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.
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.
Tomorrow night is my friend L’s 30th birthday at Missouri Lounge in Berkeley. After my Easter brunch with a friend’s family (pumpernickel bagel, egg salad, Kerns pear nectar, and See’s chocolate Easter eggs), I got to work baking cupcakes. It feels good not to have to follow recipes and be able to improvise now. Baking isn’t as rigid/scientific as some people think.
I did my usual Duncan Hines Devil’s Food mix with a box of chocolate pudding mix for the dry ingredients. Four eggs, 1/3 of a cup vegetable oil, 3/4 of a cup buttermilk, and 1/4 cup bourbon got mixed in.
I decided to fill them this time. Filling is fun. You core out little pockets of cake with a pairing knife, pipe in some goo and then pop the little tops back on. After frosting, no one is the wiser until they take a bite. I’d asked my friend P to get me salted caramels to melt at Berkeley Bowl but he was too stressed out by being in that fucking madhouse, he abandoned his mission.
I ended up at Safeway at 9 am buying something trying to fancy next to squeeze bottles of Hershey’s Syrup. It ended up tasting not salty at all, so I added salt. Then it was too salty. I’d say I eventually wrestled that shit into submission.
The frosting was standard buttercream with extra vanilla and some more bourbon. I went to the fancy cupcake store and got snazzy little chocolate vanilla swirl straws to top them off. Very professional looking. I also got 3 and 0 candles because I think everyone should blow out candles on their birthday. I hope they help make a it a special night for her. She deserves it. She’s wonderful.
Tonight is my friend M’s running pub-crawl 29th birthday in Oakland and Berkeley. Five pubs, 5 miles, is it a recipe for projectile vomiting? She loves a cocktail at Make Westing with whiskey, ginger, and other stuff. I decided to make chocolate Whiskey Mac cupcakes. I bake at my ex boyfriend’s (the good one) house because my mixer lives there and my own kitchen has no counter space. I asked him for 4 tablespoons of whiskey and he left some Oban out for me. Holy shit, Oban! M is worth it.
For the cake I added a package of Jello pudding mix, almost a cup of buttermilk, whiskey, half a cup of oil, 4 eggs, and a teaspoon of ground ginger to a box of devil’s food cake mix. I used a cookie dough scooper to try and make the cupcakes even but I always fail miserably at this.
The frosting is the standard cup of butter and 3 cups of powdered sugar with vanilla, whiskey, and a splash of whole milk. I use a little butter flavored Crisco to make the frosting hardier (buttercream melts and doesn’t look so pretty). I like baking with butter flavored Crisco. In fact, my chocolate chip cookie recipe comes from the package. I used to tell my chef friend who loves those cookies that there was a secret ingredient and he would try to guess. Hahaha, he never guessed it was lard.
I decorated the cupcakes with real French chocolate sprinkles instead of that chocolate flavored wax stuff. I got those along with the back foil liners and the plastic carriers at Spun Sugar in Berkeley. The secret to making the frosting look professional is to buy a set of decorating tips from Williams and Sonoma. Use the biggest one and just squeeze the frosting from a pastry bag on top of the cupcake without moving it around.
Check back tomorrow for a post about M’s birthday. I hope nobody pukes up my Oban cupcakes.
chocolate cake and Southern Comfort butter cream topped with chocolate and salty caramel corn
I’ve made whiskey, bourbon, and other liqueur cupcakes before but I really liked the Southern Comfort combined with the sweet and salty flavors. I did not like Southern Comfort straight up, however and I welcome suggestions for what to do with the almost full bottle I have left over.
I used a Duncan Hines devil’s food cake mix and souped it up. I added an extra egg, vanilla, a package of instant chocolate pudding mix, and buttermilk in place of water. The frosting is standard buttercream with Southern Comfort substituting for milk. It’s topped with Hershey’s syrup from the can and Pop Secret caramel corn with added Kosher salt and more SoCo.
These cupcakes almost made up for the fact that Peyton Manning’s head looks like a penis.