Pumpkin Bourbon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bourbon Frosting

I’m a little late here trying to play catch up with my cupcakes but this is just in time for Thanksgiving!  My work has this awesome thing called Pumpkinfest where everyone brings in some kind of pumpkin food.  It can be sweet or savory and lots of people get to try all of the pumpkin deliciousness.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to show off my cupcake skills but I knew it couldn’t just be a regular pumpkin cupcake.  So I decided to take a standard pumpkin cupcake recipe and give it a little zing!  There’s just enough bourbon in these mini cupcakes to give it that something extra.

The unfortunate thing was that I completely forgot the cupcakes at home that morning so I didn’t get to take part in Pumpkinfest.  So sad!  I did bring them in the next day though for all to enjoy.

[Inspired by Martha Stewart]

Makes about 75 mini cupcakes

For Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 Tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tsp. allspice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 sticks butter (melted and cooled)
  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1- 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 nip  bourbon of your choice (I used Red Stag honey bourbon)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar , granulated sugar , butter, eggs, and bourbon
  4. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Fold in pumpkin puree
  6. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway.  It’s easiest to do this with the mini cupcakes if fill up a ziplock bag with the batter, cut off a corner, and use it to fill the cupcakes
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean

For Frosting

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 5 egg whites
  • 4 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • Bourbon to taste (I used about 3 Tbsp. of Red Stag cinnamon spice bourbon)
  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla and bourbon, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes.

My pictures are a little blurry because I was trying to be all artsy putting the little cupcakes on a pumpkin.  But these little cupcakes were a hit.  They had just enough bourbon taste to give it a little something extra and the frosting was different than the typical cream cheese frosting that’s usually on a pumpkin cupcake.  And the best part about them is that since they’re mini, it gives you an excuse to eat at least 4 cupcakes to make up for the fact that they’re so small!



Guinness and Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Everyone needs cupcakes on their birthday, and I feel like a kid in elementary school bringing in cupcakes to work so everyone can celebrate another occasion. I think I’m going to need a birthday calendar to keep up with everyone’s birthdays (and obviously the calendar would have to include flavor preferences). So when I was told that a birthday was coming up and that the birthday person might like Guinness or more specifically car bomb cupcakes I decided to get a little greedy. Since I’ve already made car bomb cupcakes a few times and have written about them, I had to go with a different Guinness cupcake. I did a lot of research on recipes before I settled on a Guinness and chocolate cupcake with salted caramel. And then it would by my first shot at making caramel.

For Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 a bottle of Guinness beer
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners
  2. In a large mixing bowl whist together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt
  3. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time
  4. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes

For Frosting

Salted Caramel Sauce

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. water
    • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • Sea salt
    1. Combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat in a saucepan
    2. Stir until the sugar completely melts and starts to boil
    3. Let the sugar brown for just a minute, don’t let it get too dark though
    4. Once it’s ready, remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream, butter, and sea salt.  Be careful since it can steam and foam up a lot
    5. Add in salt to taste

    For Frosting

    • 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
    • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
    • Salted caramel sauce
    1. Whip butter in mixer and add in powdered sugar one cup at a time
    2. Mix in salted caramel sauce until desired taste
    3. Decorate cupcakes

    I had some extra salted caramel left so I decided to drizzle over the top of the cupcakes to make them pretty.  The salted caramel was good but I’m thinking I let it cook just a tad bit too long because it had a slight bitter taste to it.  But when it was mixed with sugar and butter you couldn’t really taste it.  They seemed like another office hit.  I’ve got to keep them coming for the compliments!



Celebration Cupcakes: Champagne and Strawberries

There’s nothing better to celebrate a special occasion with than a glass of bubbly.  And what goes better with champagne or sparkling wine than strawberries?  They’re a match made in heaven.  So when I heard that a coworker was leaving for a new job I knew we had to celebrate with some champagne cupcakes!  Champagne cupcakes are the equivalent of raising a glass of bubbly but not actually boozing in the office.

For Cupcakes

[Inspired by 20 Something Cupcakes]

Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake tin
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla and beat in egg whites one at a time.
  5. Beat in flour mixture and champagne in three alternating additions, starting and ending with dry mixture.
  6. Divide batter among tins and bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

For Filling

  • About 3/4 cup champagne
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 a package of frozen strawberries
  1. Bring champagne and strawberries to a simmer in a pot until the berries are thawed
  2. Mash the strawberries slightly with a wooden spoon to break them into smaller pieces
  3. Add in cornstarch and water mixture to the strawberry mixture and bring back to a boil
  4. Process mixture in a blender so it is smoother but still has pieces of strawberry

For Frosting

  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup champagne
  • Remaining 1/2 of package of frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 a cup of sugar
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, and champagne.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth and strain in a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds
  2. Beat butter in bowl of stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, beating after each addition
  3. Add in vanilla and mix in strawberry puree into the frosting
  4. To assemble cupcakes cut a small hole in the center and fill with the strawberry filling, put cake piece back on as a top.  Frost cupcakes

I was worried when I tried the strawberry and champagne filling that it was going to be too tart but once it was combined with the sweet cake and frosting it paired really well.  I did think the frosting was a little too buttery for my liking so I’d probably cut down to one stick of butter in the future.

The cupcakes were very light and fluffy from the champagne and egg whites and they paired perfectly with the strawberry filling and frosting.  Definitely a celebration cupcake do!

This was such a fun recipe because it gave me a chance to use my cupcake plunger to fill the cupcakes.  I love this thing, it takes the core of the cupcake perfectly out!  If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can see it here.  I got it as a gift and it’s such an awesome cupcake tool!





Beer+Cupcakes= Blue Moon Cupcakes

Pinterest quickly became my favorite pass time ever.  I can’t even tell you what a sad day it was when I discovered it was blocked at work.  Now what am I going to do to avoid doing work?  I do all of my pinning from home now, so the frequency has definitely died down but I still find amazing looking cupcakes to add to my cupcake wish list board.  I came across a pin for Blue Moon cupcakes and decided to add them to the wish list since they were a fun idea, but I didn’t think I’d really make them any time soon.

I wanted to make some cupcake this weekend but decided I only wanted to do something new so that I could write about it.  Of course I decided to consult my Pinterest board and found the Blue Moon cupcakes which I had forgotten all about. Boy cupcake likes Blue Moon, so I decided I’ve give them a shot, I mean how bad could beer and a cupcake be?

[Inspired by Miss Make]

Cupcakes (makes 12)

  • 6 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tsp. orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Blue Moon beer
  1. Prepare cupcake pan with 12 liners and preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Add in eggs one at a time mixing until just incorporated and add in vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest
  4. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl
  5. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternating with the milk and then beer until everything is mixed together
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown


  • 2 egg whites at room tempreture
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 Tsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 Tsp. cream of tarter
  • 1/3 cup water
  1. In a saucepan, mix sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites, vanilla and orange juice until soft peaks form. Slowly add hot sugar mixture, beating continuously. Beat for 7 minutes until stiff peaks form.
The smell of Blue Moon while they were baking had me really excited for these.  When they came out of the oven, I brushed them with a little of the leftover beer in the bottle before giving it to Boy Cupcake to drink.  This made them super moist and I think added some more beer flavor since it kind of cooks out.  I frosted these with a crap ton of frosting and there definitely could have been less frosting (I know, that sounds like a crime to say).

These were a win.  The cake was moist but fluffy and the frosting was super light and almost marshmallow-like.  There was a lot of orange flavor in the frosting, which I might tone down next time so that you could taste more of the beer but overall they were “refreshing” according to Susical and “F*ing awesome” according to Boy Cupcake (he’s so eloquent with words).



Yet Another Drink Made Into A Cupcake

People in Boston love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s all about wearing green, drinking, and going to parades, and in my book that’s a pretty good holiday.  Let’s face it, it’s pretty much just a giant drinking “holiday” but if you’re going to be spending the day drinking in a bunch of Boston bars, you might as well be drinking for a good cause.  We like to attend an annual St. Patrick’s day pub crawl in Southie that goes by the name Tipsy for Tatas; it raises money for breast cancer.  I love a cause that lets me start drinking at 9am and walk bar to bar, and even better when it’s related to the best drinking holiday.

I’ve learned that cupcakes are a great way to make friends.  I mean, who doesn’t like to bond over a sugary, cakey, deliciousness?  The Tipsy for Tatas pub crawl would be a perfect time to test out the best St. Paddy’s day cupcakes ever…Irish Car Bomb cupcakes.  Ah, the Irish Car Bomb!  If you’ve never had one (which I can’t believe), you have a3/4 of pint of Guinness the you drop a shot glass in filled with 1/2 Irish whiskey and 1/2 Bailey’s.  Chug as fast as you can before the mixture curdles.  I know this sounds absolutely disgusting, and it kind of is gross but boy does it make a good cupcake.

I followed the recipe above and made them into mini cupcakes, the recipe says it makes about 40-48 minis but I got closer to 60.  Let me tell you that carrying around cupcakes on a St. Paddy’s day pub crawl will make you instantly popular.  People seriously loved these things and they tasted just like a Irish Car Bomb but so much better because they were deliciously sweet.  The Guinness cake stayed really moist and delicious and when you bit into it, the Jameson ganache made it perfect.  The only issue with the filling is that I had to cut a little cork out of each and every mini cupcake to be able to fill them.  This was pretty tedious and time consuming but left me with 60 cupcake corks which were perfect leftovers to dip in the extra Bailey’s frosting and chocolate ganache.  To make them extra festive, the green sprinkles were put on by my special little helper friend Pando.  This was her first (but not last) time helping me with cupcakes and her baby fingers did such a good job.

I know these were a hit, but I’m told that they do not taste good the next morning when you’ve had too many actual Irish Car Bombs the night before.  Thankfully I don’t have experience with this so I’ll just have to take other’s word for it.  Regardless, it was a fun cupcake adventure!



Chistmas in July

Merry Christmas in July!

I’m going back about about seven months here to the cupcakes I made for my friend/coworker Kristin for her family’s Christmas visit.  We talked a lot about what to make but she just went with “I’ll eat any cupcake you make.  I trust you”.  A lot of people say this when I make cupcakes for them and let me tell you, it’s a lot of pressure!

I finally suggested an adapted Martha recipe of spiced eggnog cupcake with eggnog frosting, and she seemed to love this idea (at least that’s what she told me).  I mean who doesn’t love this stuff, I can’t get enough of it at Christmas time.  My mom used to tell me that when she was little she would poke a pin hole in the eggnog carton and suck it out thinking her parents wouldn’t know since the carton wasn’t open.  So, I’m prettu sure my egnog love is genetic, thanks mom.

Martha’s recipe was just a spiced cake so I decided that instead of milk I’d use eggnog instead.  Now if we’re talking eggnog you obviously have to put rum (about 1/4 cup of spiced rum) in there…obviously I like to put alcohol in my cupcakes, huh?  I took a few things out of Martha’s recipe too.  I didn’t have allspice in my kitchen and since there were lots of other spices in there I just decided to leave it out.  I also didn’t have mace, and quite frankly, it kind of freaked me out to put something that’s I assume is in pepper spray in my cupcakes.  

How about the frosting you ask?  Well here it is:


  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4-6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons eggnog
  • 1-2 tablespoons spiced rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Basically I just mixed the butter and sugar together adding 1 tablespoon of rum then 1 tablespoon at a time of eggnog until you get to the desired consistency.  I’m going to admit something here though, I completely forgot to add the rum and didn’t realize until the cupcakes were decorated.  BUT, if I had added the rum, that is how I would have done it.

To decorate, I started by frosting all of the cupcakes with the white frosting, then tinted about 1/2 cup frosting red for the berries, and the rest green for the wreath.  I used a #102 decorating tip to pipe layers of the leaves around and finished them by adding berries with a #1 decorating tip.

I never got to eat these cupcakes since I only made a dozen and gave all of them to Kristin to share with her family but from what she tells me, she liked them.  But, she says this about most of my cupcakes so either she’s never met a cupcake she doesn’t like, or she’s just being nice.  But knowing Kristin, I’m inclined to believe the former.

These were a fun adventure to dive into on a snowy Boston Sunday afternoon.  I pretty much love making any cupcake that let’s me practice my piping skills.



If Life Gives You Limes, Make Margarita Cupcakes

Who doesn’t like a cold margarita on a hot summer day?  If you’re not a margarita lover you better stop right here because these are for those of us who not only like to drink their liquor but eat it.   

As usual, I got some inspiration from Martha for these cupcakes.  She has these beautiful orange vanilla bean cupcakes with candied oranges that I had been wanting to try.  Since it was summer time (back in the day when I actually made these) and I was bringing these to a BBQ I was pretty sure that orange vanilla bean cupcakes didn’t scream summer BBQ.  Sadly, I was still pretty desperate to make some candied citrus fruit so the wheels in my brain started turning.  Since my friends like a good frozen drink or three every now and, margaritas came to mind and these cupcakes were born!

Ingredients (Makes 24 cupcakes)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup tequila (plus at least a shot to drink while baking)


  1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir with a fork to blend.  
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the lime zest, lime juice, tequila, and vanilla.  
  4. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ full.  Bake 20-24 minutes, or 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.

Be warned, these are pretty time consuming because they require you to put candied limes on top.  It’s a bit of a process, but this is how Martha does it: http://www.marthastewart.com/candied-citrus-slices  but she does it with oranges/grapefruit (I used about 4 limes for this).  You need to be able to cut the limes really thin for this, which is hard for me since I don’t really have sharp knives or  knife skills despite thinking I do from watching so much Top Chef.

While the limes are cooking in their little hot tub of sugar water, it’s time to make the frosting. 


  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 6 egg whites at room temperature
  • 3 zested limes
  • 3 tablespoons tequila


  1. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
  3. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Fold in lime zest.  Stir in tequila one tablespoon at a time making sure frosting doesn’t get too runny.  Use immediately.

The cupcakes simply get frosted with a thin layer then the little beads are pipped on the edges with a #4 piping tip, which is pretty tedious and can practically make you go blind but looks to good, it’s worth almost losing my vision over it.  Top with one of those candied limes (I hope you took them off the stove to cool and didn’t forget about them!) and you’re good to go. 

I say all of my cupcakes are good, but I like them so I might as well give myself a little pat on the back right?  So, these were very good with a few minor problems.  I definitely didn’t cut those limes thin enough or cook them long enough for them to be eaten.  They did look great on top of the cupcakes, but I had to warn people to pick them off (but at this point they had drunk so many margaritas it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway).  My other issue was that I wouldn’t pair these with the 7-minute frosting if I was to make them again.  The frosting tasted a little too “eggy” to me so I’d definitely go with the Swiss meringue buttercream with the lime and tequila mixed in.

All in all though I’d say it was a success.  It was quite an adventure making these cupcakes but those candied fruit slices look so pretty!