes” because we were expecting to find a savory cupcake option or two. You know, excuses to use up last night's leftover Chianti and Gorgonzola.
Instead, these cupcakes are Port-based with chocolate chunks and a white chocolate-mascarpone icing. The wine and cheese party connection? According to author Kate Legere, “Nothing says sophistication like a wine and cheese party, so turn on some jazz, send out the invites, and surprise your guests with these super-rich, wine-infused cupcakes that won't even stain your teeth!”
We'll leave you with that thought, along with a chocolate cupcake recipe from Ludo Lefebvre. Although if you're imbibing while baking, it might be wise to steer clear of his “optional” foie gras chantilly cream, maple-bacon coulis, balsamic syrup and caramelized almond dragées. A plain old chocolate cupcake works fine. Just fine.