Cosmopolitan // Cranberry and Orange Cupcakes with Cranberry, Orange & Lime Icing


I'm a little bit late to the party, but since it was Thanksgiving last weekend, I thought I'd make something vaguely Thanksgivingy by doing Cosmopolitans because of the cranberry flavour. Cosmos were one of the first cocktails I had out at bars when I turned 18 and man oh man how far my palate has come. I caught up with some family friends tonight and one of the kids (who's actually not so much a kid now that he's 19), has gotten into good whiskeys already - like the $35 a nip whiskeys. I feel like Steve would be proud.

Feedback on the Cosmo cakes was very positive! Three work friends said it was one of the best I've ever done and particularly called out the orange zest used in both the cake and the icing. I'm not super fond of orange flavoured cakes, but it clearly seems to be a crowd favourite. The one thing I'd change would be to add a bit of colouring to the icing so it turns pink and looks more like a Cosmopolitan.

Notes from Steve (Steve's back!):
Cosmo is widely credited with revitalising the cocktail culture that was all but dead in the 70s and 80s. It got people thinking about what they were drinking again and encouraged bartenders to use better quality ingredients and begin inventing again!

Specs are:
  • 45mL Citron Vodka
  • 30mL Cranberry Juice
  • 15mL Cointreau (or equivalent triple sec)
  • 15mL Lime Juice
Shake and double strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a flamed Orange twist. You make an orange twist, and squeeze it over a flame into the cocktail.

Helena: Erm, what's double straining?
Steve: So a hawthorn strainer is the one that goes on top of the cocktail tin, and stops the bulk of the ice going into the cocktail glass. Then you have a fine strainer which is like a mesh strainer that you poor into that stops rest of the ice and any pulp from juices and whatnot from going into the glass.





Cranberry and Orange Cupcakes with Cranberry, Orange & Lime Icing
Makes 24 cupcakes
Slightly modified from Taste & Tell

Cranberry and Orange Cupcakes
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add in the eggs, one at a time and scrape down the sides of the bowl after each egg. Add the orange zest.
  4. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter and beat until combined. Follow that with ½ of the buttermilk. Add another ⅓ of the dry ingredients, the remaining buttermilk, then the remaining flour mixture, beating to combine between each addition. Fold the cranberries into the batter.
  5. Fill each of the prepared cups about ⅔ full of the batter. Bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Orange, Cranberry and Lime Icing
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar (or do what I always do, and add to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • Chopped cranberries to garnish
  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar bit by bit until you get the right consistency and sweetness. Beat in the orange zest.
  2. Add in the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get the right consistency. The cream kind of makes the icing fluff up.
  3. Add in the cranberries. Add food colouring to make the icing pink!
  4. Pipe the icing on top of the cooled cupcakes and top each cupcake with a sprinkling of cranberries.

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