Tag Archives: dessert

Pumpkin Shandy Cupcakes with Ginger Limoncello Buttercream

27 Sep


September is a month of transitions. We still have the bright, warm, sun-filled days of summer, but awaken to chilly mornings with just the slightest little nip in the air to remind us autumn is just around the corner. We can still wear shorts and flip-flops, but maybe we’ll trade in that tank top for a long-sleeved tee. The trees themselves reflect this transition, still dressed in bright green leaves, but with a canopy of beautiful reds and oranges and yellows adorning their crowns. And I know I’m not the only one who is starting to look at her oven with love again, appreciating (instead of dreading) the warmth it fills the kitchen with while baking up a batch of some special treat I’ve been waiting all summer to try.


Now is also the time we begin to swap out our Leinenkugels and Blue Moons for the beloved pumpkin ales: Southern Tier’s Pumpking, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and Sam Adam’s (8.5% abv!) Fat Jack, just to name a favorite few. All delicious to be sure, but what a shame there isn’t a way to smoothly transition from those bright, citrusy summer ales of summer to the heady, spicy brews of fall. Or is there?


Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you Traveler Beer Co.’s Jack-O Shandy! As the bottle claims, it’s a fine wheat beer with lemon peel (hence the shandy part) with natural flavors and PUMPKIN added (hence the pumpkin ale bit)! At last, the perfect summer-to-fall transition beer. No more Leinenkugel withdrawals, no more Pumpking spice harsh. Finally, the perfect way to segue from summer to fall, brew-wise. Thanks Travelers!


Inspired by such a delightful shandy, I decided to try a little baking transition of my own. And so I offer for your late summer/early fall culinary enjoyment my pumpkin shandy cupcakes. A light, spicy pumpkin cupcake topped with my delicious limoncello buttercream, topped with a dusting of crushed ginger cookies. These yummy cakes will be the perfect finish to any end-of-season picnic or that first hayride of the fall. But enjoy them while you can. Because like the beautiful fall foliage, pumpkin ale season is short…so many pumpkin ales, so little time….


Pumpkin Shandy Cupcakes

1 box spice cake mix

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

2 eggs

2/3 cup Traveler Jack-O Shandy

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake  tins with paper liners – I was able to get about 18 cupcakes.

Mix all ingredients at low speed until combined, then at medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Limoncello Buttercream Frosting

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

4 cups confectioners sugar

pinch salt

grated lemon peel

juice from one small/medium lemon

1 – 2 tablespoons Limoncello, or to taste

2-3 Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookie Thins, crushed

Cream butter until soft. Add sugar, salt, lemon peel, lemon juice and limoncello, mixing at low speed until combined, then at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Frost as desired and sprinkle with crushed cookie crumbs.



“Sonic” Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

1 Jun


It’s probably been 10 years now, if not more,  that I began to notice the TV ads for Sonic Drive-Ins. I don’t know what it was about the ads, but every time I saw one, I immediately wanted to go to Sonic. One small hiccup though – we had no Sonics in our area. Those ads became so infuriating, just taunting me, enticing me with all those Sonic goodies that were nowhere to be had.

Fast forward a few years, and an Internet search by my daughter revealed that a Sonic had opened in our area. And by area, I mean about 45 minutes away. I was over the moon! A road trip was immediately planned, to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which would include a side trip to the Sonic on the way. And so, one beautiful sunny summer day, we started out, heady with excitement, not knowing what to expect, but finally, after years of wanting, I was going to Sonic!

I was not disappointed. From the roller skating carhops, to the pristine parking lot with the drive-up carports, to the expansive menu, Sonic was all I could ask for in a fast food restaurant, and then some. I don’t really remember what I ordered that day except for two things: the tots…..yum!…..and the cherry limeade. The delicious, refreshing, citrusy-sweet cherry limeade with the cute little maraschino cherry hanging off the edge, held safely in place by the lid to the cup. This is what I had come for!


We still don’t have a Sonic close by, which is probably a good thing, but to this day, I’ve come to associate that certain type of summer day with cherry limeade. And it just so happens this beautiful 1st day of June is just that kind of day. Which started me thinking about cherry limeades…and cherries…and kirsch…..and cupcakes! You can see how my mind works there…


So here they are, “Sonic” Cherry Limeade cupcakes, super easy, super-fruity, super light, a perfect way to kick off your summer!


Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)

3/4 cup of Sprite soda

1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice (strained from jar of maraschino cherries)

1/4 cup Kirsch

1/3 cup oil

3 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, mixing at low speed until combined, and then at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Lime Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature

4-5 cups of confectioners sugar

juice from one lime

1 tablespoon milk

green food coloring

pinch of salt

maraschino cherries

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add 4 cups of sugar, lime juice, salt and milk, mixing at low speed until combined, then at high speed until light and fluffy, adding additional sugar if necessary until desired consistency is reached. Add a drop or two of green food coloring and blend in. Frost as desired and top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry.





Irish Coffee Cupcakes

27 Jan


Yes, it’s another brutally cold night here in the Mid-Atlantic as we brace for yet another snow storm. But as others scavenge about for rock salt and space heaters, I sit toasty warm, cocooned in a big fluffy blanket, oblivious to the howling winds and sub-zero wind chills. Why? Because I have discovered the magic elixir guaranteed to chase Jack Frost away! While others fruitlessly try to warm themselves from the outside, I have tapped into the ancient wisdom of my ancestors to know that to truly become warm, one must start from the inside. And the best way to do so? Irish Coffee – the perfect beverage on a cold winter’s night.


I think everyone probably has her own recipe for the perfect Irish Coffee. I start with my favorite coffee mug (we all have one) and spoon in enough raw sugar to cancel out the day –  the tougher the day, the more sugar I add. I tuck the mug under the Keurig, pop in a nice strong decaf K-cup and brew. Ahhhh, who doesn’t love the aroma of fresh brewed coffee? Now, here’s the best part – adding the Irish Whiskey. No measuring needed, just count: 1 glug for a chilly day, 2 glugs when there’s a definite nip in the air, and 3 glugs whenever there’s a minus sign in front of the temperature. Top it all off with piles and piles of whipped cream.

Now, grab your warmest old blanket, put something mind-numbing on the tv, and you are fully equipped to ride out the harshest winter night Mother Nature could ever dish out. One mug is all you need to send a soothing warmth coursing though your entire body, gently lulling you into blissful contentment – as I said, a magical elixir.


It just so happens this past Saturday was National Irish Coffee day. What better way to celebrate (besides having an actual Irish Coffee…which I did) than to bake up some Irish Coffee cupcakes? Not to be confused with the Irish Car Bomb cupcake (check out Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe, it’s absolutely the best!), the Irish Coffee cupcake stays true to the beverage, using real coffee, Irish Whiskey and Kahlua – no chocolate allowed here.


So turn down the thermostat and crank up the oven – these fabulous cupcakes will warm you up, body and soul!

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Recipe originally posted by bettycupcakes.com.

Makes 16-18 cupcakes.

2 cups flour

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter

3/4 cup fresh brewed coffee

1 oz Kahlua

1 oz Irish Whiskey

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars and salt. Set aside.

In saucepan, melt butter over low heat. When melted, add coffee, Kahlua and Irish Whiskey and stir to combine.

In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla.

Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir to cool the butter. Add the buttermilk mixture and stir until completely combined.

Fill prepared muffin tins using 1/3 measuring cup.

Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Irish Coffee Frosting

3/4 cups butter, softened

1 lb confectioner sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 -2 tablespoons Irish Whiskey

1-2 tablespoons Kahlua

1 tablespoon milk, as needed

chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)

Cream butter in stand mixer. Add powdered sugar, salt and 1/2 liquors and beat at low speed until incorporated and then high speed, adding remaining liquors and/or milk, until desired consistency is reached. Frost and decorated as desired.



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