With the World Cup in full swing, the city has come alive with closet soccer fans, and I’m loving every second of it. People who have seemingly never even seen a game before are calling out international players by name, gasping at missed opportunities as if they were as exciting as a ball in the back of the net, and coming out in masses to cheer on the US as they advanced to the knock out rounds. It’s as if they finally understand why soccer/football/fútbol, whatever you call it, is the most exciting game in the world.
I grew up in a family that loved soccer. My sister and I began playing at a very early age, and my parent’s weekends were dedicated to driving us to endless matches and tournaments. When all my friends were in love with Leonardo DiCaprio, my bedroom walls were painted with posters of Michael Owen and Stephen Gerard (for some reason I’ve always had a soft spot for the Brits). In college, every Saturday morning was spent sitting around the TV watching the premier league and nursing our hangovers with leftover pizza and Bloody Mary’s. Even now, as an adult, I play in an intramural co-ed league and play pick-up in Prospect Park whenever I can. I love playing, I love watching. I just love soccer.
So when our events planner at work asked me to make a dessert to celebrate the opening game of the World Cup, I was beyond excited to help out. Two of my favorite things, soccer and baking! Since the opening game was Brazil vs. Croatia, and the cup this year is in Brazil, I decided to imitate Brazil’s national drink “The Caipirinha.” The Caipirinha is made with lime and sugar, muddled in a glass, and then mixed with Cachaça, a liquor made from distilled sugar cane. It’s an absolutely delicious drink, and these are absolutely delicious cupcakes. These cupcakes are almost as sweet as the World Cup. I hope you’re enjoying the matches as much as I am, and go team USA!!
Adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- Grated zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 5 egg whites
- 1/4 cup Cachaça
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
- 5 cups confectioner sugar (sifted)
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons Cachaça
For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 3 cupcakes pans with cupcake liners.
Combine the flour, 1 3/4 cups of the sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the butter, lime zest, and 1 cup of the buttermilk. With an electric mixer, beat on low until combined, and then raise the speed to medium, beating for 2 more minutes until the batter is light and airy.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk, and whisk thoroughly. Add the egg white mixture to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl with each addition, beating only enough to mix evenly. Spoon the batter into each cupcake liner, so that the liner is approximately 2/3rds full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the Cachaça-lime syrup. In a non-reactive small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the lime juice with the Cachaça. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Careful this will get very hot and may splash a little. Remove from heat, and brush the top of the cooled cupcakes with the syrup, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the icing:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, and beat until smooth after each addition. Add the lime juice, zest and Cachaça and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Frost the cupcakes with a piping bag and tip of your choice. To turn these into “World Cupcakes”, top each cupcake with a flag representing a team in the World Cup.
Cupcakes will keep for 3 days at room temperature, kept in an air-tight container.