Dawn Belisle is an attorney-turned-baker who began baking alcohol infused cakes inspired by her mother’s fruit cake and hasn’t looked back since.

“Baking with booze requires knowing what flavors work well with each other while ensuring the alcohol complements the other ingredients,” says Dawn. “In a good recipe you will taste the flavor and the alcohol of the spirit used—it will enhance the recipe but the alcohol will not overpower the final flavors. It’s all about using a great tasting spirit like Van Gogh’s flavored vodkas to create that perfect balance for the palate.”

I tried out one of her recipes recently, making her no-bake chocolate-covered caramel vodka bites. I used graham crackers and arrowroot cookies that I had on hand, but I otherwise followed Dawn’s recipe below.

They were a hit! With plenty of chocolate and caramel flavor, they also packed a punch. There was no doubt these were boozy bites.

Dawn’s alcohol-infused cupcakes and other goodies can be ordered online at www.delightsbydawn.com. You may also see her at the Georgia Dome, Philips Arena, and other locations in Atlanta.

Thank you to Delights by Dawn and Van Gogh Vodka for providing me a sample of Dutch Caramel Vodka. Van Gogh crafts 16 varieties of high quality flavored vodka. Get to know Van Gogh at www.vangoghvodka.com.

Recipe: Dutch Caramel Vodka Bites

Created by

  • 1 12oz. package of vanilla wafers
  • 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
  • 7 oz. Melting Chocolate (dark or milk)

Put wafers in a food processor and process until fine. If you don’t have a food processor put wafers in a sealable gallon food bag and use a rolling pin to crush until fine. Place wafer crumbs in a bowl and add confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup and Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka. Mix until well until combined. Using a small cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, scoop the dough and roll into a 1 inch bite-sized ball.

Melt the chocolate and then dip the bites into the chocolate until covered entirely. Place dipped bites on a wax sheet of paper to harden. To decorate, add sprinkles or colored sugar before the chocolate coating hardens. Store the Dutch Caramel Vodka Bites in an airtight container. Bites are best when made ahead of time and stored for 1 to 3 days to allow all the flavors to meld before serving.

Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

The Chocolate Room
269 Court St.

Display case at the Chocolate Room in Brooklyn

Heading to a dinner party with no time to bake, I stopped by this chocolate-focused dessert shop in my old neighborhood.

Box of treats from the Chocolate Room

I went right for the cupcakes, of course, but they only had two left. That gave me the opportunity to sample more goodies! Though I was tempted by a small chocolate layer cake, I decided on cookies–two chocolate chunk and two chocolate peanut butter–and brownies to fill up my box.

Plate of Chocolate Room baked goods

They were a hit with the group of women at dinner that night, we all got to try a little of everything. I will note that nibbles of a brownie paired nicely with sips of red wine.

I thought all the baked goods were nice, but I have to vote for the cupcakes as my first choice (duh?). They were light, the cake not heavy or dense at all, and the rich and silky smooth chocolate frosting was a good contrast.


Lower East Side, Manhattan

Roni-Sue’s Chocolates
148 Forsyth Street

Go to Roni-Sue’s Chocolate Shoppe for chocolate truffles, toffees, caramel popcorn, pretzel treats, and other confections. Bacon lovers can’t miss the Pig Candy (chocolate-covered bacon). The café has a cute backyard garden and also offers classes and hosts private events. Roni-Sue uses MOHO Chocolate, direct-trade, single origin 60% dark chocolate from Belize.

Amelie Dips Chocolate

I visited Roni-Sue’s for “Fall Into Chocolate” co-hosted by Divalicious Chocolate Events. This was a chocolate-dipping party with both a dark chocolate fountain and—something I’d never before seen—a matcha white chocolate fountain.

Divalicious Chocolate Fountains
Want one of these for a party? Check out Divalicious Chocolate Fountain Rentals.

There were strawberries, cookies, pumpkin muffins, pretzels, marshmallows, cream puffs, popcorn balls, gummy candy…and much more to dip. I think my favorite were the rice crispies treats, the chocolate really got into the crevices!

Dippers for Chocolate
Popcorn, fruit, cookies—including beautiful pizzelles—and even potato chips were perfect dippers for both the dark chocolate and matcha-flavored white chocolate.

Happy Chocolate Dippers

Chocolate Dipped Goodies

To wash it all down, there was hot chocolate and hot apple cider with chocolate-dipped cinnamon sticks.

Merry Christmas!

Ginger Couple

I baked gingerbread cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting for my office holiday party. I couldn’t resist making some ginger people to top them!

Ginger People

The frosting was, I must say, amazing. I’d made cinnamon before, and cream cheese, but never the two together. Definitely recommended! I basically just added a teaspoon of cinnamon to my regular cream cheese frosting.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

single_caramel_cupcake_popcorn We’re moving soon and see no reason to pack nearly empty bottles. I knew we weren’t likely to finish off this Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka. It’s actually rather tasty, in my opinion, but it’s not something you want to drink often.

kissed caramel cupcakes

The day before, I made caramel popcorn. (It’s easy, here’s the recipe.) I then baked and frosted the cupcakes on party day. For an extra boost of caramel-boozy goodness, I used a chopstick to make a hole in each cupcake while they were cooling and slowly poured in about a teaspoon of caramel vodka using a small funnel.

This is a fabulous way to use up some caramel vodka, if you’ve run out of creative caramel-based cocktails. See recipe below!


We’re also working on the peach schnapps.

Recipe: Caramel Vodka Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup caramel-flavored vodka
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 pound powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup caramel-flavored vodka
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

Cream the butter sugar at medium speed, then reduce to low. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and the yogurt.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add 1/2 the dry ingredients to the wet, then the vodka, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, do not overmix.

Scoop batter into lined muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full. Bake 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely on wire racks before icing.

FOR THE FROSTING: Beat the butter, slowly adding powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, then the vodka. Mix well at medium-high speed.