There Will Be Whiskey Cupcakes!

Annie Cardi is a writer and dominator of young adult fiction who lives in Boston. She Tumbls at Pale Girl in the City.

Birthdays were awesome in elementary school. Math class was interrupted by trays of Betty Crocker cupcakes. You walked between rows of desks, benevolently passing out cupcakes to your sugar-addict classmates. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to you as you basked in the glow of being a year older and wiser.

Considering most companies don’t give employees the day off, grown-up birthdays can be a little less awesome. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have cupcakes. And now that we’re adults, we can add whiskey to our cupcakes.

Take that, 3rd graders!

This is one of my favorite cupcake recipes. Between the rich chocolate and the splash of whiskey, these cupcakes have a great depth of flavor. I like to add a cream cheese frosting so the whiskey isn’t overwhelmed by sweetness. Make these for your next birthday party and talk about how awesome it is to be a grown-up.


Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes
(cupcakes adapted from Annie’s Eats) (frosting adapted from Pinch My Salt)
Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. espresso powder
1 cup boiling water
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs

For the whiskey simple syrup:
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. whiskey*

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese (1 package), softened
¼ cup unsalted butter (half a stick), softened
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1-1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
3-4 Tbsp. whiskey*

*This doesn’t need to be the highest quality whiskey, since you’re mixing it with sugar. Use something you wouldn’t mind drinking, but not the whiskey you’re saving for when Ryan Gosling** stops by.


To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total). Combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a small bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla extract.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork to combine; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternately with the cocoa-sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat each addition just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the simple syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey. Set aside and let cool until ready to use.

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and whiskey.  Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.  If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).

To assemble the cupcakes, brush the cooled cupcakes with the whiskey syrup. I like to brush each cupcake twice. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

**Because, let’s face it, you want to impress the Gos.

October 4, 2011 | Comments | Permalink |

Tags: cupcakes food recipe whiskey desserts guest post 

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