Several years ago my mom and I discovered a simple cake recipe that put all other cake recipes at the bottom of our cake recipe totem pole. It uses the combination of white cake mix, vanilla pudding and amaretto to make a cake that is moist flavorful, and not terribly healthy.
We quickly realized that this basic formula of cake mix/pudding mix/liqueur can be used to make just about any type of cake you want, morphing you into a genius cross between a bartender and a pastry chef.
But with great power comes great responsibility….
I later discovered that this recipe also works perfectly for cupcakes, leading to a period of my life rather shamefully known as “The Great Cupcake Bender of 2010”.
1 package white cake mix
1 (4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup amaretto
1 cup oil (I was not kidding when I called this unhealthy!)
1/4 cup water
Whisk together cake mix and pudding mix in a large bowl. Mix in Amaretto, eggs, oil, and water. Spray your cake pan or line your cupcake pan with liners. Bake according to the directions on the cake mix box or recipe. This will make one large (9×13) cake or two dozen cupcakes.
Other combinations I have enjoyed:
Kahlua: yellow cake mix, chocolate pudding mix, Kahlua
Coconut: white cake mix, coconut pudding, coconut rum
Piña Colada: white cake mix, coconut pudding, pineapple rum, and drained crushed pineapple
Dublin Mudslide: chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding, Bailey’s
The type of frosting you use will probably depend on what type of cake you choose to make, but you could always add a splash of your liqueur for an extra blast of flavor. If you let the frosting sit uncovered in the fridge for about 24 hours most of the alcohol should evaporate. In one incarnation of these I used black icing and sprinkles to make XKCD themed cupcakes for one of my nerd-friends.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to squeeze the words “Asbestos Free!” onto a cupcake?