An Aperol Spritz is a low-alcohol, effervescent cocktail made with the aperitif Aperol (Campari’s more accessible cousin). The drink is sweet, herbal and scented with citrus. Enter the Aperol Spritz Cupcake! These lovely cupcakes check all of the boxes of your favorite summer drink, plus they’re insanely easy to make. The base for this dessert is store-bought cake mix, but we make it taste homemade with the addition of freshly grated orange zest and a homemade buttercream tinted pink with Aperol. If you would like your frosting to have a deeper, more dramatic color, add 1-2 drops of red food coloring while mixing.
Sprinklesfreshly grated orange zest and small rosemary sprigs, for garnish
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Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350° and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk the cake mix with the vegetable oil, eggs, orange zest, orange juice and ½ cup of water, or the remaining amount of water called for on the box (i.e. if the box mix calls for 1 cup of water, add ½ cup of orange juice and ½ cup of water). Scoop the batter into the lined muffin cups so each cup is ¾ full. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan. Unmold and transfer to a baking rack; let cool completely. Repeat with more cupcake liners and any remaining batter.
Meanwhile, make the frosting In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or in a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until light and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly incorporated. Add the Aperol and salt and beat until smooth. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. If the frosting gets too thick, add 1 tablespoon of Aperol.
Using a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon, place a generous mound of frosting in the center of each cupcake. Beginning in the center of each cupcake and moving outward, spread the frosting in a tight circular motion. A spatula will give you a smoother look while the back of a spoon will create large swoops. Garnish with sprinkles and a small sprig of rosemary. Enjoy!
The amount of orange juice might vary. Replace half of the water called for on the box cake mix with fresh orange juice. MAKE AHEAD: The cupcakes can be made up to a day in advance and stored at room temperature in a tightly sealed plastic container. The frosting can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using. If needed, soften the frosting by whipping it for 15 to 30 seconds in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Add 1 tablespoon of Aperol, if too stiff.