The Fizzy Drink Cupcake Experiment

The 6 week holiday boredom has truly set in. So much so that my science geek side has emerged and I decided to do some experimenting in the kitchen. Proof I have officially lost the plot. This was all inspired by Cakespy’s cake challenges and various recipes on Craftster.

After seeing Nigella’s recipe for Coca-Coca cupcakes it got me wondering… Which fizzy drink makes the best cake?. Rather than the usual cola I decided to pick some truly British fizzy drinks – Tizer, Vimto (my personal favorite), Irn-Bru and Dandelion & Burdock.

I hasten to add this blog entry should also be entitled “How to make ugly cupcakes”. The last time I made cakes looking so decidedly dodgy was when I was 8.


I used the Nigella’s coca-cola cake recipe but omitted the cocoa. To make enough for 4 sets of cakes, I doubled the recipe, then divided the cake mix by 4 before adding the various fizzy drink/butter mix. The icing was simply 110g of icing sugar for each flavour of cake mixed with 90ml of the fizzy drink.

I used paper cases as various recipes around the internet suggested that the cakes can go very sticky.

To make it a fair test all cakes were cooked for the same part of the oven for exactly the same amount of time. At the end of the 15 min all had passed the “skewer test”


Resulted in an *cough* interesting mix of cakes some of which I certainly will not replicate again! Others however, with a bit of tweaking, could make good cakes.

Dandelion & Burdock

This drink makes me reminisce my childhood. The taste is unlike any other fizzy drink out there. In terms of cake baking it produced a fluffy well risen cake and you could certainly taste the D&B in both the cake and icing. The D&B tinted the cake and icing nicely.


Irn-Bru is one of those kind of drinks that you haven’t a clue what it is meant to tastes like, but it’s delicious especially with a bag of open chips from the chippy. It is also the unofficial national drink of Scotland. I didn’t realise until I did this experiment that Irn-Bru has caffeine & quinine in it. Why you need quinine in Scotland is another question for another day.

Considering the amount of artificial flavours and colours in Irn-Bru it produced a so-so cake. Only a very slight colour change in the icing and cake. It just tasted sweet rather than Irn-Bruish. Not as fluffy as the D&B cake. It also had a slightly greasy texture.


Vimto is my favourite fizzy drink of all time, it is also great in the cordial format. Never drunk it much as a child as I was always made to believe it was expensive! It made cakes with a pleasing purple hue and noticeable Vimto taste, however was almost verging on being too sweet. Like the D&B cake with a bit of tweaking it could make a nice cake. Didn’t rise as well as D&B.


Although they look like quaint little Bakewell Tarts , they turned out to be a bitter disappointment…where do I start. They have to be one of the worst cakes I have ever tasted. Cakes shouldn’t have a chewy texture! Although they had passed the skewer test after cooking, they looked promising…until about a minute later when they just collapsed leaving a lovely crater for the icing to pool in. They also leached a load of grease while cooking. Euch. There was no change in colour of the cake or icing. Interestingly Tizer was the only drink that I experimented with that said “No artificial colours, sugars or flavourings” so I wonder if this had something to do with it.

The said cakes are now infusing the compost heap.


Dandelion & Burdock makes the best cake, as for Tizer, never again unless you want a chewy greasy mess.

Things I learnt while cooking the cakes:

* When the little old man in the Newsagents questions why you are buying so many crazy coloured fizzy drinks, don’t admit to the fact you’ve lost the plot and want to cook cakes with them.

* I have a innate ability to make as much mess as possible while cooking. Cake mix down the washing machine? KitchinAid covered in cake mix? You name it, I can get cake mix on it.

* Cupcake cases are not a universal size, I must have picked up tiny ones and ended up with double the amount of cakes I had originally intended.

* The cake mixture is incredibly watery and it is easier to pour it from a jug rather than trying to spoon it in…yes I did try spooning it.

* Hubby does have the ability to be honest when it comes to my baking. I don’t blame him as I thought the same!

Published by Jules

Professional Food Geek who loves a freshly baked loaf.