In booze-happy Midwest, alcoholic cupcake frosting is too much

The Upper Midwest is ground zero for binge drinking, it’s considered acceptable to tail-gate at a football game until you’re falling-down drunk, and economic development in the region means another tap room.

Just don’t put a little alcohol in a cupcake.

In Sioux Falls, S.D., Holly Boltjes’ new business might be in trouble even though she checked to be sure that her business, Intoxibakes, was legal.

She flavors the cupcakes with alcohol. Both the city and the South Dakota Department of Revenue gave her the go-ahead before she opened last November but now there’s a change of heart, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader says. A city official says she’s breaking the law.

While the business is cleared under the state’s liquor laws, it fails under the state’s food-preparation laws, which prohibits “any vinous, malt or spirituous liquor or drug.”

Under that interpretation, that even includes vanilla extract, which is 35 percent alcohol, even though nobody would charge a baker with a misdemeanor for using vanilla flavoring.

In her cupcakes’ frosting, Boltjes uses about two teaspoons of hootch for every dozen cupcakes.

“There are certainly way more important things for the FDA to concern themselves with than whether or not there’s a little bit of alcohol in a brownie or a cupcake,” a food-safety lawywer told the paper.

“Obviously, we’re a little upset. We want to continue with the business,” Boltjes said.

She’s shut down the website through which her product is sold.

  • >>Under that interpretation, that even includes vanilla extract, which is 35 percent alcohol<<

    Someone needs to point this out to the pinheads who ruled against the bakery.

    • Kassie

      But also, adding rum for instance, to cakes is normal. Adding vodka to pie crusts is a trick many bakers use. I was just looking up recipes for orange cakes and at least half have orange liquor as an ingredient.

      • rallysocks

        Perhaps the lack of vodka is the reason behind my abject failure at rolling out a pie crust…

        • I tend to add vodka to the baker…

          • rallysocks

            Definitely where I’ve been going wrong!

  • Gary F

    If its part of the frosting, doesn’t the alcohol part evaporate?

    Sioux Falls must be a great place to live, the potholes must be fixed and crime at low levels, because they have time to worry about this stuff.

    • And any alcohol used in the baking process gets cooked off.


      • jon

        Frosting isn’t baked.

        **Mental note to avoid Gary and Onan’s cupcakes**

        • Barton

          Unless it’s 7 Minute Frosting, which is cooked. And delicious.

        • Oh, you WANT these cupcakes…

          • jon

            Now, I can’t shake the sense that you are just pouring shots of hard liquor into cupcake liners…

            Also make mine a jumbo muffin liner…

      • Kassie

        Even not cooked off, adding two teaspoons for a dozen cupcakes means a normal adult would need to eat dozens of cookies to even get a buzz.

        • jon

          That’s a 3rd of a shot per dozen cupcakes.

          So an average adult male would need to down those dozen cupcakes inside of 15-20 minutes and 30 minutes for the average adult female. to feel buzzed that is.

          But here is where it gets fun… the LD50 for sugar for that average adult male is something like 2.7kg (based on 30g/kg in rats), and your average cupcake has something like 100g of sugar*… so to get to the legal limit some one would have to eat 3-4 dozen in an hour (depending on if we are talking an actual shot at 1oz, or a normal pour at 1.5 ounces)… that’s like 3.5-5 kg of sugar…

          The sugar would kill you before you got to a .08 blood alcohol level (and eating all those carbs with the alcohol is probably going to slow down the BAC a bit too.)

          *specialty shop probably has more sugar rather than less, more frosting and such.

          • X.A. Smith

            With that math, it seems like the name Intoxibakes is simply false advertising.

          • jon

            I’ve never seen some one OD on sugar, but from what I have seen I suspect intoxicated is a reasonable term… Just the wrong intoxicant.

      • Jeff

        Au contraire, that’s a popular myth. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to get rid of most of it. For some of us this a feature not a bug.

  • BReynolds33

    I can’t help but wonder if the party of small government is behind this move to keep us all safe from cupcakes.

    • Government small enough to fit inside a woman’s nether regions.

      • jon

        Inside a cupcake in this instance.

      • MikeB

        And bedrooms and medicine cabinets and church basements and the floors of meat packing plants (they somehow can’t find the executive suites)

  • jon

    Why would the FDA be enforcing South dakota’s laws? Aren’t they a federal agency?

    I would think that this would be under the per view of the state inspection agency of south dakota… which overseas among other things, food, agriculture, schools, and the lottery…

    Boozy cupcakes are delicious BTW… Second only to boozy chocolate truffles (had some in Portland, delicious.)

    • jon

      And while I’m looking at it… confectionaries aren’t allowed to contain any compound?

      Do they just not have candy in South Dakota?

      Quick glance confirms this is a law dating back to at least 1909… after 110 years maybe it’s time to review that law and supply a valid one in its place. (I very much support expiration dates for laws, if the legislature can’t agree to renew it then they should let it fall off the books.)

      A quick google suggests multiple chocolate shops in south dakota making wine (and other booze) flavored truffles…
      I hope the state inspection agency is going after these organizations as aggressively or they are probably facing some lawsuits over selective enforcement.

    • MikeB

      It’s easier and more palatable to blame the Feds instead of the locals. It’s a catch all

  • Rob

    Boozybakes would have been a way cooler business name.

    • Kassie

      I wonder if they were trying to get something established hoping for recreational marijuana to become legal.

      • Rob


  • Knute

    Stillwater has their own version of booze food… They state “* Under 2% by volume. All ages can enjoy!”