Merry Drunken Snowflake Cupcakes, Gluten Free

Around here holiday baking involves all kinds of interesting ingredients. The fact that another cupcake was coming out of the GF Canteen kitchen yet again smothered in liquor made me pause. But only for a moment.

There isn’t a cupcake, cake or cookie out there that doesn’t benefit from a slight intoxication of a good liquor. It leaves behind a note that makes you notice something special. And aside from chocolate, what else could do that?

Tis the season.

There is something festive about a merry drunken cupcake slathered with butter cream and strewn with fluffy white coconut topped with a red cherry. It reminds me of over-the-top holiday cheer and we all could use a measure of festive.

If you want to impress someone with your holiday baking or just want to make someone’s day a little bit brighter, make these. Anyone who is lucky enough to get one will feel the holiday love. Or a great big sugar rush. Both are acceptable.

Just a guess, but I think if you left this cupcake for Santa, he would not complain.

Make these and be merry.

Merry Drunken Snowflake Cupcakes, Gluten Free
The liquors added to the recipe are totally optional but they do make a fabulous confection. Pick your favorites. There is no right one to use except the ones that make you happily swoon. Brushing the cupcakes keeps them from drying out. Be sure to let the brushing liquid fully soak in and evaporate before frosting. I like to leave them overnight covered loosely after brushing and before frosting.
  • 114 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 300 grams sugar (about 1.5 cups)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 260 grams GF flour (about 2 cups) (200 grams superfine brown rice flour, 30 grams superfine white rice flour, 30 grams tapioca starch)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon fiori di sicilia* or pure lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
  • 1 teaspoon Amaretto
  • 227 grams crème fraîche, sour cream or greek yogurt (about 8 oz.)
Brushing Liquid
  • 115 grams (about ½ cup) of hot water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur(s)
Butter Cream
  • 228 grams just room temperature unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • splash of vanilla
  • splash of Grand Marnier
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Cherries with stems (brandied are great)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tin with festive liners. This should make about a dozen cupcakes (depending on how you scoop the batter it might make a couple more or less).
  2. In a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. In a separate bowl weigh the flours together and add the baking powder, soda and salt. Whisk to mix. Add the flavorings and liqueurs to the butter/sugar mixture. Alternately mix in the crème fraîche or sour cream/yogurt and the flour until batter is smooth. Scoop into prepared cupcake liners until about ⅔ full. Bake for 10 minutes and rotate pan. Bake about 8-10 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out without crumbs. Don't over bake them! Remove from pan and cool on a rack.
Brushing Liquid
  1. Dissolve the sugar in the hot water. Add the alcohol. When room temperature and the cupcakes are thoroughly cooled, brush on the tops of the cupcakes. Do it a 2nd time. Let them dry thoroughly before frosting.
  1. Using a whisk attachment, whip the butter in a stand mixer. Add the sifted sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add the flavorings and whip on high until very light and fluffy. You want the mixture to be somewhat stiff to hold peaks, but soft enough to spread. Slather on each cupcake using a small spatula trying to pile it high in the center like a snow peak.
  1. Set all the cherries you want to use, stems up, on a paper towel to dry out slightly so that when you put them on the cupcake they don't drip down the sides.
  2. Mix the coconut in a medium deep sized bowl. Take each frosted cupcake and gently turn upside down into the bowl and press against the coconut. Try not to disturb the peaks - you just want the coconut to stick to the frosting every which way. You may have to dip it again, but you'll get the hang of it after the first few.
  3. Top each with a long stem cherry. And be happy.
* at King Arthur Flour online and well worth the investment. a little goes a very long way.




  1. Adorable! Cheers to you!

  2. Where are you purchasing your (flours)? How many cupcakes does this recipe make? I re-read the recipe and did not see it. Excuse me if it is listed and I just did not see it. I would like to make in small batches because I do not need to eat them all.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Madonna – Right below the instructions in the recipe – it says it should make about a dozen depending on how you scoop. If you want, they freeze just fine after they cool but before you brush or frost them. I buy most of my flour from two sources right now. Authentic Foods for superfine brown and white rice flour and tapioca and Bob’s Red Mill for most others. This post talks about that Hope that helps!