Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes Made with a Cakes Under the Influence Kit {Review}

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IMG_5401_3I love cocktails and cupcakes, so what could be more awesome than a cocktail cupcake?! NOTHING! Duh.

What’s even better is the baking supply company, Cakes Under the Influence, makes baking boozy cupcakes super easy with their easy-to-use kits. I got the chance to try out their nifty Entertainer Kit that has everything you’ll need (minus the alcohol) to make a set of cocktail cupcakes and display them. I wish I had had this kit last year when my boyfriend and I threw a ’60s themed cocktail party.

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My kit included:

  • 1 20″ x 15″ acrylic, dishwasher safe, serving tray that holds up to 12 snap on acrylic stemware
  • 12 food safe silicone cupcake stands (to be used with your own cupcake baking pan)
  • 12 Mini-Martini shaped aluminum molds (3 oz.)
  • 24 greaseproof mini-martini shaped paper baking liners
  • 12 martini shaped acrylic, dishwasher safe and reusable, serving cups
  • 12 acrylic bottoms that the serving cups snap into (these are usually sold separately from the kit)
  • 1 Vanilla Hi-Proof Baking Mix (also sold separately from the entertainer kit)

The kit was also supposed to come with access to the CUI Mobile app available on Apple and Android devices with access to CUI recipes and CUI Community features, but I couldn’t find the app in the Apple app store for my iPod Touch. I also don’t have any android devices, so I couldn’t use the app. Maybe others will have more luck.

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The silicone cupcake stands and aluminum molds worked just fine with my cupcake baking pan. You can use the paper liners with these molds or spray them with cooking spray and use them without paper liners. I decided to try both methods and found differing results. More on that later.

Here’s a quick animation from their website that visually shows how easy it is to use the kit:

The Cakes Under the Influence company encourages you to find new ways to use their product and to create new cocktail cupcake recipes to make with their cake mix. Since I received a package of cake mix with my review kit, I decided to come up with a cocktail recipe that I didn’t see available on their website.

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If you use their cake mix, all you have to do is add the ingredients of your favorite cocktail. It’s pretty darn easy. There are instructions on the back that you can follow, but I choose to modify the Manhattan Cocktail Cupcake Recipe from the CUI website to make Old Fashioned Cocktail cupcakes!

IMG_5418Here’s what you’ll need for the cupcakes:

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Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the cupcake batter:
  • 1 Family size package (13.7 oz) of Vanilla Hi-proof Baking Mix
  • 4 - 5 Tbsp. of club soda or water
  • 1/2 c. bourbon whiskey
  • 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. cherry juice (either Rose's or the syrup from a maraschino cherry jar)
  • 3 dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • For the drizzle:
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. bourbon whiskey (or more to taste)
  • A splash of cherry juice
  • A splash of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • For the garnish:
  • 1 orange
  • 1 10 oz. jar of maraschino cherries
  • toothpicks

Instructions

    For the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine Vanilla Hi-Proof Baking Mix in a bowl with all the other ingredients.
  3. Mix for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Line molds with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. I like to use the baking spray that has oil and flour in it.
  5. Pour or spoon the batter into the molds.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  8. For the garnish:
  9. Cut the orange into wheels and then cut the wheels into quarters.
  10. Take a toothpick and add one cherry and one orange quarter to each.
  11. Place the garnish on top of the cupcake after you put the drizzle on it.
  12. For the drizzle:
  13. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with all liquid ingredients. If it is too thick, thin with more of the juices or a splash of milk. (Don't use too much milk or the citrus juice may curdle it.)
  14. Use the rest of the orange you used for garnish for the juice.
  15. Drizzle on the top of each cupcake.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2014/01/old-fashioned-cocktail-cupcakes-made-with-a-cakes-under-the-influence-kit-review/
When they’re done, they’ll look like this:

IMG_5402I tasted the batter before it was cooked, and it really did taste like an Old Fashioned. Once cooked, the strength of the flavor had subsided a little since some of the alcohol had cooked out, but I still picked up the taste of an Old Fashioned. The whiskey drizzle on the top really enhanced the cake’s taste too. The consistency of the cake was almost muffin-like and wasn’t too sweet which I liked.

IMG_5405The acrylic stemware snapped into the included serving tray easily and looked pretty fancy once they were all on there. If you use the bases instead of the tray, I found that the tops didn’t snap into them, but rather fit tightly. A couple didn’t fit as tightly, and fell apart when I picked them up.

Since I made some of the cupcakes in the liners and some without, I noticed they cooked differently. The cake in the liners was more perfectly round on top, and the ones without were flatter. The cakes themselves tasted the same, but that might be something to keep in mind if you want a specific look for these cupcakes.

IMG_5416Cakes Under the Influence has many different options so you can find the right product for your lifestyle. Don’t need a full Entertaining Kit? They have other kit options, including a 2-person package. Besides the mini martini molds and stemware, they also have margarita, champagne flutes, and shot glass shapes! If cupcakes aren’t your style, they offer large cake molds and cocktail cookie cutters as well.

These kits are great for adult parties or even a romantic night in. Like I mentioned before, I wish I had known about these when I had my cocktail party, because they would have been perfect! The best thing about this product is, except for the paper liners, it’s all reusable. Next time I throw a cocktail party, you better believe there’s going to be a set of Cake Under the Influence boozy cupcakes on the table.

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*** I received this baking kit in return for an honest review of the product. All opinions are true and my own.*** 
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Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad {Recipe}

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IMG_3566Skeetie Salad is a fruit salad that’s been in my family for years. My family renamed it Skeetie Salad after my uncle Scott, because as a child he loved to make and eat it so much. (Skeetie was his childhood nickname).

I made this recently for a ’60s themed cocktail party, along with a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It is not hard to make and only uses a few ingredients (although others could be added)

Skeetie Salad a.k.a. Fruit Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 28 oz. canned pineapple tidbits (I used one 20 oz and one 8 oz can)
  • handful of maraschino cherries
  • 2 - 11 oz. cans of mandarin oranges
  • 6 bananas
  • half of a 10.5 oz. bag of mini marshmallows (about 2-3 cups)
  • Approx. 1/3 cup mayonnaise (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Strain the pineapple and mandarin orange juice into a bowl. Drain as much liquid off of the fruit as you can and put into a large separate bowl.
  2. Dump mini marshmallows into the juice and allow to soak while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  3. In the bowl with the pineapple and oranges, add cherries and sliced bananas.
  4. After marshmallows have soaked up some of the juices, strain the juice and discard, and put the marshmallows in with the fruit.
  5. Add the mayonnaise and mix it all together.

Notes

This salad often tastes even better the next day, although slightly mushier. The mayo measurement is approximate because we never really measured it before.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/skeetie-salad-a-k-a-fruit-salad/

 

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake {Recipe}

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I went to a ’60s themed cocktail party last week and wanted to bring something of the era as a treat, so I scoured my mom’s recipe box and found my grandma’s recipe for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake that seemed perfect. I love how it turned out.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

    For the topping:
  • Large can of sliced pineapple (save the juice)
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • For the cake:
  • 2 eggs (separate the yolk from the whites and put both aside)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose flour and it worked just fine)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until completely mixed together and caramelized. Don't let it burn.
  3. Pour into an 8" cake pan, making sure to coat the whole bottom.
  4. Arrange pineapple slices in the bottom of the cake pan on top of the caramel mixture. I put one in the middle and six around it.
  5. Place halved cherries inside and in between the pineapple slices.
  6. Beat egg yolks until very thick.
  7. Gradually add sugar to yolks and continue beating.
  8. Boil pineapple juice in a small sauce pan and add to egg/sugar mixture. Combine well.
  9. Then add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet mixture; mix until smooth.
  10. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes, checking it every so often.***
  12. It should be done once a toothpick comes out clean or almost clean.

Notes

***Notes on baking time

The recipe I used somehow forgot to put how long to cook the cake on it. At 325*F, mine took 50-55 minutes to completely cook. Since it was taking so long, I ended up changing the temperature to 350*F for the last few minutes. My experience may be different from yours, so check on the cake occasionally to make sure you don't over bake it.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe/

Here’s some other great photos from the cocktail party:

 

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Cottage Cheese Crepes

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These little crepes are one of my favorite things to have for breakfast. My mom came up with the recipe trying to recreate something her dad used to eat when she was a kid. It only has three ingredients and is high in protein!

I like to jazz mine up with butter and a spread of my favorite Ikea lingonberry jam. Since the crepes are made with cottage cheese, many different toppings would taste good with these. You could try fruit, jams, syrup, cream cheese, etc.

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Cottage Cheese Crepes

Yield: 10-12 4 in. - 4.5 in. crepes

Serving Size: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a blender, layer cottage cheese, flour, and eggs. It's good to sandwich the flour between the two wet ingredients so it doesn't clump or fly everywhere. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour batter onto a skillet or griddle that's preheated to medium-high heat. If not using non-stick cookware, use a little non-stick cooking spray before you put down the batter.
  3. The cakes will cook quickly since they are thin. Once they are golden brown and not too wet inside, they are done.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/06/cottage-cheese-crepes/

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New Year’s Eve Champagne Cupcakes

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Happy New Year everyone!

It is a time for resolutions, new beginnings, and nursing your hangover from last night’s party! If you didn’t already have more than your share of champagne for the year, you’ve got to try out these fancy champagne cupcakes.

This endeavor was full of firsts for me. It was the first time making cupcakes with alcohol and the first time I measured all my dry ingredients using a kitchen scale instead of measuring cups. I’ve learned that measuring by weight is much more accurate. I’ll have a video explaining how to measure flour by weight up soon if you don’t already know how to do it.

I found the recipe for the cake and frosting at Gimme Some Oven last week and thought these cupcakes would be a great addition to the fancy pajama party my friends throw for New Year’s Eve each year. I followed the recipe from Gimme Some Oven exactly and they came out pretty good. The frosting is very sweet but the cakes are light and compliment it well. I wish the champagne flavor was more apparent in these cupcakes, but they still taste great regardless.

For decorating these babies, I wanted to do something elegant. I found a tutorial for making 4th of July sparkler cupcake picks from Two Shades of Pink and modified it for my New Year’s Eve theme. Instead of using wooden skewers (I had difficulty finding them), I used those little coffee stirrer straws. Color-wise the stirrers went with my color scheme better anyway. I found that I needed to use a little hot glue to shape them more because tying them in the middle with a string didn’t poof them into a bursting shape very well.

To make the champagne topper, I used some scrap card stock in green and red and a wrapper from a white chocolate Lindor truffle. I marked out a bottle shape on the green paper and then used bits and pieces of the candy wrapper for the foil accents and label. For a little extra touch I cut a little tiny band out of the red paper and glued it over the foil on the neck of the bottle.

To make these cupcakes really sparkle, I hot glued some rhinestone ribbon around the tops of the cupcake liners after they were done baking. One thing I learned from this is make sure to get all of the hot glue strings off of the cupcakes before you frost them. They are tricky to find.

Have a wonderful new year! Did you do anything fun for New Year’s Eve?

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Crazy for Cake Pops Review and Giveaway

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I received a copy of Crazy for Cake Pops: 50 All-New Delicious and Adorable Creations by Molly Bakes for review from Ulysses Press recently and decided to make something from the book. There are many great decoration ideas in this book with lots of photographs of each cake pop.

Besides the cake pop decorations, there are also many other sections of the book. It starts out with descriptions of all the equipment you’ll need for the projects, as well as recipes for chocolate, red velvet, vanilla, peanut butter, toffee, and lemon cakes and the frostings that go with them. There is also a section in the back that shows some techniques for making the cake pops.

Never made cake pops before? Don’t worry. There are detailed explanations of how to make cake pops and plenty of colorful photos to show you the process. I’ve made cake pops once before, so I was familiar with the instructions, but it was nice to refresh my memory.

As I flipped through the book I came across a ton of designs I wanted to try, but I settled on the Moustache Cake Pops. I thought these looked great and simple.

Unfortunately, I had a few issues with making these. One thing I’ve realized from making cake pops is they always end up more complicated to make than they look. I used the recipe for the chocolate cake and chocolate frosting from the book (recipes below). The cake turned out pretty good although I may have overcooked it. This didn’t matter too much though, because I mixed it with the frosting and it became moist again.

The frosting was a little weird though. I followed the instructions exactly, but the mixture was less like frosting and more like a truffle mixture. It tasted great but wasn’t fluffy like the instructions said it would be. Not sure what happened. I mixed a little half and half in to soften it, but it was still really hard. It did mix into the cake crumbles well though and the mixture seemed right, so I guess this “frosting” didn’t mess it up, but I wouldn’t use the recipe for actual frosting.

Another problem I had was that my cake mixture wasn’t holding together well enough to form the moustache. It kept falling apart. I don’t think I mixed enough of the frosting into the cake.  Oops! I was able to make regular cake pops though so this is what I ended up with:

Not too bad, although I was bummed that the moustaches didn’t work out. I’ll try them again sometime. If you think you could do better, the recipes and instructions for the Moustache Cake Pops are below. Post a picture on my facebook page if you give these ones a shot. I’d love to see them!

Chocolate Cake

Yield: Makes enough for approx. 20 medium cake balls

Ingredients

  • 55 grams (8 tablespoons) cocoa powder
  • 250 milliliters (1 cup) boiling water
  • 120 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 200 grams (1-2/3 cups) self-rising flour*, plus more for the tin
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Put the cocoa into a heatproof bowl, pour in the boiling water and stir until combined. Set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch (25-centimeter) round cake tin. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Pour in the dry ingredients and gently beat until combined. Fold in the cooled cocoa until the color of the mixture is even. Pour into the tin and bake for 45–60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Once baked, leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes

*I didn't have self-rising flour so I made some using this recipe: 1 cup flour, ½ tsp. salt, 1½ tsp. baking powder sifted together.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2012/03/crazy-for-cake-pops-review-and-giveway/

Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients

  • 120 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 grams (2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 100 grams (1-2/3 cups) chocolate, melted and cooled

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar and then the chocolate. Continue to cream until light and fluffy. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2012/03/crazy-for-cake-pops-review-and-giveway/

Moustache Pops

Ingredients

  • 20 medium cake balls, chilled
  • 1 (14-ounce) bag black candy melts

Instructions

  1. Roll each cake ball into a log shape with your hands. Use a lollipop stick to make an indentation in the top center and bottom center of each “log.” Squeeze and pinch the center of the “log” to shape the middle of the moustache. Now squeeze and pinch the ends, curling each one upwards to create a handlebar moustache shape.
  2. Melt the candy. Dip the end of each lollipop stick ¾ inch into the candy and insert a stick into the center of each moustache. Leave to set. Dip each pop into the candy, dipping from left to right to get an even coating. Insert into a polystyrene block to dry.
http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2012/03/crazy-for-cake-pops-review-and-giveway/

{Overall Opinion}

Overall, I love this book. I personally need to practice making cake pops more often so I can make some of the more complicated cake pops in the book. For those of you that are cake pop newbies like myself, there are some easier designs to make in the book too. The great thing about cake pops is there are many ways they can be decorated, and even the easiest ones (like mine above) still look nice. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in making cake pops.

{Buy It}

Crazy for Cake Pops is available on several websites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble in paperback and e-book form.

{Win It}

Ulysses Press has graciously offered to send one of my readers a copy of Crazy for Cake Pops: 50 All-New Delicious and Adorable Creations! To enter fill out the Rafflecopter form below. If you’ve never filled one out before, sign in with either Facebook or log in with your name and email address. Then fill out the first three entries. You don’t have to complete the first three entries but you can’t get to the other entries without finishing them. Once completed, all of the extra entries will become available for completion. Let me know if you have any problems filling out the form.

I WILL BE VERIFYING ENTRIES! So please leave any requested info for the entries. If any requested info is missing from the form, I will not be able to verify your entry and will choose another winner.

The giveaway will end at 11:59pm EST on March 17, 2012. US entries only, please. Terms and Conditions are located at the bottom of the Rafflecopter widget.

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