You know when you get an idea in your head and you just can’t let it go? Well, Irn Bru Cupcakes were my most recent obsessive idea! For whatever reason, I set myself a mission to turn Scotland’s number 1 soft drink into something I could bake & enjoy. And let me tell you, it wasn’t an easy task!
2018 EDITED TO ADD: As many people in Scotland are now aware, Irn Bru have changed there classic recipe to reduce the sugar content. I have yet to trial this recipe since the change to Irn Bru but will do so in time, making any necessary amendments.
Maybe I was naive in thinking that baking with fizzy juice (soda, ginger, pop, whatever your regional name for the stuff is!) would be straight forward. I mean, I’ve seen the odd Root Beer cupcakes, Cola brownies & Cream Soda cake over on Pinterest so really, how hard could it be? Well it turns out that the majority of recipes using fizzy juice also use American boxed cake mix and the reviews alongside them are never that great. So how could I get that authentic Irn Bru flavour to transfer into baked goods?
For a while I did consider buying the Soda Stream syrup version of Irn Bru (Highland Fizz in case you’re wondering) but reviewers on Amazon tell me that, like many Irn Bru rip offs, it doesn’t have the real Irn Bru taste. Back to the drawing board! Then one evening when I was doing something completely unrelated, it hit me… Why not make my own Irn Bru syrup? Fast forward a few days and there I was standing in my kitchen, boiling a 2 litre bottle of Irn Bru, texting Granny saying, “You know when you’re 50% sure you have a good idea & 50% sure you’re completely mad?”
Thankfully though, it worked!
So in advance of baking these little Scottish cupcakes, you’ll need to prep your own Irn Bru Syurp as follows…
• Buy your Irn Bru. It must be the full sugar version as the diet ones won’t reduce to a syrup. I used a 2 litre bottle which gave me enough to experiment but a 500ml would suffice (& save time) if you’re only using it for one batch of cupcakes.
• Place your Irn Bru into a pot large enough to hold it & bring it to the boil.
• Boil until the Irn Bru reduces to around a 10th of it’s original volume. It took around 2.5 hours for 2 litres to reduce down to 200ml but obviously the less Irn Bru you use, the less time it’ll take.
• Once it’s ready it’ll be a thin syrup consistency and a deep orange colour. Remember it will be very hot and as such will be a bit thicker once it cools down.
And there you have it! Your very own Irn Bru syrup, ready to bake into cupcakes. The process of using this syrup was a bit of trial & error with a couple of failed attempts but this final recipes has a very light Irn Bru taste to the sponge, as it was difficult to get the balance between flavour & texture, but a good whack of flavour in the icing to really make these Irn Bru cupcakes taste Phenomenal!
For the Cupcakes
For the Icing
- 300 g Icing Sugar
- 75 g Butter at room temperature
- 4-5 tbsp Irn Bru Syrup
- Orange Food Colouring optional
For the Cupcakes
- Pre-heat your oven to 170°c and line your muffin tray with 8-10 cupcake cases.
- Sift the flour, sugar & baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and mix on a medium speed until the mixture resembles a sandy consistency.
- Gradually add half the milk to the mixture. Whisk the egg & syrup into the remaining milk and again gradually add to the other ingredients. Mix until only combined - do not over mix!
- Using an ice cream scoop, fill your cupcake cases 2/3 full and bake for around 20 minutes until a skewer comes out the cupcakes clean.
- When cool enough to touch, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Icing
- Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add the butter and mix on a slow-medium speed with a clean tea towel over your mixer to prevent your kitchen filling with icing sugar!
- When the butter & sugar start to come together, gradually add your Irn Bru syrup a spoonful at a time. Continue to mix until completely combined and of a light & fluffy consistency. If you want a deeper orange colour then you can add a dab of orange food colouring also.
- Pipe on to your cupcakes when they're completely cool and sprinkle with a little blue sugar if desired.
Let us know if you try your hand at baking Irn Bru Cupcakes!