I recently judged a food competition at The Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, FL. While I was there, I got to check out a cooking demonstration called Cupcakes and Cocktails. Let me tell you something, if you’ve never had the chance to eat cupcakes and drink 3 different craft cocktails while watching a pastry chef bake, you haven’t lived.
I’m taking a break from my usual niche in affordable family travel to tell you about this amazing hotel experience that is worth the splurge. Plus, as a foodie, I feel like I have to include this experience on my blog. What’s the point of saving money all the time if you can’t spend it on something you truly love like travel and food, right?
The Epicurean offers a vast array of foodie themed events, including everything from wine education to kitchen hacks. When I realized that the class being offered during my stay was a cupcakes and cocktails class, I had mixed emotions. On one hand, I love cocktails, but on the other hand, baking is not my thing. No matter how hard I’ve tried to bake, I always fail. Measuring things has never been my strong suit, and after many failed baking attempts, I’ve happily accepted the fact that I’m a lover of baked goods, not a maker.
So when Beth Lukens of Cloud 9 Confections started the class, I actually started to zone out. I figured she’d only be able to offer tips for the die hard Kitchen Aid owning participants. Before I knew it, her witty banter and down to Earth personality had me thinking that baking could actually be fun. I started taking notes like I was in a real class. For example, did you know that spices are the cheapest during the holidays? Or that you can get fancy vanilla for cheap at JoAnn’s with a 40% coupon? Or that a used Kitchen Aid mixer is just as good as a new one, and way cheaper?
Beth did a baking demonstration of three different cupcakes and frosting recipes. Each cupcake was accompanied by a handcrafted cocktail from Edge, the rooftop bar at The Epicurean. The mixologist from Edge went into great detail to explain each drink: Boozy Hot Chocolate, Rum Sangria, and Sunset in Mexico.
Even though I loved the money saving tips and the fancy drinks, I was most impressed by the third cupcake recipe. It was for Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Buttercream, and was made with a cake mix. Finally a cupcake recipe that I can master!
After the demonstration, we were able to decorate our own cupcakes to take home. Since I was staying in the hotel with my boys, they got to eat them for breakfast the next morning. What a treat!
I don’t know if it was the three strong cocktails or if I really did learn to bake that night. While I’ve yet to attempt the recipes at home, I now feel weirdly confident. Almost like I can handle making S’more Cupcake with Graham Craker Crust and Spiked Marshmallow Filling from scratch. Or maybe I should start with the boxed cake version.
No matter if I botch the recipe or not, the experience filled me with so much joy. The mission at The Epicurean is to curate incredible experiences so that connoisseurs of life can celebrate all of the wonderful flavors that it has to offer – and discover the truth hidden in new awakenings. The hotel accomplished the mission with something as simple as a cupcakes and cocktails class.
I have the recipes for all 3 cupcakes as well as the cocktails. Check back soon to find them on my blog!
You can get the S’mores Cupcake Recipe here: S’mores Cupcake with Graham Cracker Crust
If you have never taking a cooking class while on vacation, I highly recommend you do it. My first experience was in Cabo, and it’s one that I will treasure forever. I can’t eat guacamole without being transformed back to The Hacienda Encantada. Now I’ll have that same feeling about The Epicurean when I bite into a cupcake.
Want learn how to add travel to your blog too? Read this post: How to Add Travel to your Blog