At the start of the Corona chaos, I was amused by the downtime that was being forced on me. Now, after a week of social distancing, it’s safe to say I’m not entertained. While my “busy work” list has grown, so have my family and close friends’ waistlines. Being from the South, I believe filling the bellies of those you care about is actually a love language. I show you I care by making you fat and happy.
On Saturday, March 20, 2020, my friends Tara and Jon, a husband and wife combo, came over for what we thought would be a quick couple of games of bowling without the alley. That’s right, a ten-dollar set of plastic pins and bowling balls lined up in my living room. This trifecta of a friendship is a unique one in that I see them every day, and don’t get sick of them. The moment my flights and events were all cancelled, I was right back in Colorado and stuck to their hips. Put it this way, should there be a stay at home order issued and ultimate catastrophe strike, you’d better believe I’ve already engineered several miles worth of paper cup phones.
Needless to say, a couple of games escalated quickly into the ball being thrown overhand, and even as slow as possible. We printed off bowling score cards to be official, and my mom and I reintroduced our bowling and biker (yes, bicycles) jersey design for The Gutter Gang. The Gutter Gang started off as two, but now… now, there are four.
As it normally does when I am bowling, my mind wandered to The Big Lebowski, and in turn, White Russians. I had already been on fire baking my nearly world famous, super top-secret special ingredient, chocolate chip cookies earlier in the day and was hankering to bake cupcakes. Since I didn’t have Kahlua for White Russians, I settled and got boozy baking requests from my bowling compadres to plan for the next days’ culinary escapades. First up, the 1880’s Kentucky bourbon gentlemen’s club drink of choice. Enjoy!
Makes 16 Cupcakes
Orange Zest Cake
1 2/3 c. flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. orange zest
Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tins. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Using a mixer, combine yogurt, oil, sugar, orange juice, and zest. Add the eggs one at a time while the mixer is still on. Add dry mixture. Fill tins and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Cherry Bourbon Jelly Filling (optional)
*The cherry jelly will need to be made the night before
2 cups tart cherry juice
2 cups sugar
1 (3 oz) package of liquid pectin
Combine juice and sugar in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stir frequently. Add pectin and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil for another minute. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate overnight.
1 cup Cherry Jelly
¼ cup bourbon
Whisk the cherry jelly until smooth, add bourbon a tablespoon at a time. Transfer to squeeze bottle.
Bourbon and Bitters Frosting
½ cup shortening
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup bourbon
6-8 dashes of aromatic bitters
Beat shortening until smooth, slowly add confectioners’ sugar. Once completely combined, slowly stream in the bourbon and bitters.
Shake and Strain
After the cupcakes have cooled completely, core each one with a piping tip (if you chose to use the filling). Fill the cavity with jelly. Frost the cupcakes. Garnish with Toschi Amarena cherries (yum!).