Income Tax Cupcakes

Income Tax Cupcakes

Why do we not eat income tax cupcakes every year? Come on, people!  Tax Day (April 15 in the U.S.) is when we need cupcakes the most!  We can celebrate completion of a mound of paperwork, reward ourselves for our refunds, or try to cheer ourselves up when we find that we owe big bucks.

It turns out that some very smart people in the cocktail world decided long ago that income tax day needed to be commemorated in drink – specifically, the income tax cocktail.  I learned about the income tax cocktail from fellow St. Louis food blogger John Griffin at Kitchen Riffs.   It’s a classic cocktail that features gin, vermouth, Angostura bitters, and orange juice (head to Kitchen Riffs for the exact recipe).

If you don’t love strong drinks (or even if you do), you can still enjoy this small piece of cocktail history by trying my cupcake version of it.  The cocktail cupcakes won’t get you drunk and the cupcakes don’t taste strongly of alcohol.  Rather, the flavor of the gin, vermouth, and bitters appears in the cupcake as a mild aftertaste to a simple, sweet yellow cake.

Good luck this week, tax procrastinators, and enjoy your Tax Day cupcakes!

Rating: 51

Yield: 16 cupcakes

Income Tax Cupcakes

These income tax cupcakes are based on the classic cocktail that features gin, vermouth, Angostura bitters, and orange juice.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons gin
  • 2 tablespoons sweet vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon dry vermouth (feel free to just use more sweet vermouth for this if you don’t want to buy another ingredient)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (Although you can taste the orange juice in this recipe, if you’d like a more pronounced orange flavor, add in up to 2 tablespoons of orange zest in addition to the orange juice.)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon gin
  • 2 teaspoons Angostura bitters
  • 2 teaspoons pulp-free orange juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix sugar and butter until fully combined.
  3. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Mix in eggs, one at a time.
  5. Mix in gin, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, bitters, and orange juice until just combined.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  8. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat butter on high speed for three minutes – until light and fluffy.
  9. Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  10. Mix in salt.
  11. Mix in all remaining ingredients.
  12. Spread or pipe on cooled cupcakes.


Double the frosting recipe if you like to heavily frost your cupcakes.

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