Helen’s Alcoholic Violet & Lemon Buttercream Frosting

lemon and violet cupcakes on a plate, decorated with lemon zest and violet flowers

Looking to bake some cupcakes just for the grown-ups? Look no further than this wonderful buttercream frosting.

Good evening Twisties,

If you’re anything like me, you’re a bit bored in lockdown by now. There’s the same nonsense on TV, you’ve watched all of the boxsets you planned to catch up on and you’ve read your age in e-books. When we’ve tried all of the recommended self-isolation suggestions available to us, sometimes more dangerous things happen – like mixing alcohol into our cooking.

I hope that Parma Violet gin is available worldwide, because dear God it should be. If you’ve never heard of Parma Violets, they are a round, light purple British candy flavoured with violet, the flower, and they are delicious! They have been a love of my mother’s and mine for many years ( to the point that I can remember opening packets of these in my pocket and acting like I was pedalling drugs, but anyway), so when they mixed them with gin, I was all for it. Gin is good stuff, and even if I do love me a raspberry gin more than any other gin, I was more than willing to give this stuff a try.

Sweet Lord & Baby Jesus! It was like I’d died and gone to heaven. The flavour of the Parma Violet was so evidently there; its sweetness, its mild creaminess, and its floral taste. The only pitfall was this stuff is seriously strong, and without tonic water, even the tiniest sip was blowing my brains out. It’s been sitting in my cupboard for months until I bought some more tonic water, but, as yet, I never have.

With the ongoing epidemic, one of the foods we run out of was biscuits. In Britain, tea and biscuits are just the way it’s done, and when Matt and I work as hard as we do and under stressful circumstances, tea and biscuits were bound to happen often. Aware of that, I asked Matt to pick up some biscuits when he was next at the store, except like many stores these past few weeks, they’d run out. No big deal, I had icing sugar, eggs and flour. I’d make us some cupcakes instead!

My first thoughts were to make some bog-standard coffee cupcakes. Call me boring if you like, but coffee, as a flavour, works. Coffee or chocolate are both pretty safe and both pretty dull. I don’t have flavourings in my kitchen, but then I got curious…

Would alcoholic buttercreams work?

You see my lovelies; isolation with a curious brain is a rather dangerous thing!

I decided upon trying out the parma violet gin, and a whiskey one for Matt. Whiskey fudge works, so how would it work in a frosting? The answer is, apparently, quite well!

With the Parma Violet Gin buttercream made up, I gave it a taste. The Parma Violet flavour was there, but then the alcoholic gin taste took over. It was sweet and floral, and then it had a bitter taste of alcohol. I needed to neutralise that flavour.

Let me tell you, a lot of testing went into finding the balance for this buttercream! Be it too runny, too thick, too mild (or too strong!) in flavour, my kitchen seemingly turned into a science lab overnight. Regardless of that, I have perfected the result.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tbsp Whitley Neill (or similar) Parma Violet gin
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

The Method:

  • In a large bowl, combine the icing sugar and butter. It may become quite crumbly or refuse to stick together at this point, don’t worry.
  • Add the Parma Violet gin and lemon juice, mix slowly to begin with and whisk until light and smooth. The mixture should form into stiff peaks once properly combined.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before spreading, piping, swirling or any other fanciful techniques you desire!

Unfortunately, due to quarantine, none of us will be having any springtime parties this year. Nonetheless, why not grab a bottle and plan them for next year? I think this frosting will be great topped with purple, green or yellow sprinkles or tiny edible flowers for an adult Easter party!

The flavour is quite mild, but then again maybe that’s for the best. If you want to add more alcohol, by all means give in a whirl, but do bear in mind that the more liquid you add, the more bitter and runny your frosting is going to be!

For That Special Man In Your Life...

Substitute the Parma Violet gin & lemon juice for one tablespoon of any good quality Scotch whiskey. I dared to use some of Matt’s Glenlivet whiskey at the possibility of a delicious, husband-approved buttercream frosting but fortunately, it seems I have been forgiven. I’ve been assured that it’s not overly sweet and the butter compliments the whiskey, so I hope that the special man in your life approves of it, too!

Have fun cooking, lovelies!

Until next time.

Stay safe & have fun.

Helen xx

Leave a Reply