Cupcakes, which were once called fairy cakes in Australia, have become such a phenomenon that they now have a million websites and books, several TV shows, and possibly a film all dedicated to their existence.

Sadly cupcakes often look better than they taste. This is due to the size of the treat itself. Cupcakes are small and dry out very easily in the oven.

Often bakers will overcompensate for this dryness by overloading the cake with elaborate icing as a kind of softness to eat along with the dry. If you love icing, great. If it’s not your thing this can be bleugh.

But not all cupcakes are created equal.

The 3 cupcakes below (and we’ve even included one for the vegan folk) are designed for adults only. Given that these sweet little snacks were originally designed to be held in the hands of small children, this seems a little bit naughty but…oh well. Move over kids, these OUR little cakes.

Margarita Cupcakes

Who wouldn’t want to get wasted away again in Margaritaville with a plate full of these? (OK, the amount of booze in this recipe won’t make you forget all your troubles, but they ARE yummy !)

For the Cupcakes:

3 cups flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, at room temp

3 limes, zested and juiced

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup tequila (or half tequila/half orange liqueur, optional)

For the Tequila-Lime Buttercream:

2 cups sugar

8 egg whites

2 ½ cups butter, room temperature

2 1/2 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp Tequila

lime zest and wedges, for topping

fleur-de-sel, for garnish


Preheat oven to 325. Prepare muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lime zest and lime juice. Add vanilla. Turn mixer to low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated. Fill each muffin cup ~3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Allow cupcakes to cool completely in the pans before removing. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with tequila or tequila/orange mixture if desired.

To make the frosting, place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160 degrees with a candy thermometer.

Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes). Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating, it will pull back together. Add lime juice and 1 Tbsp tequila. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy. Beat in remaining tablespoon of tequila, if desired.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream as desired.  Garnish with lime zest, lime slices, and fleur-de-sel.

Vegan Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes

These have the healthy buzzword VEGAN in the title, so you know they must be good.

For the cupcakes:

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup amaretto (plus more for dipping)

1 cup natural cane sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp pure almond extract (optional, but awesome)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

For the Vegan Chocolate Amaretto Frosting:

1 cup vegan margarine, room temperature

1/4 cup amaretto

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 cup coco powder

1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

almond slivers to garnish


Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. With an electric mixer, beat together the following ingredients in a large bowl: non-dairy milk, amaretto, oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat on medium speed for a minute or two.  Now sift in the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, until the clumps are gone.  Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake pan, about two-thirds full for each. Bake for about 22 minutes at 350F, or until the cupcake slowly springs back when pressed with a finger. Allow to completely cool before dipping the cupcake tops into a small bowl of amaretto and frosting.

For the frosting, Beat the margarine using an electric mixer until fluffy.Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt then beat for 3 more minutes.Pour in the amaretto then beat for another 5 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy.Pipe or spread the frosting on to your cakes as desired.

Mulled Wine cupcakes

Great as a Christmas treat, or anytime you need to feel festive.

For the cupcakes:

150g butter, softened

150g caster sugar

150g self-raising flour

3 medium eggs

2tbsp milk

Few drops of vanilla extract

1tsp ground ginger

¼tsp ground cloves

½tsp ground cinnamon

Zest of 1 orange

For the filling:

200ml mulled wine

1½tbsp cornflour

For the icing:

240ml milk

60g plain flour

Pinch salt

110g vegetable fat such as Trex

110g unsalted butter

220g caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

Red or pink food colour

Red currents to decorate (optional)

Magic Sparkles for the frosty effect (optional)

Set the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

For the cupcakes:

Place all the cupcake ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth.

Divide the mixture between 12 cases, and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 mins, or until the cakes have risen and are just firm to the touch in the centre.

Remove the cakes from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool before decorating.

For the filling:

Add the mulled wine and cornflour to a small pan. Heat gently, whisking continuously until you have a thick gel. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

When the cakes are cool, use an apple corer to core the cupcakes, keeping the sponge pieces. Add a spoonful of the mulled wine filling to the centre of each cake and replace the sponge pieces.

For the icing:

Whisk the flour into the milk in a small saucepan and heat gently over a low heat until you have a smooth ball of mixture. Cover with cling making sure there is no air between the clingf ilm and the top of the bowl, by pushing it down to touch the top of the flour mix. Leave to cool then pop in the fridge for 20 mins.

Beat the other ingredients together in a large bowl with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. When the flour mix is cool, add it to the rest of the ingredients spoon by spoon, continuing to beat the mixture with the electric whisk while you drop it in. Beat for a few minutes until smooth and shiny. Add food colouring and beat again.

Ice with a swirl or spread onto the cupcakes and decorate with red currants and magic sparkles.

Deliciousness !! Enjoy



Calm Down, It’s Just Another Sexual Revolution

Gender fluidity discussions seem to be all the rage right now- and the amount of rage they can cause is deeply disturbing. New terms like LGBTQI+ and hot topics like toilet allocations get everyone very hot and bothered. And not in a fun way…

Less Motivation, More Determination

Anyone remotely alive- and that means all of us- know what it is like to feel like the wind has been taken out of our sails and we are sitting, to take the metaphor to it’s natural conclusion, like a rudderless rowboat in the centre of the Doldrums…

Old Town New Tricks

Founded in 1296 and located some 700 kilometres north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai has long played an important role in not only the economy and history of Thailand, it has also been a hugely significant political hub…

Self-Cleaning Cells

Fasting, or IF- Intermittent Fasting- seems to be the dieting buzzword du jour. 5/2, 8/16, 24/7/365 (ok, the last one isn’t real) the numbers roll

Eat Your Flowers

Recent weather nightmares and continued lockdowns remind us that having enough food in the house to hold out for a few days is one of those important basics that …