April 19: National Amaretto Day
A business associate once gave Highlander’s office a bottle of Amaretto as an appreciation gift, but none of his co-workers really drank almond-flavored liqueur. So Highlander took it home and asked if Islander could cook something with it since we don’t imbibe much either. She had found a recipe for Amaretto cake in one of her cookbooks, “The Cake Mix Doctor,” and used the booze in the batter and for the icing on the cake. Highlander then took it to work the next day and everyone was pleasantly surprised with the resulting sweet treat. With such positive feedback, Islander was encouraged to experiment with baking with other liqueurs. Since that very first Amaretto cake—and subsequent Amaretto cupcakes—our pantry has become a stock for spirits. Although it looks like our house can be a bar, we still swear that we aren’t alcoholics!
(Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn)
- 1 box (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix (we recommend Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic Yellow Cake)
- 1 package (5.1 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup amaretto
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Line muffin tins with cupcake papers. In a large mixing bowl, put in all the ingredients and blend until the batter is thick and smooth. Pour into the cupcake papers. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting or decorating them. This recipe yields two dozen cupcakes.
Amaretto Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 package (8-ounce) cream cheese
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons amaretto
Beat the butter, cream cheese, salt and almond extract until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar a cup at a time and blend well. Pour in the amaretto and mix until the desired icing consistency is achieved. Frost and decorate the cupcakes. Yield: About 2 dozen.
- We have never really been in a liquor store until we started baking with booze, and now we look forward to restocking our cocktail collection. We enjoy looking at the fancy bottle designs and trying new liqueurs as ingredients. Search our blog for posts about alcohol-infused recipes.
- A large, drop flower tip (2D) was used in a “squeeze-twist-lift” motion to decorate the amaretto cupcakes.