The Blood and Sand cocktail was named after a 1922 bullfighter movie starring Rudolph Valentino. The ingredients in the cocktail are blood, sand, and booze. They are actually scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry heering (Danish cherry liqueor), and orange juice. My cupcake version is chocolate scotch with blood orange buttercream.
My chocolate cake and basic buttercream recipes are the same old same old with a twist. I used almost a cup of scotch and just a little whipping cream in the cake batter. Baking with booze is a fun chemistry experiment. Even Betty Crocker bakes with booze but the alcohol usually flavors the frosting and not the cake.
Some of the alcohol burned off in the baking of the cupcakes but not all. They are smaller than usual with more of a spongecake-like texture. You can taste the alcohol and they are delicious.
The frosting could have been orangier. The 3 Safeway blood oranges were not that juicy. I threw in some Grand Marnier and added dried oranges as decoration. I wish the color would have been deeper pink as well.
Don’t be afraid to mess around and improvise with baking. As long as you have the basic dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda), it’s really hard to mess up. This is the second time I’ve baked cupcakes for a friend’s boyfriend’s birthday in two weeks. I’m now retired.