Letter X: Xtabentún Cocktail Cupcakes
Wow. It has been way too long! I’m so sorry for the radio silence… I’ve had quite a busy (and amazing!) year, but at the same time, I didn’t have much access to an oven or baking supplies. Still, I made it my goal to finish the alphabet by the end of 2016, so here come my last couple of posts (cutting it a bit close I guess!).
Letter X. I knew from the very beginning that this letter would be my biggest challenge! Throughout this endeavor, I’ve been asking friends and family for suggestions, and finally we’ve come up with an idea. Xtabentún! This is a Mexican liquor that I had honestly never heard of before Googling “foods that start with the letter X” (really, it came down to a Google search!). Even then, it was only several posts in that I stumbled across this honey/anise flavored alcohol. Still, it didn’t take long to realize that this would easily be my best option, and it has honestly turned out to be one of my favorite recipes ever!
Xtabentún Cocktail Cupcakes
Makes: 12 regular sized cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ cup Xtabentún
Preheat oven to 325º.
In a large bowl or standing mixer, blend together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until it’s light and fluffy. Then add in the three eggs, slowly and one at a time until everything is thoroughly incorporated. I recommend cracking the eggs individually into a separate small bowl first to catch any bits of broken shell that might have fallen in, and then add the egg to the mixer from there.
In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking power, all spice, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the flour mix, alternating with the liquid Xtabentún.
Then scoop the batter into the lined cupcake tray so that each is 1/2 to 2/3 full. Then place the cupcake tin in the oven and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted and drawn out with little to no crumbs. Then set them aside to cool.
2 sticks of room temperature butter
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup + 1 tablespoon fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
Beat together the room temperature butter and powdered sugar until the frosting is extremely light and fluffy. Once that is smooth, slowly add in the freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juices until they are completely incorporated. Then fill a piping bag and top each of the cupcakes, with an optional sliver of grapefruit or slice/shavings of lime on top of the icing.
These cupcakes, which I based off of various cocktail recipes using Xtabentún, are refreshing and delicious. They’re a perfect balance of sweet and tangy, light and moist. At first, I wasn’t sure in which direction I should go with this fermented honey, spiced liquor, but then I decided that if I’m going to be featuring a particular alcohol, I might as well run with it and use the same flavor pairings that work in cocktails to come up with something that would work in cupcakes! After a bit of experimenting, I can proudly say that I came up with this recipe and that it’s actually one of my favorites (seriously, not just because it’s mine)! I decided to experiment on my own partially because I couldn’t find any other cake recipes featuring Xtabentún, but also partially because it was one of my last recipes; I wanted to see how far I had come since starting this blog as a total novice. After several years, I’m really proud of all of the ups and downs I’ve experienced with these 25 cupcakes so far, and I’ve definitely learned so much from my experiments, failures, successes, and opportunities presented thanks to The Amazing Bake. But before I get too sentimental (let’s save that for my last post!), I briefly want to get back to my Xtabentún cupcakes. I just want to say that they’re definitely worth the (minimal) effort that they’ll require–it’s true that you will probably have to order the Xtabentún online (unless you’re planning an upcoming trip to Mexico!), and I highly suggest freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime in order to get that refreshing taste–but those are small tasks for this wonderful dessert, and in the end you’ll have great cupcakes and a new liquor for other delicious drinks/desserts! So with that quick note, I encourage you to try this recipe, and maybe try come up with new ones of your own!
So now on to my last cupcake post. That’s such a crazy thing for me to type! But anyway, I better hurry if I’m going to get it done before the New Year! (T minus less than two hours…! 🎉)