Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Sep 11, 2012

Screwdriver Cupcakes

Recently, a friend of mine was having a birthday brunch, so of course I wanted to bring a boozy treat. She had a whole spread of cereal and milk, breakfast burritos, bagels and lox, mimosas and bloody marys.  There weren't any screwdrivers on hand, but I made up for that in cupcake form.  I love the inclusion of coconut in the cake, which gives it a nice texture and summer flavor.  The recipe from Booze Cakes called for orange-flavored vodka, but I never have flavored vodka on hand, nor would I ever purchase it.  I used regular vodka in my version of the recipe, and it still packs plenty of an orange flavor.  For some reason, I've always had problems with the frosting recipes in this book—they always use too much liquid and tend to curdle.  I used a buttercream recipe that contained more sugar, butter and equal parts fresh-squeezed orange juice and vodka.  The booze flavor is light, so it's the perfect, sweet way to ease into your day.  
Screwdriver Cupcakes - makes 12-15
Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup vodka or orange-flavored vodka
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2-3 Tbs vodka or orange-flavored vodka
Garnish Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted
  • Zest curls from one orange

To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs until they're pale and foamy.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter.
- Add the sugar and orange zest and mix.
- Add the beaten eggs and mix.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice and vodka.
- With the stand mixer on medium low, add in the flour and vodka mixtures in three alternating additions.
- Fold in the coconut.
- Pour batter into lined or greased muffin tins and bake for 20-23 minutes.

To make the frosting:
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter until it's light and fluffy.
- Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and 2 Tbs of the orange juice.
- Stir in the vodka, and if the frosting is too thick, add another Tbs of orange juice or vodka, depending on if you want more of an orange flavor or a boozy kick.

To decorate:
- When those cupcakes are done baking, leave that oven on so you can toast some coconut.
- Spread the coconut flakes on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 3 minutes.
- Remove from oven and stir up the flakes a little before popping them back in for 2-3 minutes.
- Using a peeler, cut strips of zest off an orange (I didn't need to zest the entire orange) and curl each strip by wrapping around a chop stick or straw.  My peeler cuts large pieces, so use a paring knife to thin out those strips if you have to.
- When the cupcakes have cooled, pipe the frosting on.
- Sprinkle with the toasted coconut and add an orange curl on top.