Flirtini Cocktail Cupcakes


The Flirtini cocktail. As with most cocktails, there are a few variations, but the basic ingredients are champagne, vodka and an orange liqueur like Cointreau. It's normally garnished with a Maraschino cherry and served in a highball or Collins glass.

This was a great cocktail to put in cupcake form! Firstly, easy and tasty ingredients, secondly, cupcakes look great with a cherry on top!

The sponge is my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe with fresh pineapple chunks and a hint of orange to mirror the flavours in a Flirtini. I also put Cointreau in the Swiss buttercream, my favourite kind of frosting, but you can, of course, use any frosting you like. I think this cupcake would be great with cream cheese frosting too.


I didn't put champagne into my cupcakes only because I wanted the jelly (jello) shot to be quite potent, but of course you could use champagne or sparkling wine in the jelly shot for a tingly feel on the tongue. 

One thing about making jelly shots with pineapple is that pineapple contains an enzyme that breaks down the protein in gelatine, and agar agar for that matter, which is what I use to make my jelly shots so that they don't melt or need to be kept in the fridge. 

Filled with a boozey pineapple and vodka agar jelly shot

Filled with a boozey pineapple and vodka agar jelly shot

This was easily remedied though, I simply made sure to use pineapple juice that was from concentrate, which means it had been through a heating process which takes care of that enzyme. Normally I would prefer to use a fresh juice not from concentrate (I prefer the taste and it contains less sugar) but this was, afterall, going into a cupcake, so who honestly cares about the extra sugar ;)


Coming up with the method for my jelly shot filled cupcakes was quite a process, two years in the making, sort of, but although they're a little fiddly to make, it's good fun seeing the look on people's face when they get to the boozey centre of the cupcake. Great for parties!


Pineapple Chunk Cupcake Ingredients

Makes 24 cupcakes, recipe easily halved to make 12

1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour

1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour

225g Unsalted Butter, softened (1 cup / 2 sticks)

2 cups Granulated Sugar

4 Large Eggs, at room temperature

1 cup Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Salt

8 Slices Fresh Pineapple, roughly chopped

Zest from 1 Large Orange

Fresh Pineapple Wedges for garnish

Maraschino Cherries for garnish



  • Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted / 350°F)
  • Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners
  • In a small bowl sift the flours together then set aside
  • Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug or small bowl and set aside
  • In a large bowl cream the butter until smooth
  • Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes
  • Add eggs 1 at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl between adding each egg
  • Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and beat until just incorporated
  • Beat in 1/2 of the milk & vanilla
  • Repeat the previous 2 steps, ending with the last of the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition
  • Fold in orange zest and chopped pineapple
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners to about 3/4 full
  • Bake for 20 - 25 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Leave to cool in the pans for 15 mins
  • Remove cupcakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack
  • Chill cupcakes in the fridge for 15-20mins before filling with agar jelly shots as seen in assembly instructions below




Pineapple Vodka Agar Jelly/Jello Shot Filling

You can get agar in different forms. 1Tbsp flaked agar = 1tsp powdered agar. 1Tbsp flaked / 1 tsp powdered sets 1 cup / 250ml of liquid. I've used a bit more for ease of math and a firmer set.


2 Tbsp Agar Agar Flakes


2 tsp Agar Agar Powder

150ml - 200ml Vodka (depending on how strong you want it)

200ml - 250ml Pineapple Juice (to make up 400ml liquid in total including alcohol), make sure it's not fresh pineapple, it must be from concentrate so that the agar sets



  • Combine agar and pineapple juice in a saucepan and allow to stand for about 10mins
  • Add sugar, if using, and bring mixture to the boil, stirring constantly
  • Simmer for 5 mins or until sugar and agar has dissolved, stirring
  • Tip: Agar melts at 85°C
  • Remove from heat
  • When agar mixture cools to +- 60°C, heat vodka in a seperate saucepan until it reaches 50°C
  • Remove vodka from heat and add to agar mixture, stirring to thoroughly combine
  • If mixture is now over 50°C, leave to cool till it reaches about 50°C
  • Tip: Agar solidifies between 31°C - 40°C so you don't want it to drop too low
  • Pour into prepared cupcakes as seen below




Cointreau Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This makes enough for a generous swirl on 24 cupcakes. Easily halved.

A cream cheese frosting would also be great on these cupcakes.


6 Large Egg Whites, room temperature

300g Granulated White Sugar

525g Unsalted Butter, room temperature

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

4-6 tsp Cointreau or Triple Sec (to taste)

Yellow Gel or Paste Colour



  • Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl
  • Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water
  • Whisk over heat until all the sugar is dissolved and it resembles marshmallow fluff, about 3 mins
  • Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat until the mixture is cool and you have a glossy meringue
  • Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time, making sure it's completely mixed in before adding more
  • Tip: At some point it will look curdled, DON'T WORRY! Once you've added all of the butter, just keep beating and it will come together to form a smooth, creamy buttercream
  • Beat in vanilla and orange liqueur
  • Colour with gel or paste colouring until desired shade or yellow


Cupcake Assembly

  • Using a round pastry cutter or apple corer, remove the centres of each cupcake so you're left with a well to fill
  • Put cupcakes in the fridge to chill for 20-30mins
  • Prepare agar mixture as above
  • Leave to cool just to the point where it's still liquid but not yet setting
  • Tip: It's easiest to have the agar mixture in a saucepan with a pouring spout or in a jug
  • Remove cupcakes from the fridge (make sure the centres are chilled)
  • Pour the agar mixture into the centre of each cupcake
  • Tip: The agar should set really quickly, but you can speed up the process by putting the filled cupcakes back in the fridge for 5-10mins
  • Once agar is set, frost with buttercream frosting and decorate with a wedge of fresh pineapple and maraschino cherry (I also sprinkled edible glitter for extra glam!)
  • Enjoy!

Cupcake recipe adapted from More from Magnolia