I just completed my largest cupcake order to date, and am both stoked and hugely relieved. Whew! Eric ordered three dozen Manhattan-inspired cupcakes to surprise his wife, Anne, at her birthday party. This was a challenging order, as it's hard to capture the flavor of the classic Manhattan cocktail (which isn't very sweet) in a cupcake (which certainly is)...and the thought of adding a dash of bitters into sweet, unsuspecting buttercream was enough to make me cringe. But after some experimenting and a couple of test batches, my assistant and I were pleased with the buttery, bourbony results and were ready to unveil our creation:
One big batch of Manhattan-inspired Cupcakes:
Ahem, as mentioned in my previous post, my assistant needs some serious help with her photography skills. Are you kidding me? I can't even see the swirls on those!
Oh! Well, there's the swirl. That's not half bad...
And this one's sitting quite prettily...
Okay, so she took a spare cupcake and brought it on an outdoor photoshoot to prove that lighting is indeed the problem. All right, touche.
Anyways, these were bourbon buttercakes made with Maker's Mark and minimal sugar in the batter for just a hint of sweetness. The tops of each cupcake were brushed with a thin layer of the bourbon straight out of the bottle before they were decorated with a buttercream swirl flavored with both Maker's Mark bourbon and Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth. Finally, each cupcake was topped with an Amarena cherry--Anne's favorite--rather than one of those cloyingly sweet and artificial-tasting Maraschino cherries. There's no room for those when you've got lovely, plum-colored beauts like these that taste more like cherries than they do sugar and red food coloring.
Anne, I hope you had a fantastic birthday party and that these cupcakes captured the essence of the classic and ever-classy Manhattan. Cheers!