Wannabe cupcake photo shoot
I am not a cupcake person/maker.
I don't know how this whole thing even started anymore. I didn't beg my mom for cupcakes for my 12th birthday - I requested a lemon meringue pie in exchange for a birthday cake.
I eat muffins, not cupcakes.
Yet, the cupcake will never die. They are too cute and perky and small children and real life adults who do normal things all like cupcakes. And so I made more, ahem, adult ones.
These were inspired by my old volleyball teammate and wildly celebrated "Greek Sista" (maybe 1 of the 5 students at my Alma mater of Greek heritage), who applauded my proposition of making cupcakes with the intoxicating orange laced liquor, which I normally reserve strictly for my strawberries. The cupcakes turned out fantastically fresh tasting with a hint of bitter orange and that fun cognac-y twist. Also, totally fabulous to eat poolside.
Grand Marnier Cupcakes
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening/unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (if you are a hard core aficionado, pump it up to 1/3 cup)
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon orange zest
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour cupcake tins (or cupcake holders). In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and Grand Marnier; beat until well combined. Add egg 1 at a time; beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into cups.
Bake for 18 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cakes on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from holders and cool thoroughly. Frost with Grand Marnier Cream Cheese frosting.
Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 cup sifted powdered sugar (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon orange zest
Beat cream cheese, butter, Grand Marnier, orange juice and vanilla with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in orange zest. Slowly add powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.