“The Americans are a funny lot; they drink whiskey to keep them warm; then they put some ice in it to keep it cool; they put some sugar in it to make it sweet; and then they put a slice of lemon in it to make it sour. Then they say “here’s to you” and drink it themselves.” – B. N. Chakravaty
Not being a fan of whisky myself, this particular cupcake experiment came about when I was asked to make whisky-based cupcakes for a friend’s birthday. Correct me if I’m wrong, whisky drinkers, but I believe a whisky sour is a cocktail made of whisky (often Bourbon), lemon juice, sugar, and sometimes an egg white, with a maraschino cherry as garnish.
I went with a whisky and lemon cupcake with a sour lemon buttercream and of course decorated with lemon zest and the obligatory maraschino cherry.
The decoration really was the cherry on the top – they looked great and whisky-loving friends confirmed they tasted great too!
For the cupcakes:
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 110g softened butter
- 170g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 200ml whisky
- 50ml lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
For the icing:
- 165g softened butter
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 250g icing sugar
For the decoration:
- lemon zest
- maraschino cherries
- Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC and line your cupcake pan with cases.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until completely mixed. Mix in the eggs.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together. Slowly add a bit of the whisky into the rest of the cake mixture, followed by some of the flour mix so that the mixture does not curdle. Continue to alternate these, ensuring it is all mixed in before adding the next element.
- Add the lemon juice and mix until completely incorporated.
- Fill cupcake cases about ⅔ full and bake for about 15 minutes at 180ºC until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Take the cupcakes out of the oven but leave in the pan to cool for at least five minutes before then moving the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While you wait for the cupcakes to cool, make the icing. Beat the butter until creamy and light in colour. Add the lemon juice and lemon extract. Then start adding the icing sugar, little by little, adding and mixing until fully incorporated. Depending on what consistency you want, you may want to add extra icing sugar to make it thicker, or a little more lemon juice if it is too thick.
- Pipe the buttercream icing onto the cupcakes any way you want and decorate with some lemon zest and a maraschino cherry.