Party like a Grown-Up: Adult Cupcake Recipes and More

There are things in life we never outgrow:  Disney movies, candy, coloring books, merry-go-rounds, our favorite stuffed animal, catching fireflies and parties.

Over 21+ parties do not have to be the same old veggie tray, cheese assortment and wine.  Give your party goers a reason to be happy they grew up.  Easy alternatives can turn your childhood party favorites into unique grown up versions that will have your guests bubbling about how you really outdid yourself.

You don’t have to be the uber creative Martha Stewart type. Simply think about what makes any children’s party a fun place to be such as food, drinks, and activities.  Don’t forget the end of party goody bags. Pinterest is a great place to get ideas.  Many pinners have entire boards dedicated to adult themed ideas which will give you a running start on your party planning.

This Popsicle flavored party drink for kids can easily be turned up a notch by adding your favorite sparkling alcohol.  Local brews are party chic so why not thrill your beer drinking friends and contact a local brewer.  Many offer kegs (or mini kegs) which will allow you to create that old-school kegger party feel but with a sophisticated ale.


Banish that mint dish to your grandmother’s pantry.  Your guests will love these liquor lollipops!  Arranged around the room or featured as the table centerpiece, this adult version of every kid’s favorite candy is sure to be a hit.

Shots are a party favorite so why not head down to your local restaurant/bar supply store and buy the test tube shot glasses with tray.  Fill each tube with vodka the night before the party and drop in a jolly rancher candy.  Shake tubes before serving for a burst of flavor.

Flavored vodka is the current alcohol trend.  Create your own flavored vodkas with this Skittle candy infused vodka recipe.  Colorful and yummy!

Party responsibly by always providing fun and tasty alcohol free alternatives for the Designated Drivers!

What’s for dessert you ask?  How about a lemon drop shot flavored cupcake?  Maybe Kahlua or Sangria infused cupcakes would make your taste buds sing.  One thing is certain; your guests will love your creativity when you serve these delicious treats.  Alcohol-infused adult cupcakes are only limited by your imagination.

To get started, simply use the basic cupcake and frosting recipes provided. To help get your creative juices flowing, you will find four recipe variation that take the recipes from “kid friendly” to “WOW” adult style.  (Hint: Plan a cupcake baking girls-night-in the night before your event.  Make it more fun than work by asking your girlfriends to come in their pajamas.  Serve pizza and wine.)


Basic Cupcake Recipe    Yields 24 cupcakes


  • 2 ½ c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼  tsp. salt
  • 1 ½  sticks softened butter
  • 1 ½ c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼  c milk


  1. Heat oven to 375°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Sift baking powder, salt and flour into medium bowl.
  2. Place sugar and butter the butter in large bowl.  Beat with electric mixer for approximately 3 minutes or until creamy. Continue to beat while adding eggs (one at a time).  Add vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Add 1/3 flour mixture; beat.  Add 1/2 milk; beat. Add second 1/3 flour mixture; beat. Add remaining milk; beat.  Add remaining flour; beat.
  4. Fill each cupcake liner approximately 2/3 full.  Bake 17-19 minutes until golden brown.  Cupcakes should spring back when lightly touched. Cool completely before frosting.


Basic Frosting (enough for 24 cupcakes)


  • 1 ¾  sticks softened butter
  • 6- 8 c sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ c milk (whole milk works best)


With electric mixer, beat butter approximately one minute. Add milk, vanilla and 6 cups of sugar then continue to beat (low speed) until creamy. Gradually add the additional sugar until frosting thickens and becomes creamy.


Kahlua-infused Cupcakes: Adjust cupcake recipe by reducing flour down to 2 cups and adding 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Take vanilla down to 1 teaspoon and add 1 tsp. Kahlua (or any coffee liqueur). Adjust frosting by reducing milk to 1/4 cup then add 1/4 cup of coffee liqueur. Chocolate covered espresso beans make a great garnish.

Lemon Drop Shot Cupcakes: Adjust cupcake recipe by reducing vanilla extract down to 1 tsp. and adding 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice.  Mix in 1 heaping Tbsp. grated lemon zest.  Adjust frosting by reducing milk to 1/4 cup and adding 1/4 cup of your favorite lemon flavored vodka.

Sweet Sangria Cupcakes: Adjust cupcake recipe by adding 1 tsp. cinnamon to the flour. Add 1 Tbsp. orange zest (grated) to the eggs.  Adjust frosting recipe by reducing milk down to 1/4 cup then add 2 Tbsp. of each:  sweet red wine and brandy. Throw in a few drops of red food coloring.  Top it off with either fresh orange slice (cut thin) or candy orange slices.

Whisk-Me-Away Whiskey Cupcakes: Adjust cupcake recipe by reducing flour to 2 cups then adding 1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened). Vanilla should be reduced to 1 tsp. then add one tsp. of your favorite whiskey. Frosting should be adjusted by reducing milk down to ¼ cup and adding ¼ cup of your favorite whiskey.

Conversation starters are a great way to get your guest to interact.  Strategically placing trivia cards, bowls of temporary tattoos and bottles of bubbles in areas where people tend to congregate. This is a great way to enhance the fun without the awkward feel of organized party games.

No party would be complete without a basket of individual goodie bags for your guests?  Keep it simple with a table filled with to-go cups of coffee and snack packs of cookies.  If traditional goody bags are more your style then hit the buy-one-get-one sales at your local grocer for miniature candy bars.  Stuff a small bag with a piece of tissue paper, throw in a handful of candy then tie off with string and a small thank you note.  This can be down weeks ahead and will leave your guest quite impressed.

Pick a day, mark your calendar invite your friends and unleash your inner child. You don’t need a special occasion.  If you look hard enough you will see that every day has at least one good reason to throw a party to remember!