I love pink glittery Christmas decor, and it seems to be showing up in my baked goods, too! This cupcake is inspired by the retro ‘Pink Squirrel’ cocktail. The drink is a bit like a milkshake served in a martini glass (yes please) and it’s flavored with crème de noyaux (almond liquor) and crème de cocoa.
I really had fun with this recipe and translated ‘Pink Squirrel’ into something more literal. I made my own glittering pink squirrel toppers from ready-made gum paste, a squirrel cookie cutter and glitter. You can find a cookie cutter similar to the one I used here.
I consider the glittery squirrel toppers as decoration only, and I suggest removing them before enjoying the cupcakes. Disco Dust glitter is nontoxic (which is what I used on these) and sold at most specialty cake shops. Some cake decorators use it indiscreetly on baked goods. It really creates a beautiful sparkling effect, but whether or not to eat the glittered toppers is up to you to decide.
The cakes are delicately almond scented and the creme de cocoa gives them a faint chocolate note. They almost taste like a maraschino cherry (which would also make a fitting topper!)
Cupcakes are always well-received as gifts, and I love packaging them individually in cupcake dome containers like these. They make a sweet and memorable parting gift to hand out as guests leave your holiday get-together or cocktail party.
One more thing! If you’re looking for a cozy drink this winter, then head over to The Etsy Blog and check out my Scandinavian Glögg post!
Pink Squirrel Cocktail-Inspired Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup crème de noyaux liqueur also called crème de almond
- 1/4 cup clear or white crème de cocoa liqueur
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Pink gel food color optional
Crème de noyaux frosting
- 2 sticks of butter softened
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup crème de noyaux liqueur
- Pink gel food color
- White nonpareils for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Make the cakes: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, crème noyaux, crème do cocoa and almond extract. Add flour and sour cream mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in a drop of pink food color, if using. Batter will be thick.
- Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Set aside.
- Make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together. Once the frosting is thick, add the crème de noyaux one tablespoon at a time while beating on medium-low speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add a drop of pink gel food color; mix well.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with nonpareils. Garnish the cupcakes with a glittering squirrel topper (recipe follows). You may also choose to top the cupcakes with maraschino cherries with stems, as this is the usual Pink Squirrel Cocktail garnish.
- Note: If you’d like to forgo the liqueur in the recipe, then omit the crème de cocoa and crème de noyaux and replace the two with 1/2 cup cream soda. Increase the almond extract to 1 1/2 teaspoons.
- Pink squirrel toppers
- 8 oz. ready-made gum paste
- Pink gel food color
- 3-inch squirrel cookie cutter
- Corn syrup
- Pink disco dust
- Knead the gum paste well before starting. Knead in a drop of pink gel food color if desired (I used both pink and white gum paste for my squirrels).
- Roll the gum paste to 1/4-inch thickness. Using the squirrel cookie cutter, cut shapes from the paste. Re-roll scraps and cut more shapes until you have a total of 17 (or the number of cupcakes you ended up with). Transfer the squirrels to a sheet of waxed paper. Brush one side of the cut-outs lightly with corn syrup. Sprinkle disco dust over the shapes. Let dry at least 4 hours or overnight. The shapes are ready when they are dry, rigid and can stand upright. Shake off excess disco dust.
- Place a pink squirrel topper standing upright in the centers of each cupcake.