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Moonshine and Sweet Tea Cupcakes

What if, instead of moonshine, cupcakes were illegal?  Would you still bake them?  Would you race to deliver your cupcakes without getting caught.  “Oh no, officer, there’s no need to check the trunk.  I was just headed to meet my husband and bring him some moonshine.  I would never get involved with something like cupcakes – heavens, no!”  Would NASCAR (a sport started due to moonshining)  be a largely female SUV-racing sport?  Thankfully, we’ll never know.

These days, legal moonshine exists.  As Medicinal Mixology points out, legal moonshine is a bit of a paradox:

Moonshine is not a type of spirit (such as gin, tequila, or whiskey), but is defined as any spirit made at an illegal, unlicensed still.  In short, moonshine is liquor made by a person that doesn’t give the government the taxes it so loves to collect on liquor sales.  So really, the only thing that separates a distiller from a bootlegger is money paid to Uncle Sam.

However, some legal moonshine is made the exact same way that it’s been made for generations (with taxes and government regulation being the only differences).  The history gives those brands enough legitimacy for me.  I made my moonshine and sweet tea cupcakes using Strawberry Midnight Moon (NASCAR superstar Junior Johnson‘s company), which uses real fruit and no artificial colors or flavors.

The moonshine and sweet tea cupcakes have a strong tea flavor.  I figured out the secret to baking with tea a while back and I’m always happy for an excuse to use it.  The moonshine lends a light alcohol finish with slightly fruity notes from the strawberry.  Despite the fact that I chopped up all the moonshine-soaked strawberries from the Midnight Moon jar and added them to the cupcake batter, the strawberry flavor was not prominent.  It just adds to the sweetness.  These moonshine and sweet tea cupcakes are for anyone who has a little rebel and a little South in them.  Y’all are going to love these cupcakes!

Moonshine and Sweet Tea Cupcakes

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3.34 from 3 votes

Moonshine and Sweet Tea Cupcakes

The moonshine and sweet tea cupcakes have a strong tea flavor. The moonshine lends a light alcohol finish with slightly fruity notes from the strawberry.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword moonshine cupcake recipe, moonshine sweet tea cupcakes, sweet tea buttercream
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 305kcal
Author Stef


Tea Butter Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed loose black tea leaves

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup 4 ounces tea butter from above, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Midnight Moon other brands/flavors of moonshine would also work
  • 2/3 cup water
  • Strawberries from inside the jar of Midnight Moon chopped finely (If you aren't using Strawberry Midnight Moon, you could leave this step off or make your moonshine strawberries by soaking 9 strawberries in moonshine overnight.)

Tea Buttercream Ingredients

  • Remaining tea butter from above room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


Tea Butter Directions

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat until just melted.
  • Add the tea leaves.
  • Continue heating the mixture for about 5 minutes on low heat.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to stand for another 5 minutes or until the butter is discernibly tinted by the tea leaves.
  • Pour the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the tea leaves and then discarding them. You will undoubtedly end up with some butter that you can't get off of the leaves. I encourage you to press as hard as you can, but not to obsess about lost butter - it's for a good cause and you don't need a full cup of butter for this recipe.
  • Let the butter cool to room temperature before using it in the cake and frosting.

Cupcake Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat tea butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix in eggs, one at a time.
  • Mix in midnight moon, a little bit at a time.
  • Mix in water.
  • Fold in strawberries.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out dry.

Frosting Directions

  • Beat tea butter and butter in a medium-sized mixing bowl until light and fluffy (about three minutes on high speed).
  • Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  • Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes.


Nutrition Facts
Moonshine and Sweet Tea Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 305 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 105mg4%
Potassium 56mg2%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Sugar 30g33%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 500IU10%
Calcium 24mg2%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Moonshine and Sweet Tea Cupcakes
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9 comments on “Moonshine and Sweet Tea Cupcakes”

  1. Byronsays:

    and they’re good!

  2. Kathisays:

    Mmmm – that looks good! Need to try and find a store that exports the strawberry midnight moon to europe!!!!

  3. Now that I can type because I’ve stopped laughing I definitely have to say that this just keeps getting better. It’s fresh strawberry season here in FL and I’ve been wanting to use the berries in a cupcake and now have another choice. I’ll have to see if I can locate my local moonshiner but he may be hiding from the revenoors. If he is I guess I’ll have to hit up my local liquor store and buy a few pints of Ever Clear and attempt to make my own Strawberry Midnight Moon and put away a few pints for later in the year. LOL I do plan on freezing, making syrup and puree while the berries are plentiful. Glad you’re enjoying the story of Nascar’s roots Stef and yes we Nascar folks are quite a colorful bunch. LOL. Sweet Tea and Shine are a southern staple and on that note Have a great day Ya’ll.

  4. Fayesays:

    I had no idea moonshine companies still have a kick in the door and the Strawberry Midnight Moon sounds like a lovely additive for sensational cupcake sweetness.

  5. Well Come to you.Your style of presentation is very impressive. The meaningful contribution of your mind reflects on those people who are looking for new ideas and informations regarding Moonshine and Sweet Tea Cupcakes.
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  6. Thank you for publishing these details within your website.

  7. Do you have any video of that? I’d like to find out some additional information.

  8. Shannonsays:

    These were simply amazing!!!

  9. 2 stars
    I tried these today and the whole recipe was strange… The proportions felt off and it’s uncommon to see homemade cupcakes opt for water in the batter rather than milk (a fattier liquid) which gives them a soft, moist texture.

    I had a very hard time creaming the butter and sugar, likely because the butter had been melted and re-solidified. Honestly, I couldn’t really get it to “cream” at all. The batter made enough for closer to 30 cupcakes (I only made 12), but the cupcakes had sticky tops and sank very badly in the middle. I am confident that the issue was not with my baking soda or mixing because I made another batch using a different recipe after this and they came out fine.

    Additionally, the moonshine strawberries made these cupcakes overpoweringly boozey. They might be good as a light night snack at a beer-filled BBQ, but for sharing with my family this afternoon they were a no-go. The moonshine strawberries completely overtake the cupcakes and you can’t taste the sweet tea at all… Just strawberry cough syrup (moonshine).

    I ended up using the tea-infused butter technique and opted for another cupcake batter that was meant to be used with melted and slightly-cooled butter. In that same recipe, I subbed a portion of the milk for moonshine (1/2C milk, 1/4C moonshine) and the cupcakes came out way better.

    I think this is a great idea, but the recipe itself is poorly executed.

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