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Rum and Coke Cupcakes Topped with Rum Balls: A Surprise Hit

When I made the Soda Fountain cupcakes, I bought root beer extract, cream soda extract, and cola extract. I bought the cola extract specifically with this cupcake in mind. I’ve been wanting to make Rum and Coke cupcakes ever since the extracts arrived, but I thought I should space out my soda based creations.

The Cake

For the cake part of these cupcakes I used a brown sugar-rum pound cake recipe that I had actually made a really long time ago in cake format.

On the printed version of the recipe, I had written in blue crayon, “YUMMY.” The crayon does not indicate that “really long time ago” means I was 10, I just happen to love crayons. I’ve even read that using crayons can make you less stressed. Some people have also said that baking relieves stress. I really should be virtually stress free. Hmmm… hasn’t quite worked yet.

Warning: Mom, do not read this part.
First off, let me state that this was by far the best cake batter I’ve made. OMG this batter was good. Yes, I eat the batter right off the spatulas. My mom has a big fear that I will get salmonella from eating raw eggs. This is a risk I am willing to take. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I exercise. I figure it really doesn’t make me all that rebellious to eat the raw batter. I’ve never noticed that as a risk factor on health insurance premiums.
OK, Mom you can read again.

It was with very high hopes that I filled my cupcake wrappers. Unfortunately, there were some problems:

  • Problem 1 – The batter filled more than 24 cupcake wrappers using the standard 2/3 full rule. Did I just make more cupcakes? No, I decided to fill them higher. Hey, the last ones didn’t rise that much, maybe these wouldn’t either.
  • Problem 2- The baking instructions for these cakes called for 50 min at 325 degrees. Every cupcake I’ve ever made has been 20 min at 350 degrees
  • Problem 3 – These were not my standard white Wilton or Wilton equivalent baking cups. I had bought a new brand, If You Care, at Whole Foods that is not bleached and is supposed to be good for the environment.

What happened?

20 minutes into the baking, the cupcakes were nowhere near done but they’d risen high above the tops of the liners. (Notice I’ve called them wrappers, baking cups, and liners all in this one post. I haven’t yet determined if there is a preferred term). I kept watching them. They rose and rose and eventually, at around 40 min, the tops deflated creating the look of deformed flat cookies on top of the wrappers. At least they were done.

These things were ugly! There was no good way to get them out of the wrapper without breaking the top of the cupcake off. I ended up removing many of the tops and just frosting the lower more moist cake. Was it just because I filled them too high? Was it the nature of the recipe? Who knows? I’m not making them again to find out.

Oh, and problem 3 – if you read the Amazon reviews for If You Care baking cups, all the happy customers are talking about how the great thing about these cups is that the cake doesn’t stick to them at all. Well I’m not so sure that’s such a great thing. The wrappers were literally falling off of the cupcakes instead of holding them together like a nice neat package. Could it have been my bad recipe? Maybe. But again, I’m not sure I want to use them a second time to find out. I still have a lot left so maybe in an act of desperation if I’m out of the normal white kind, I will give these another chance.

The Frosting

The job of this frosting was to act like a top notch make up artist and give full coverage to mask the ugly cake. I know I’ve knocked frosting in the past, but I’m beginning to appreciate it in terms of it’s ability to magically transform the unappealing into little works of art. It helps if you start with good material but even the not so beautiful can be drastically improved upon.

I made a cream cheese cola frosting using the same formula as the cream soda frosting.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons cola extract

The frosting was really good. The cola flavor shined. Several people commented that the frosting tasted carbonated. Since there was clearly no carbonation, I can only attribute this to our brains associating cola flavor with bubbles.

The Topper

Who needs the cupcakes at all when you’ve got these rum balls? I used a recipe for rum balls from Emeril Lagasse. The only change I made was not use the nuts. They are on the banned list for this project.

The rum balls were super easy to make and were delicious. They were, however, whoa Nelly strong. So strong that my friends started talking about doing rum ball shots instead of jello shots. Luckily, I had a bunch of extra ones. The groom and my husband took this idea the farthest by dunking the extra rum balls into shot glasses full of rum and downing the whole concoction.

The only problem at all with the rum ball as a topper was that if you ate the rum ball first, the rum in the cupcake was almost untastable. The cupcakes really needed to come with instructions: cake first then topper.

I colored some of the rum balls blue only because I had just bought this blue edible glitter and wanted to try it on something. The bride thought it made the cupcake look like it had a big eyeball staring at her. This was not the effect I was going for. However, I could actually play that up for a Halloween party. It could be neat.

The Surprise Ending

After seeing those ugly cupcakes come out of the oven, I was pretty much convinced they were bombs. The next day I sampled one and it was kinda good. The cupcake had actually gotten more moist over night and the flavors really worked together. The bride and groom came over to sample and they were both pretty positive about them. The bride said she would take the cupcake over the drink any day and groom really liked the frosting.

The next night some friends were having a Mojito party. I know, I should have made Mojito cupcakes, but I wanted to make rum and coke cupcakes and I’d waited long enough. I took my cupcakes along and they were a huge hit! Both the host and hostess independently (they were in separate rooms) described the experience as orgasmic. Another friend told me I’d better not start selling these cause then she’d have to spend money on them and yet another said they were her favorite ones I’d made (OK.. she’d only tried the Chai Spice, but I’ll take it).


I would definitely make the frosting and the rum balls again, but I would find another recipe for rum cupcakes.

Final Notes

I called these rum and Coke cupcakes because that is what the drink is called. However, due to our household no high fructose corn syrup rule, I rarely drink coke. Exceptions:

  1. Coke outside the US is typically made with sugar and not high fructose corn syrup.
  2. Passover Coke uses sugar because you aren’t allowed to have corn over Passover.
  3. I will occasionally order Coke at a bar. There is no reason for this. See my comments on rebellious batter eating. This is me being wild and crazy :).
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13 comments on “Rum and Coke Cupcakes Topped with Rum Balls: A Surprise Hit”

  1. This post made me laugh!You’re funny!

  2. Stefsays:

    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed.

  3. Garrettsays:

    Digging the rum balls. :)

  4. I love your writing style. It’s so witty :)

    I recently read in one of my cookbooks that those unbleached, natural baking cups tend to fall off the cupcakes.

    Also, I’m the same way with cake batter. Actually, I’d prefer to just eat the batter and never turn on the oven!

  5. Stefsays:

    It’s really a shame about the natural baking cups. I’d love to use them, but I’m not going to do so if they don’t work well.

    Re my writing style: My paying job is as a technical writer/computer trainer. I get to write about exciting things like technical processes and step by step computer instructions. This blog give me a chance to have more fun with my writing. I’m actually loving the writing part almost as much as the baking part. Thanks for the compliment.

  6. Bryansays:

    It took me awhile to get to this comment because I was hungover from the rum balls for a few days.

    Overall these cupcakes were good. I made the mistake of eating the rum ball first, so I didn’t get much rum taste with the cake. I did like the texture of the cake though. The frosting was very good. The cola extract was very tasty.

    Cake: B+
    Icing: A-
    Overall Taste: B+
    Overall Appearance: B – This had more to do with the papers as mentioned in the blog
    Overall: B+ This was a good cupcake. The ratings are getting tougher because the cupcakes are getting better.
    Rum Ball: B – Needed more powdered sugar and about 3x less Rum :-) Not for kids!

  7. Anonymoussays:


    A little birdie told me about your blog so I had to check out the rum and coke entry because of course, I found them to be orgasmic ;0)

    Love your blog!


  8. Karensays:

    Wow I love the sound of these cakes. I have never seen cola extract here in Ireland but I am sure I will improvise. And the rum balls- yes. I love making rum truffles so this is right up my street.
    From reading your blog it seems I share similar taste buds e.g. dislike marshmallow so I will definitely be trying out quite a few of your recipes

  9. lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

  10. Dinasays:

    Shh I won’t tell! I want to make these!

  11. really random, but just stumbled onto your blog while in Morocco. Not only am I fascinated by your cupcake-ing adventures, but you also explained why I enjoy coke here and not in the US. yay for strong aversion to high fructose corn syrup!

  12. Anonymoussays:

    What about baking the rum balls inside the cupcake? I think that would be good. Like, a shot of rum in the center. I shall try that this weekend. :p

  13. Stefsays:

    Anon – How did that come out? I’m curious?

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