Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes
Today is my awesome, cute, funny, amazing boyfriend Scott’s birthday, so I knew I had to whip up something super-special-delectable for him! I knew that I wanted liquor to be involved, and not just any, but his favorite liquor- bourbon. When I let him in on the idea he didn’t seem as excited as I was hoping (teardrop), and asked for something chocolaty. So I began my search for the perfect chocolate-bourbon cupcake recipe, and to my disappointment had a very hard time finding one. Then the light bulb went off. Why not just use my stand-by Chocolate-Stout Cupcake recipe (adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate-Stout Bundt Cake recipe), but replace the beer with bourbon? Ding ding ding! Happy Bourbon Birthday Babe!
Tip: Make the caramel sauce a day in advance to give it time to cool and thicken- and also in case, like me, you have to make a second attempt because you burned the first batch!
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners.
Bring the bourbon and butter to a simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add bourbon-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Caramel Frosting (using Ina Garten’s Caramel Sauce recipe)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks-softened)
- 5 cups confectioners sugar
- Coarse sea salt
Mix the water and granulated sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350°F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly (This happened to me on the first attempt. The texture was great but it had a burnt sugar taste- which can taste yummy but isn’t what I’m going for). Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and ½ tsp of vanilla. Don’t worry – the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.
Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours or a day in advance. It will thicken as it sits.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Beat in the confectioners sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Mix in 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce. If the frosting is too thin, I’ve discovered you can add some flour until you reach the desired consistency. I never thought to do this for some reason, but it worked great because it thickened nicely without making it sweet by adding more sugar.
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and use remaining caramel to drizzle on top. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.