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The other day, I sent an email out to my VIPs about how we should embrace being extra, and it was all centered around how extra my sister thought I was about her high school graduation party. While you don’t get all the nuggets of wisdom without signing up for my email list, you do get to see exactly what extra looked like on me that day! The big hit of the party was my version of a recipe I found over at Erica’s Sweet Tooth for alcohol infused cupcakes. Real Blue Moon is baked in them!
These summery cupcakes went along perfectly with the blue theme of my sister’s party, which is why we’re focusing on the Blue Moon version today. However, what makes alcohol infused cupcakes awesome are their versatility. Instead of using Blue Moon and orange, you could try Corona and lime! Or, you could get really creative and use craft beer and the garnish of your choice.
Alcohol infused cupcakes are the wave. Get on it. Surf it. Drown in the sheer brilliance of it.
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Alcohol Infused Cupcakes
While I’ve gotten compliments on these from people of all ages, I chose to share them with my twenty-something audience because millennials’ love for beer is like nothing I have ever seen. My insta feed is full of boys in pastel shorts at breweries and taprooms, holding pints and claiming Saturdays are for the boys. Every shoe that ever touched the floor of a frat house is still faintly sticky with the stuff. I am regularly followed on Twitter and Instagram by craft beer reviewers. Beer is like a religion to my peer group, which is why this recipe is always such a hit at parties.
Even if you’re up against a partygoer who doesn’t like beer, the flavor is subtle enough that they’ll still enjoy the cupcake, and your creativity. They’re as sweet as a regular cupcake, but with a little extra of what I would call a bread-y flavor. If you’d like the beer taste to come through even more, you can poke holes in them while they’re cooling and brush some extra on top.
So, how do you make ’em?
I gotta be honest, alcohol infused cupcakes do not meet all three points of the twenty-something cooking trifecta. They are impressive and delicious, but they’re pretty labor intensive. Not difficult per say, because they don’t require any crazy ingredients or gadgets, but burdensome.
Start by choosing a light beer you like to drink. You only need one for the whole recipe, so you’ll be drinking about five. And light beer goes better with this recipe’s vanilla cake. I’d also select one with a fruity companion like orange or lime so you can add it to the frosting. And have a built-in cute garnish!
Related: Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe
First, get your prep out of the way. Set out your butter and eggs so they can get to room temperature. This allows them to trap more air, which makes a fluffier baked good. Then, zest your citrus. Unfortunately, my zester is only sharp in one tiny corner, so this was a tedious task, but it doesn’t have to be. Snag this one from Amazon that’s dishwasher safe, also grates cheese, and is only $10.
While you’re prepping your citrus, you can also slice them for your garnish. Slice thin, round pieces, and then cut them into sixths. After that, sift your powdered sugar. This is definitely tedious. But then you’re ready to go!
First, mix your flour, baking powder and salt in a big bowl and set it aside. In another big bowl, beat your sugar and unsalted butter with an electric mixer. You don’t have to have a fancy stand mixer, you can use a cheap handheld one. Add the eggs one by one, beating in between, then your vanilla and zest.
Next, you have to do a gross thing. Mix your beer and milk. Just do it and get it over with. Then alternate adding that, and the flour mixture, to the butter mixture. Once everything’s mixed well, it’s time to scoop it into your liners!
The first couple times I made alcohol infused cupcakes, I made them full-sized. But I kept getting feedback that they were too dense to finish. This may be partially due to the fact that I never waited for my ingredients to get to room temperature. But it could also be that beer changes the chemical composition of a cupcake just a little. So, this time I decided to make minis. I got 72 cupcakes from this amount of batter, and your partygoers can choose to have two or three if they’re feelin’ wild.
If you’re making minis, you’ll have to adjust the cook time from Erica’s recipe. At 375, my little guys took about 12 minutes instead of 18. While they cook, whip up the frosting!
This part is super easy if you already sifted your powdered sugar. Just blend your butter and cream cheese, then add the sugar a little at a time so you don’t make a mess with it. Once that’s all light and fluffy, add your orange juice and zest, and mix until it’s smooth! I suggest keeping it cold so it stays firm.
I have this fancy contraption for frosting but if you don’t have a real piping bag, you can transfer your frosting to a Ziploc bag and cut a small bit off the corner. Then just pipe away and add your garnish!
Voila! Alcohol infused cupcakes.
Gorgeous and grownup!
- ¾ cups unsalted butter, room temp
- 1-3/4 c sugar
- 2-1/2 c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 eggs, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp orange
- 1 Blue Moon; 1 c to be baked in, the rest for brushing on top
- ¼ cup milk
- Orange wedges/zest for garnish
- For Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 12 oz cream cheese, cold
- 6 tbsp butter, room temp
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- For Alcohol Infused Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 375 and line your mini muffin tin
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt
- In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light & fluffy, 2-3 mins
- Add eggs, beating after each addition, and then add the orange zest and vanilla.
- Combine milk and beer, and alternate adding this mixture and the flour mixture to the sugar mixture.
- Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake 9-14 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
- Remove from oven, poke a few holes in the top of each with a toothpick, and then brush Blue Moon over the tops.
- For Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Cream together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer for 2-3 mins
- Add orange juice and zest, then gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth, about 2 mins.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag and, once cupcakes are cooled, pipe frosting on.