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Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

12 Feb


There are many ways to say “I love you”.  One way I say it is through my baking. From the pretty-in-pink to the decadent chocolate/chocolate, here are some of my favorite I Love You’s for Valentine’s Day:

1. Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge Liqueur

2. Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge and Limoncello

3. Amaretto Sour Cupcakes

4. Goldschlager Red Hot! Cupcakes

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

5. Champagne Cupcakes

6. Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Buttercream

7. Chocolate Wine Cupcakes


8.   Neapolitan Cupcakes with Chambord Raspberry Buttercream

9.   Chocolate Snoball Cupcakes with Coconut Rum

10. Godiva Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

11. Frangelico Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting


Why not whip up a batch of something sweet for your special sweetie?

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
















Cinco de Mayo Margarita Cupcakes

23 Apr


We Americans love to party. We’ve turned partying into an art form. Give us a reason to celebrate, and we will pick it up and run with it.  So it’s no wonder that what started as a local Southwestern celebration of Mexican heritage, culture and tradition has, in recent years, spread across the country and turned into a holiday so huge, it now has more significance here in the U.S. than it does in Mexico. I refer, of course, to Cinco de Mayo. A day originally set aside to commemorate the Mexican Army’s win in a battle against the French, May the 5th is now a day when many of us head to our local Mexican restaurant, order pitchers of margaritas and bottles of Corona, feast on tacos and enchiladas, all while being serenaded by a 3-piece mariachi band.


It’s no surprise that, coming from our closest neighbors to the South, many Mexican traditions have become an inherent part of our culture. Mexican restaurants, for example, from local authentic taquerias to quintessentially American chains like Chili’s to fast food restaurants such as Taco Bell, can be found in just about every neighborhood. In fact, that uniquely American way we have of taking bits of other cultures and melting them with our own gave rise to the perfect culinary blend of both cultures: Tex-Mex cuisine.  Just like St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve kind of adopted Cinco de Mayo as our own.

No, we had no part of that Mexican-French battle so many years ago. But  honestly, is there a better reason to celebrate the warmer, sunnier, end of winter, promise of summer, first days of May? I don’t think so. I, for one, am counting the days until I can crunch on a spicy, crispy taco or two, dig into a pile of cheesy refried beans, and wash it all down with a gigantic, salt-rimmed, Gold margarita served in a glass the size of a swimming pool. Clichéd? Definitely. But what a great way to celebrate the 5th of May…..or the 6th, or 7th or 8th…….


I found this recipe for margarita cupcakes on the internet a couple of years ago, and have been making them regularly since.  I didn’t note the website, but the recipe has been out there for a while. They are by far the favorite of many of my friends, and the recipe itself is a favorite of mine for two reasons: 1) it’s a “cheater” recipe that starts with box mix and 2) well, you’ll find out for yourself….keep reading…


Margarita Cupcakes

9 0z margarita mix

3 oz tequilla

3/4 oz Grand Marnier, Triple Sec or other orange liqueur

1 box white cake mix

3 egg whites

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon lime zest

Mix together the margarita mix, tequila and orange liqueur in a large measuring cup or spouted bowl. Reserve 1 1/4 cups for the cupcake batter and (here comes the best part) drink the rest as a treat while you are baking. I know, right!?!?!  These cupcakes truly are Baked Under the Influence!


In a stand mixer, add the margarita mixture (1 1/4 cups), cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil and lime zest. Mix on low for 30 seconds, then at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Fill paper lined muffin tins about 2/3 – 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to rack to cool completely.


Lime Buttercream Frosting

4 cups confectioners sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon lime zest

decorating sugar

mini candy fruit slices (optional)

Beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar, salt and lime juice and zest on low-speed until blended, and then beat at medium/high until light and fluffy. Add a little water or milk if necessary until desired consistency is reached.

Frost cupcakes. Carefully roll the outside edge of each cupcake in decorating sugar and garnish with fruit slice.






12 Dec


When I was a little girl, a very practical Santa visited our house every Dec. 24th. (Anyone who has read my Bananas Foster Cupcakes post will not be surprised by this.) Each Christmas morning, we’d rush into the living room, pull down our stockings and dump out the contents to see what wonderments Santa left. Without fail, there’d be the new Christmas toothbrush and toothpaste, the new Christmas comb and brush, and maybe some new Christmas underpants. If we were really good that year, there might even be a coloring book and box of nice, new, sharp Crayola crayons. But no matter what, without fail, Santa always left a nice big orange in the toe of the stocking.

As I grew older and Santa got to know me better, the toiletries and coloring books were replaced by lovely little sparkling items that could easily be slipped over a wrist, onto a finger or around the neck.  And he still left an orange in the toe of the stocking – but now the orange was a decadent treat made of rich dark chocolate infused with orange essence, wrapped in bright orange foil. One rap on the table and the ball broke into perfectly formed little chocolate orange segments – delicious!



And so the whole chocolate and orange combination is now something I’ve come to associate with the holidays. I’ve put together a yummy little cupcake using my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe (which just happens to be a vegan recipe – but don’t let that throw you, this is one awesome, moist  chocolate cupcake), topped with some Grand Marnier-infused buttercream frosting. It’s a perfect holiday cupcake to take to a family gathering or holiday dessert swap…….just be sure to save one for Santa!

Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan)

Adapted from recipe found on Makes approx 12 cupcakes

1 cup soy (or almond) milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons Grand Marnier

1 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.


Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside for a few minutes to curdle.

Add sugar, oil, Grand Marnier to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

Add in two batches to the wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain.


Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake 18 – 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Grand Marnier Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 – 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

freshly grated orange peel

Cream butter.  Add confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla and Grand Marnier. Blend in slowly at first, then beat, adding more sugar or Grand Marnier until desired consistency and flavor is reached.

Frost cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with grated orange peel.


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