Aztec Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Butter Frosting – Just in time for Dia de los Muertos

Aztec Chocolate with Pumpkin Butter Frosting by Booze, Sugar and Spice

While other bloggers have been busy pushing pumpkin and spooky themed treats for months here I am, end of October, introducing my first pumpkin treat of the season.  It can only vaguely be tied to Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead (November 1st – November 2nd) because there are some south of the border inspired flavors at play here.

Have I ever told you the second thing I tell people after I tell them I have a blog?  “I’m the world’s worst blogger”.  That’s my brand of self promotion!  Look, I’m great at the creating, baking, tasting, sharing the goods part of this blogging experience.  I’m terrible at the taking a photo before I shove things in my cakehole, baking in the daylight hours so all my pictures don’t look like they were taken in a cave and sitting down to translate my flour and booze splattered notes into an actual blog post.  But I’m working on it.

Let’s talk about Dia de los Muertos.  Basically, it’s a Latin American holiday where folks honor their deceased loved ones festively.  The thinking being their loved ones would be insulted to have them mourning and sad.  To me it’s the antithesis to the commercial nightmare of Halloween but with all the food and pageantry still intact.  Um….YEAH!!!  Not only do they bring food to their loved ones graves, there is also a traditional bread.  Show me you love me with carbs!  But I digress, the painted skulls, the bright colors, the marigolds….words fail me.  If you have festivities going on in your area, I urge you to check it out.  If not, here are some beautiful photographs from around the world.

When I die, please, please someone make these and bring one to my memorial site on Dia de los Muertos.  This is one of my favorite flavor combinations.  Rumor has it, the Aztecs were the first to add chili powder to their version of chocolate.  Columbus stole  brought it back to Spain where sugar was added.  Eventually, someone added cinnamon and coffee.  I love the spicy kick combined with a rich dark chocolate and coffee.  Add a subtle sweet, pumpkin flavor and I am in heaven.

Aztec Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Butter Frosting by Booze, Sugar & Spice

I started with my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, swapping out of some of the white sugar for brown for a more caramel flavor.  I used really dark chocolate because it’s what I prefer and I think it contrasts well with the sweetness of the pumpkin and highlights the spices.  I’m not afraid of heat, so I went ahead and used a smoked chipotle chili powder.  You could use something milder (and less), if you prefer.  Finally, I added with my new favorite Coffee Liqueur from Seattle Distilling.  They are small ‘grain to glass’ distillery on Vashon Island just west of Seattle.  Sure, you can use any coffee liqueur (even that one which rhymes with Don Schula) but I’m a convert and am never going back.  The addition doesn’t booze up the cupcake, it just enhances the chocolate flavor.  If you wanted a bit of a boozy kick, brush the just out of the oven cupcakes with additional liqueur.

For the frosting I used pumpkin butter straight from the jar.  I like the Trader Joe’s brand.  There are tons of recipes on the Google if you prefer to make your own.  I don’t eat enough to justify making an entire batch.  Finally, I topped these with some toasted and salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds).

Aztec Chocolate Cupcake with Pumpkin Butter Frosting by Booze, Sugar & Spice

Aztec Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Butter Frosting

(makes 18 cupcakes)


  •      ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  •      ½ cup brown sugar
  •      ½ cup white sugar
  •      2 ounces extra dark chocolate (72% cacao), melted and cooled
  •      2 large eggs, room temperature
  •      2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  •      ½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon (4.5 liquid ounces) canola oil
  •      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •      1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
  •      1 cup all-purpose flour
  •      1 teaspoon smoked chipotle chili powder
  •      1 teaspoon cinnamon
  •      ½ teaspoon salt
  •      ½ teaspoon baking soda
  •      ½ cup dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  •      ½ cup Seattle Distilling’s Coffee Liqueur
  •      ½ cup toasted pepitas

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line muffin tins with liners.  Cream the butter and the sugars until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Add in your cooled, melted chocolate, mix.  Add in eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each to combine.  Next add in canola oil, vanilla extract and sour cream.  Scrape down sides of bowl, as needed.  Sift together flour, spices, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder.  Add in one-third of the flour mixture, mix.  Next, add in half of the coffee liqueur, mix.  Repeat this process so you end with the last third of the flour mixture.

Fill liners 2/3 full and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool cupcakes in pans for less than 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.


  •      1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  •      ½ cup pumpkin butter (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  •      3 cups of powdered sugar

Beat butter and pumpkin butter until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Frost cooled cupcakes.  Garnish with toasted pepitas.

Aztec Chocolate Cupcake with Pumpkin Butter Frosting by Booze, Sugar & Spice

Until next time stick a cupcake in your cake hole!


Huckleberry Crumble Cupcakes – Ugly, but delicious!

Huckleberry Crumble Cupcakes by Booze, Sugar & SpiceChances are you may have heard of huckleberry in terms of literature (Huckleberry Finn), cartoons, (Huckleberry Hound) and/or uttered the phrase made famous by Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday in the movie Tombstone.

Shooting ensues, good guys win, all is NOT historically accurate but extremely entertaining.

Shooting ensues, good guys win, all is NOT historically accurate but extremely entertaining.

If you’ve never visited or lived in the Northwestern United States or Western Canada, however, you may not know huckleberries are an actual fruit you can eat. The flavor is somewhere between a blueberry and a blackberry.  This sweeter cousin to the blueberry likes to hide in the deep woods in rich, acidic volcanic soil above 2000 feet elevation. Huckleberry season is August – September.  For these reasons, no one has cultivated huckleberries.  If you want huckleberries, here are your choices:

  1. Order them on Amazon for roughly $90 a gallon.  There are rumors due to the wildfires here in the northwest they could go up to $99/lb. very soon.
  2. Hike into the woods and fight the bears, mountain lions and birds to pick them yourself.  You go Grizzly Adams!
  3. Do what I did and buy some yummy huckleberry products from a tourist trap!

I’ve had huckleberry preserves, jam and syrup from a variety of these places and they’re all YUM-MY!  Now that I live in Oregon, I’m going to show hometown pride and suggest Made in Oregon (  You can order them online or plan a vacation.  I vote for the vacation.  I love picking up ‘local’ ingredients while on vacation.  Am I the only one?

To make these cupcakes, I slightly adapted this vanilla cupcake recipe, swapping out the regular sugar with brown sugar for a slightly more caramel flavor.  Then I plunked some huckleberry preserves in the middle.  Plunking is a very sophisticated baking term.  Mixed up some crumble with oats and almonds and plunked that on top.  <– See?  More plunking.

crumble collage

Now, these cupcakes will not win any beauty contests.  Between the extra moisture from the preserves and the butter in the crumble they will sink in the middle, pull away from the liners and fall apart a bit when you eat them.  I warned you in the title by including the word ‘crumble’.  I don’t care, they were really good.  Brown sugary cake, with a fruity, gooey surprise.  A bit of oats and almonds laced with more brown sugar and cinnamon for texture.  Perfect, simple comfort food.

Unfrosted Huckleberry Crumble Cupcakes by Booze, Sugar & Spice

YIKES! I’m glad they have a great personality.

If you’re not traveling with these, serve them warm with a dollop of vanilla infused whipped cream or (even better) a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Eat them with spoons.  I know they’re cupcakes and supposed to be eaten with your hands….let it go.

My cupcakes were on the move, being shared with friends near and far, so instead I made a heavy-on-the-vanilla buttercream.  I used an ice cream scoop to put it on.  Hey, they were already ugly, a frosting swirl wasn’t going to help.  Why dirty a piping tip?  We’re on vacation, right?  No dishes!

Huckleberry Crumble Cupcakes by Booze, Sugar & Spice

And yes, you can substitute any type of berry preserves if you can’t find huckleberry.  Make it interesting, though!

Huckleberry Crumble Cupcakes (makes 16-18)


  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Work the butter into the mixture with your fingers until crumbly.  Freeze crumble for 30 minutes prior to using.


    • 1 cup of loosely packed brown sugar
    • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 2 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1/3 cup full fat sour cream
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
    • 2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup huckleberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Line muffin pan with liners.  Whisk together the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat in the butter until the mixture resembles wet sand. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream and oil. Add this to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Slowly add in the milk, mixing until incorporated. The batter will be liquid.

Fill liners 1/2 full, drop in roughly a 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of huckleberry preserves into the center of each cupcake. Divide the crumble equally between cupcake. Bake for 16 – 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. Remove from tins immediately to cool or serve.


  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 Tablespoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 – 3 cups of powdered sugar

Beat butter and vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy.  Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time until it reaches desired consistency.  Frost cooled cupcakes.

Huckleberry Crumble Cupcake by Booze, Sugar & Spice

Until next time stick a cupcake in your cakehole!


P.S.  I’m slowly taking over the universe.  You can now find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Roasted Plum & Five Spice Ice Cream Cupcakes

Roasted Plum & Five Spice Ice Cream Cupcake by Booze, Sugar & Spice

I Scream, You Scream….the police come, it’s awkward. Okay, let’s start over. Don’t you just love ice cream? You know what’s better? Ice cream and cupcakes! You know what’s even better than that? Winning a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker just for making an ice cream cupcake! Yep, that’s right, Cupcake Project and Cuisinart may just give me a prize for baking cupcakes and making ice cream and combining them and eating them.  Yeah, twist my arm to do THAT!

Click here to check out the rules and the competitor's creations.

Click here to check out the rules and the competitor’s creations.

Normally when it comes to ice cream, I’m all about the chocolate.  Chocolate with chocolate something in it and chocolate stuff on it and so on.  I don’t think I’m alone, there.  Since one of the contest components is originality, however, I decided to stretch my palette and create something I normally wouldn’t choose at the ice cream parlor.

There are gorgeous plums in season right now so I surveyed my inventory of posts and decided this one would be the most interesting combination.  After all, the frosting was milk based and that’s pretty much half way to ice cream.

The Plan?  Change nothing about the cupcake recipe.  It is one of my and my husband’s favorites.  Think gingerbread without the heavy clove and molasses flavors.  The blackberry preserves create a lovely fruity note and the cupcake is wonderfully moist.  This cupcake has it all.  A little spicy, a little exotic, a little fruity, a little sweet.  I’m not sure if I’m describing a cupcake or myself.  Not to mention I used marionberry preserves and they gave the fresh out of the oven cupcakes a beautiful naturally purple color.

Marionberry preserves, making naturally purple cupcakes since 1956...

Marionberry preserves, making naturally purple cupcakes since 1956…

Next, for the ice cream, I decided to go with a no-churn base recipe which is all over the internet.  I don’t know who first realized you could take a can of sweetened condensed milk,
combine it with whipped cream, stick it in the freezer and VIOLA ice cream but I checked the list of Nobel Prize Winners for the past several years and I think they should re-evaluate some of their criteria.

All I did was add the roasted plums and juices to the ice cream mixture before freezing, letting the mixing process gently break up the plums for some texture.  The result was another naturally gorgeous colored confection that was creamy, sweet and tart with just a hint of five spice.


Roasted Plum & Five Spice Ice Cream Cupcake by Booze, Sugar & Spice


Roasted Plum & Five Spice Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ice Cream:

  • 2 lbs or about 10 medium sized plums, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder (I use Dynasty brand)
  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 475 F degrees.  Combine brown sugar, honey and warm butter.  Stir in the plum wedges until evenly coated.  Spread the plums in a single layer in a baking dish and roast, about 8-10 minutes.

Roast them and they come out bubbly and happy.

Roast them and they come out bubbly and happy.

Allow mixture to cool completely in the fridge overnight.  Once mixture has cooled, you can puree in a blender or food processor for a smooth ice cream, if desired.

The next day, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks appear.  Add in the condensed milk and the plum mixture, stirring to combine completely.  Place into a freezer safe container and freeze overnight.


  • 3/4 cup seedless blackberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons water
  • 3/4 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Microwave preserves in a medium bowl until thin enough to pour, 30-40 seconds.  Whisk buttermilk and water into warm preserves.  This is your “jam” mixture.  Combine spices, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  This is your “flour” mixture.

Beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing after each to combine.  Add in the vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the jam mixture in 2 additions.  Scrape down bowl, as needed.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Bake 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes in pans, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Roasted Plum 3

I was very simplistic with my presentation.  Slice the cupcake in half horizontally, layer it the ice cream and garnish with a few toasted sliced almonds and some crunchy bits of candied ginger.  YUM!  I won’t give up chocolate completely, but you can bet I’ll be making this ice cream cupcake every time plums are in season.

Until next time, stick a cupcake in your cupcake hole!

xoxo PJ

Game of Thrones Series – Fire Breathing Dragon Cupcake – Dragon Berry Rum, Raspberry, Chili and Lemongrass

Fire Breathing Dragon by Booze Sugar & Spice

Welcome to the Final installment of my 10-part Game of Thrones – Cupcakes & Cocktails Series!  Just in time for the Season 5 Premiere tomorrow April 12th.  Yes, I know I said in my last post it was going to happen last Sunday.  Trust me, I was JUST as disappointed as you were last week.

Today’s cocktail & cupcake combination is dedicated to Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. Daenerys is played by the wonderful Emilia Clarke. Her dragons are played by various special effects crews.

Danereys (Dany)Targaryen is the only surviving child of King Aerys II Targaryen who was ousted from power in the Seven Kingdoms. She has been exile across the Narrow Sea since birth.

We first meet Dany as a timid young girl who is bullied by her brother Viserys and sold, by him, into marriage with the Dothariki Khal (King) Drogo. The arranged marriage exchanges Dany for an army of Dothariki riders Viserys will use to take back the Iron Throne to become King of the Seven Kingdoms. Viserys meets a just end soon after the marriage (he was a SERIOUS contender with King Joffrey for “Asshat of the Year”) and Dany starts to come into her own. She falls in love with Khal Drogo (and he with her), becomes pregnant with his child and slowly realizes she is Khaleesi (Queen) with all of the confidence and strength to lead.
Daenerys-Targaryen-game-of-thrones-23674695-500-500Her happiness is soon shattered when Khal Drogo dies, she suffers a miscarriage and subsequently becomes barren due to the vengeful witch Mirri Maz Duur. It is then the “Mother of Dragons” is born. She places her three dragon eggs in Drogo’s funeral pyre and walks into the fire. She emerges from the ashes, unharmed, nestled with the first dragons to be born into the world for hundreds of years.

Armed with dragons and a small group of Dothraki she journeys across the lands of the far east searching for shelter. Eventually, she finds shelter in Qarth. It is there she learns her dragons will not eat raw meat, but will spew fire and cook their meet when she utters the word Dracarys.

She is betrayed in Qarth by her host and the warlocks of the House of the Undying. She uses her dragons to burn the House of the Undying, sacks the city and sets sail in search of an army to take back to Westeros to take her place as Queen. She sacks cities and frees slaves along the way building a following of loyal followers and fierce warriors. Frankly, Dany isn’t a gal you should mess with.


She’s not kidding about the ‘fire and blood’ part. Her sassy pants only get bigger as her dragons grow.

I can never decide if I love Dany because she is another strong, female character or if it’s just because she has dragons. Either way, both her and her dragons breathe magic into the world. They needed a cupcake and cocktail.

Use fresh lemongrass and Thai chili if you can find them.  It will produce a much brighter flavor.  I could not, so I use dried lemongrass and dried chili flakes instead.

Use fresh lemongrass and Thai chili if you can find them. It will produce a much brighter flavor. I could not, so I used dried lemongrass and dried chili flakes instead.

While most of you love dragons, you’re probably not keen on using Thai chili, lemongrass and pink peppercorns in a cocktail let alone a cupcake. Trust me, DO IT!  Bacardi’s Dragon Berry Rum is a strawberry rum infused with dragon fruit. This mingles with fresh raspberries,the chili pepper, lemongrass and peppercorns to make a delightfully fruity cocktail and cupcake with a hint of heat. So delicious!  I wasn’t a big fan of the peppercorns, but others were so I’ve included it as option.

Fire Breathing Dragon Cupcake by Booze , Sugar & Spice

Drogon providing a bit of flambe action on my creation. #CatchDrogon

Fire Breathing Dragon Cocktail Recipe (from Fire Breathing Dragon by Mixologist Mariena Mercer via the Daily Meal)

  • 2 ounces Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum
  • 1 ounce raspberry puree – seeds removed
  • 1/2 ounce of lemon juice
  • 1 ounce chili simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1/2 ounce lemongrass simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ground pink peppercorns (optional)

Combine the rum, raspberry puree, lemon juice, chili and lemongrass simple syrups in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until combined.  Serve in a martini glass.  Optional – Dip glass rim in chili simple syrup, then dip in ground peppercorns.

Thai Chili Simple Syrup

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 smashed Thai chili pepper or 1 teaspoon of dried chili pepper flakes

In a small saucepan, stir together water and sugar.  Add smashed Thai chili pepper or dried chili flakes.  Bring to a boil, smashing chili (if using fresh) as you stir.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.  Drain through a fine mesh strainer.  Discard solids.  Let cool.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Lemongrass Simple Syrup

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 small bunch of fresh lemongrass – chopped or 1 teaspoon of dried lemongrass

In a small saucepan, stir together water and sugar.  Add lemongrass (fresh or  dried).  Bring to a boil, smashing  lemongrass (if using fresh) as you stir.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.  Drain through a fine mesh strainer.  Discard solids.  Let cool.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Fire Breathing Dragon Cupcakes – Makes 16


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum
  • 1 ounce lemongrass simple syrup
  • 1 ounce chili simple syrup
  • 1/2 pureed raspberries, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

In a small bowl, using your fingers or the back of a spoon, smash the lemon zest into the sugar until fragrant. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake tins with liners. In a bowl mix together lemon sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in butter and mix until texture resembles wet sand. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream and sour cream. Add this to butter and flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add in the remaining ingredients (rum, both simple syrups, pureed raspberries and milk) and mix until just combined. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake 18 – 20 minutes until cupcake tops bounce back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan for less than five minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

In order to make the frosting you’ll need to make 4 cocktails (1 for you, 3 to make the reduction for the frosting and garnish).  To make the reduction, add three mixed cocktails to a small saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat until it’s reduced by 1/3.  Let cool, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup dragon berry cocktail reduction
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground pink peppercorns (optional)
  • Remaining cocktail reduction

Beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add in two cups of powdered sugar, salt and cocktail reduction mix on low speed until combined.  Add in remaining powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Frost cooled cupcakes.  Drizzle each cupcake with remaining cocktail reduction.  Garnish with ground pink peppercorn, if desired.

Fire Breathing Dragon Cupcake by Booze, Sugar & Spice


Whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or not, I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have writing it.

Until next time, stick a cupcake in your cakehole,
xoxo PJ
House Sassifras

Game of Thrones Series – Arya – Dirty Girl Scout Cupcake – Irish Cream, Kahlua, Whiskey & Creme de Menthe

Dirty Girl Scout Cupcakes by Booze, Sugar and Spice

Welcome to the much overdue 9th installment of my 10-part Game of Thrones – Cupcakes & Cocktails Series!  I have a really good excuse for being tardy in my completion of the series.  In the last year, I quit my 20 year career and moved to another state, twice.  Since the Season 5 GoT premiere is this Sunday (April 5th), I thought it was a great time to finish up this series and get back to blogging.


I will be discussing events, plot twists and characters from the books and TV show in my posts.  However, I will keep everything limited to the end of Season 3.  No Season 4 characters or plot points will be revealed.  Pinky swear.  So, if you haven’t kept up with the book or the series….sorry!

Today’s cocktail & cupcake combination is dedicated to Arya Stark. I LOVE Arya! Arya is the antithesis of her prim and proper sister Sansa.  While Sansa’s only wish is to be a princess, Arya’s sole goal in life is to be a warrior.  Her heroes include the warrior-queen Nymeria, whom lead her defeated people to Dorne,and Visenya Targaryen who helped her brother conquer The Seven Kingdoms riding the dragon, Vhagar, and using her Valyrian steel sword named “Dark Sister”. Ayra cannot imagine why ANYONE would spend time learning needlepoint or etiquette when you can learn how to shoot a bow and fight with swords. Especially the sword her half-brother Jon has made for her, which she names “Needle”.

Arya Stark A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones Kylie Purtell

She manages to kick Joffrey’s butt when he comes across her and the butcher’s son practicing sword fighting.

arya schools joffrey

Arya schooling Joffrey in the art of whoop ass.

Ayra isn’t just some plucky tomboy, she is TOUGH. When her father is wrongly executed, she is forced to flee the Capital. Her only option? To disguise herself as a boy and travel with the outlaws headed to The Wall.

arya - i am the wolf

This journey goes awry quickly and she spends most of her time trying desperately to get back to her home, Winterfell, while kicking butt and taking names. Waiting for the day she can exact her vengeance, she keeps a list of those who have wronged her. Each night she recites their names as her nightly prayers.

During the journey, she also forms a strange friendship with Lorathi criminal and assassin Jaqen H’ghar. When they part, he gives her a foreign coin and tells her to give it to any captain sailing to Braavos and say “Valar Morghluis”. He assures her this combination will pay for her passage to Braavos. The phrase means all men must die.

Racking up a faster body count than any of her brothers, she has no problem dishing out the sass, either.
arya quote

As I mentioned in my last GoT post, my cupcake mojo went a bit sideways for the last three cupcakes.  My original idea  for the Arya cocktail/cupcake was a Dirty Shirley Temple.  A Dirty Shirley Temple is the original ‘kid’ drink (lemon-lime soda, grenadine & a maraschino cherry) with the added kick of using cherry vodka.  I thought it was very fitting representation for Arya.  What appear as a harmless sweet cocktail can be quite deadly.  I even went as far as making my own cherry infused vodka (put fresh or frozen, pitted cherries in an airtight jar; fill jar with enough vodka to cover cherries; seal jar and store in a cool, dark place for a month, shaking the jar every couple of days) and my own grenadine ( recipe here).  The cocktail was ridiculously sweet.  Next time, I would use club soda with straight lemon and lime juice in place of the soda to cut back on the sweetness.  It had a great flavor, though, and I thought it would translate perfectly into a cupcake.

I set about making adorable, barely pink tinted cupcakes and frosting.  I managed to do something I didn’t think was possible.  I had made cupcakes which tasted like………..nothing.  Clearly, it was cake and frosting, but with no discernable flavor.  I attempted a couple of tweaks, but couldn’t manage to bring out the cherry, lemon, lime or grenadine flavors to resemble the drink.  I’m embarrassed to say I ended up throwing away every single version. All cupcakes must die.

Brokenhearted, it took me awhile to find a suitable replacement.  Like Arya, the drink had to have the illusion of being benign, but pack a punch.  I settled on the Dirty Girl Scout.  It’ a shot/cocktail made with Irish Cream, Vodka, Kahlua and Crème de Menthe.  It tastes exactly like a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie.  Just like those infamous cookies, you can’t have just one.  Be warned, just like Arya, these will sneak up on you.

Here’s the recipe:

I've tracked this particular photo and recipe all over the internet and cannot find the 'owner'.  I managed to narrow it down to either or

Please note, I’ve tried to track down the owner of this particular image and recipe.  I’ve narrowed it down to either or

Valar MorghulisDirty Girl Scout Cupcakes (adapted from Cupcake Rehab)

Makes 24


  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 2/3 cup Kahlua Liqueur
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.  Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.

Combine Baileys, Kahlua, water and milk in a bowl.  These are your ‘Wet” ingredients.  In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  These are your “Dry” ingredients.

In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing after each just to combine.  Add in vanilla bean paste.

Now, add in one third of your “Dry” ingredients until just combined.  Next add in half of your “Wet” ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Repeat with your remaining “Dry” and “Wet” ingredients until just incorporated.  Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to ensure all ingredients have been combined.

Fill liners 3/4 full.  Tap pans lightly on the counter to release any trapped air.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cupcakes cool in pan for less than five minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 Tablespoons Crème De Menthe Liqueur
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
  • 5 – 6 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add in Crème De Menthe and mint extract.  Add in powdered sugar, a cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Frost cooled cupcakes.

Although the cocktail doesn’t include whiskey, the cupcakes needed a boost to the chocolate flavor.  Chocolate ganache to the rescue!  And, hey, if you’re going to make ganache it might as well have whiskey in it.  Right?  Right.

Whiskey Ganache:

  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons whiskey

Chop chocolate and place in a bowl.  In a saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge.  Pour hot cream into bowl with chopped chocolate.  Let stand for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth.  Add in whiskey and stir.  Set aside to cool.  Drizzle over frosted cupcakes.

empty wrapper

Until next time, stick a cupcake in your cakehole!


House Sassifras

Almost-Tiramisu Cupcakes

PJ Sassifras:

Jenee over at has put her own gluten free spin on my Tiramisu Cupcakes. Check out this and some of her other fantastic creations!

I took the summer off from blogging, but not from baking. I’ll have more to share starting next week.


Originally posted on jcooksglutenfree:

A few months ago I entered a dessert baking competition over at the, and I had a blast coming up with gluten-free recipes and competing against gluten-full desserts. I made it all the way to the finals, and I’m not at all upset that I lost (well, maybe a little, deep down inside). But I think the greatest part was being able to connect with bloggers that I might not ever have found otherwise, and one of them is the awesome lady over at You HAVE to go check out her cupcakes. She did this whole Game of Thrones series that is AWESOME. AWESOME. How many more times can I squeeze in AWESOME?

And no, it’s not torture to ask you to look at gluten-full cupcakes, because we can recreate them, like this one, the recipe that I went up against a while back. I’ve…

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Diced! Dessert Challenge Round 3 – Jenee – Godiva Chocolate Checkered Cake with Coffee Buttercream

PJ Sassifras:

This is the cake I’m up against. Isn’t it gorgeous? Vote any way you want. I’m perfectly happy losing to a great cake and blogger!

Originally posted on Rantings of an Amateur Chef:

Diced! Dessert Challenge – Round 3

The Diced! Dessert Challenge continues…

Each participant in round 3 won their first two rounds and is in the final four. For this round, I am allowing the participant to choose a dessert category from the others in their quadrant (theirs, their first round competition, their second round competition and the first round competition of their second round competitor).

I will post a pairing each week on Wednesday and Thursday and open the polls for voting. The polls will be open from Thursday until the following Wednesday (before the next pair posts). The winner of each matchup with the most votes will move on to the next round and the chef will produce another recipe for their new matchup. The overall winner will receive any prizes I can acquire. To date the winner will receive:

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