Inspired by the iconic Peruvian Pisco Sour cocktail, my Pisco Cocktail Cupcakes are a perfect zesty cake with a tipsy twist. With the addition of a pipette of pure Pisco, these are a cocktail and a cake all at the same time!
What is a Pisco Sour?
My husband and I had the opportunity to visit Peru in 2019, where we were first introduced to Pisco. The liquor is a clear brandy, produced in South America (primarily in Peru and Chile). It is considered the national drink of Peru and many places we stayed during our holiday offered a Pisco Sour as a welcome drink.
Easy Pisco Sour Recipe:
The classic Pisco Sour is a simple mix of Pisco, lime juice, simple syrup and an egg white.
The ratios of these may vary, but my favourite version is:
- 1 part simple syrup
- 1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 parts Pisco
These are shaken together, with ice and an egg white, to produce a great frothy topped cocktail.
A couple of dashes of Angostura bitters finish the drink.
Where to find Pisco
Pisco is exported from Peru and is available in specialty drinks stores. It is more widely available in the US than the UK, but is still a bit of a lesser known liquor. In the UK, The Whisky Exchange has a wide range of Pisco. I usually use Barsol.
Cocktail Cupcake Recipes
Boozy cupcakes have been a popular trend seeing many favourite cocktails turned into fun cakes. They are great for parties, offering a bit of a tipsy change to classic cake flavours.
The key to cocktail cupcakes is all about capturing the main flavours in your favourite drinks. This is often easiest with cocktails that have strong fruity flavours, such as strawberry daiquiris or piña coladas.
The addition of a pipette of the primary liquor gives a fun touch that brings it all together!
Pisco Sour Cupcakes
My Pisco Sour Cupcakes are made up of three main parts:
1. Lime Pound Cake Cupcake
The primary fruit flavour in a Pisco Sour is the zesty lime. So, for the base of my Pisco cocktail cupcakes, I've used a lime cake, which is an amended version of my classic thrifty pound cake.
By using lime juice to sour the milk for a pound cake, you begin to infuse lime as a flavour into the recipe. With the addition of lime zest, the cake becomes a lime pound cake.
I also add a tablespoon of Pisco direct to the batter to help bring the notes of the liquor to the bake. This alcohol will bake off in the oven, but flavour remains.
2. Lime Curd Filling
These lime cupcakes are then filled with a lime curd. You can use either shop bought lime curd or make your own, following my recipe for a small batch lime curd. If making your own, you can add in a bit of Pisco to help accentuate this further. Again, if adding while cooking the curd, the alcohol in this will cook off.
3. Meringue Top
Instead of icing, I cover my Pisco Sour Cupcakes with a meringue top. This is an ode to the egg white part of the classic cocktail. Meringue is also a lighter flavour and texture than a buttercream, which would be a bit overpowering with the rest of the cake.
If you make my lime curd recipe, use the leftover whites from the curd to make the meringue.
The final touch for my Pisco cocktail cupcakes is the pipette of alcohol. Little pipettes full of Pisco make for a special tipsy touch. Though Pisco is infused throughout the rest of the cake, it is cooked off elsewhere. If you are wanting to add a bit more of a punch, the pipette lets you have a tiny shot of Pisco along with the cake.
FAQs for my boozy cupcakes
The cupcakes can keep for a day or two, but the meringue top will sweat in the fridge. If you are planning to make these ahead, I would recommend leaving off the top until the day you will be eating them. This will ensure they are at their freshest. The cakes, without the meringue can be kept for about 3 to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container. They can also be frozen, though I would freeze unfilled.
In this recipe, tequila would be a suitable substitute for Pisco to give a similar tipsy punch, working well with the lime.
Technically yes, any citrus fruit could be used in this recipe for a zesty cake. Lemon may be a bit overpowering and lime pairs best with the Pisco.
If you like this recipe, you may also like:
- Tres Leches Cupcakes
- Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes
- Grandma's Classic Pound Cake
- Peach and Cinnamon Cupcakes
Pisco Sour Cupcakes
Ingredients for Pisco Lime Cupcakes
- 1½ cup plain flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 lime, zested and half juiced
- ⅓ cup lime curd
- 1 tablespoon Pisco
Ingredients for Meringue Topping
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ cup sugar
- Pisco for pipettes (optional)
Instructions for the Lime Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan) and prepare a 12 hole cupcake tin with cases.
- Juice half a lime into a ½ cup measure and top up with whole milk. Give this a stir and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, and add the tablespoon of Pisco.
- Add half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Then add the soured lime milk, beating to combine and then the rest of the flour along with the lime zest. Beat until just fully incorporated.
- Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of one of the central cupcakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
- Once cool, use a large piping tip or a sharp knife to core out the centre of the cupcake for filling. Take care not to cut to the bottom as you will want cupcake at the base. Reserve the centre cake pieces.
- Fill each cupcake with a dollop of lime curd (about a teaspoon). Replace the cake cores on top of the curd to act as a cork.
Instructions for Meringue Top
- Using a handheld electric whisk, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Slowly add the sugar about a tablespoon at a time and continue beating until stiff peaks forms.
- Pipe or spoon the meringue on top of the cupcakes.
- Using either a handheld torch or the grill function in an oven, toast these until lightly browned.
- Finish with pipettes of Pisco.