At Baked in a Cup, Ramsey, N.J., the cocktail of the day comes in cupcake form. The retail bakery, owned by Madhuri Premnath, features a different “cocktail cupcake” each day with flavors ranging from best sellers Baileys Irish cream and strawberry champagne to margarita and piña colada.
“I wanted to basically take cocktail drinks and make them into cupcakes,” Premnath said. She tested formulas for about two years before opening Baked in a Cup in April.
Some–like the Baileys Irish cream–required less testing given the liqueur’s inherent richness. “For the Baileys Irish cream, I knew I was going to use my chocolate cake as a base and soak it in Baileys,” Premnath said. “To increase the Baileys flavor, I infused the ganache with Baileys … and iced the cupcakes with a Baileys buttercream, which also has a very rich Baileys flavor.”
Others, like strawberry champagne, required several weeks of tinkering because of champagne’s subtler flavor. “The strawberry champagne was a little harder,” because the champagne is baked into the batter along with a strawberry puree, she said. Champagne also is infused into the Swiss buttercream icing, though Premnath found that using a sweeter variety better enhanced the flavor.
Not all of the cocktail-inspired creations are made with alcohol. The margarita cupcake is combined with and soaked in non-alcoholic lime-flavored margarita mix. The piña colada cupcake comprises a pineapple-coconut cake stuffed with coconut pudding and piña colada buttercream.
Premnath is currently working on limoncello, amaretto and cosmopolitan formulas; the bakery is closed Mondays for testing. Aside from cocktail cupcakes, other cupcake flavors include maple bacon, pistachio, banana chocolate, cotton candy, mocha and apple walnut. Every cupcake is preservative- and shortening-free.