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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes Cooking View

I’ve been having a lot of fun playing cupcake fairy for my coworkers on their birthdays.  It’s always interesting to see what flavors people will choose, and I especially love it when I’m challenged to create a new variety I haven’t tried before.  My good friend and coworker Adam has been looking forward to his birthday cupcakes for months.  He also changed his mind several times about what he wanted.  Initially he was leaning toward something uber chocolatey, but after trying the Irish car bomb cupcakes he was loving the idea of a boozey cupcake too.  When I saw a recipe for Jack Daniels buttercream, I knew I had found just the thing.  I ended up making a chocolate cake, brushing it with a whiskey simple syrup, and topping with this fabulous buttercream.  The end result was just what I was hoping for - a moist chocolate cupcake with a nice kick of whiskey.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy these, although it is obvious that people have very different thresholds for the strength of whiskey.  Some thought they tasted very strong, while others (Adam) felt they could have been even stronger.  However, I doubled the amount of whiskey in the frosting and am sure that if I had added even one teaspoon more, it would have dissolved.  Personally, I thought the balance was just right for my tastebuds – strong enough that it deserved the word “whiskey” in the title, but not so strong I was looking for a chaser.  I will say that the frosting was a bit challenging to make.  Though I boiled my sugar mixture to the correct temperature by my candy thermometer, it almost completely hardened when I transferred it to the liquid measuring cup.  I thought all was lost, but decided to try to salvage it anyway.  I added the mixture to the frosting anyway, and it seemed to correct itself because the frosting was perfectly smooth and there were no hard bits of sugar anywhere.  Next time I may just avoid the hassle altogether and use the same recipe as the Bailey’s buttercream, just subbing whiskey instead.  Or maybe mix some Jack into my favorite basic Swiss meringue buttercream.  I think there are lots of options to make these, and they’ll all be delicious because apparently whiskey and chocolate is a winning combination :)

Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

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:

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 sticks (18 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tbsp. whiskey
Cooking View

Directions

  • 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.

  • To make the frosting, combine the eggs and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk on high speed about 5 minutes.  In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar.  Heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches the soft-ball stage, 234˚-239˚ F.  Immediately transfer the sugar syrup to a liquid measuring cup.  With the mixture on low speed, add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture in a slow, thin stream.  Increase the speed to medium and beat about 7 minutes, until the syrup has cooled and the bowl is just barely warm to the touch.  Add the butter 3-4 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition, at least 30 seconds.  Once all of the butter has been added, continue to beat on medium speed until the frosting thickens slightly, 3-5 minutes.  Blend in the salt and whiskey.

  • To assemble the cupcakes, brush the cooled cupcakes with the whiskey syrup.  Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source

  • Siunna

    Your co-workers are really lucky to have someone like you brighten their birthdays!! (green with envy…ha ha)

  • http://mrssmithcooks.wordpress.com Traci

    I am in awe of your ability to cook such fabulous food, and hold down a job and raise a baby! Amazing. As for these… I’m intrigued. I really enjoy chocolate and Kahlua, so I wonder about the whiskey too… interesting!

  • http://bunkycooks.wordpress.com bunkycooks

    Gotta love the boozy cupcakes with chocolate! They look so yummy!

  • Shannon

    I’ve made frosting like this in the past when I worked as a professional pastry cook. We used small saucepans with a pour spout (like you would use for melted butter) for the sugar mixture. As long as you are careful and your saucepan is clean to start, you can pour directly from the saucepan into the mixer with no problem. We used to aim for the ‘sweet spot’ in the mixer – the area between the bowl and where the paddle/beater are rotating so all of the mixture went into the eggs and not stuck on the metal parts.

  • http://confessionsofacookbookqueen.blogspot.com/ kristan roland

    These look super yummy…I’m not sure if I could handle the whisky though!!!

  • Emily

    OMG, these look amazing. I have to ask, what size tip do you use to frost your cupcakes? I can never get mine to look that nice! Also, are these regular size, or mini cupcakes? Either way, I’m sure they were delicious, and your coworkers are a lucky bunch!

  • Emilie

    Hi Annie. I discovered your blog several weeks ago and love the fact that you post so often. So many great ideas! I have a quick question on this one – what decorating tip did you use? Any advice on technique? I’ve piped icing before but never just one big star. It definitely takes the look up a step. Thanks!
    Emilie

  • http://bakeitafterall.blogspot.com Meghan

    These are gorgeous!! I love how you’ve piped on the frosting! Do you remember what kind of/general size tip you used? I’m trying to think if I have one that would make that pattern… The whiskey simple syrup is a great idea, especially for cupcakes to keep them super moist.

  • Annie

    Hi Emily,
    I don’t know what number this tip was. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have a size on it. These are full size cupcakes, but of course you can make them mini.

  • http://pinkparsleycatering.blogspot.com Josie

    MMm I have had my eye on that buttercream since I got her cookbook too. Jack Daniels is my husband’s fave. I never would have thought to pair it with chocolate though – genius! Will you let me know how it works if you just add it to the icing? I have done it in the past with tequila and bourbon, and it seems to thin out the icing too much to pipe on very well. The only alcohols that haven’t done that have been the cream based ones.

  • Sarah

    These look great! It’s funny – I was wondering what size tip you used for the frosting too! I’ve never been able to frost cupcakes as well as you do, I guess that’s a reason to make more cupcakes!

  • Shannon

    Hey Annie,
    I love, love, love your blog! The very first thing I do in the mornings when I get to work is read your blog. I made the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day for my co-workers. I received emails all day long about how wonderful they were. The cake was so incredibly moist. It was awesome, so I was very excited when I came to work this morning, got online, and saw these yummy looking cupcakes!! Thanks!

  • http://jellibeanjournals.blogspot.com Jelli

    Annie, these look picture perfect! I like your method of adding the booze via simple syrup. I’ll have to give that a try, so much easier than guessing how much to add to batter and having the flavor evaporate while cooking. As for the many curious people wondering about your piping tips (including me!) perhaps you could oblige us with a simple photo of the tips you use each time you frost cakes, or a photo of you frosting them so that we could see your technique. Thanks a lot for sharing these yummy bites.

  • http://mcmccammon.blogspot.com/ Colette

    Annie-
    Since I live in Louisville, I plan to try this with my favorite Kentucky Bourbon…Knob Creek !

    I believe the answer to everyone’s question about what tip you use is a Wilton 1M tip. That’ll settle it! :p

    Hope you have a great weekend!!

  • Emily

    These look wonderful! Just out of curiosity, these (and the car bomb cupcakes) seem like the recipe from Smitten Kitchen… what is the etiquette on using and/or modifying recipes from other blogs?

  • http://www.chocolateshavings.ca chocolate shavings

    Whiskey cupcakes.. I’m intrigued! These look beautiful!

  • Annie

    Colette,
    I know it’s not a Wilton tip, though that could be a similar shape.

  • Annie

    Emily,
    If you see at the bottom of each recipe, I have listed a source. If I change things about the recipe (either ingredients or my instructions/methods), it says “adapted from”. Yes, the car bomb cupcakes are from Smitten Kitchen and they are linked at the bottom of that post. The food blogging world is one big world of sharing recipes.

  • http://maninas.wordpress.com/ Maninas

    oh yum! I love the look and sound of these cupcakes!

  • http://www.hellonneedles.blogspot.com julo

    I made the Irish car bomb cupcakes a few weeks ago and they were amazing. This whiskey buttercream sounds awesome too! I’ll have to try this. :)

  • aimeewrites

    I LOVE your cupcakes!

    I thought I would let you know…I made the Car Bomb cupcakes for my husband’s birthday last fall and inadvertently left out the cocoa. (Oops!) I made a second, chocolaty, batch, and we actually liked them better without. Being chocolate lovers, we were quite surprised!

  • http://food4peace.blogspot.com/ eirini

    I will try that recipe for sure.Great presentation!I love your blog!

  • http://www.hotpolkadot.com Lindsey

    My Dad would absolutely love these! Chocolate and whiskey are two of his favourite things. I love your piping with the frosting as well. Beautiful!

  • http://www.cheycancook.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Lucky co-workers, and how nice of you to do this for everyone! I love that everyone can pick their own type!

  • http://www.20somethingscupcakes.com Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes

    So funny – I was just so upset with myself for missing the boat on making a similar cupcake for St. Patty’s Day…but as the baker in the office as well – a co-worker’s birthday is brilliant! I think it’s safe to say any male would appreciate those! xxSAS

  • http://myfabulousrecipes.blogspot.com Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes

    Ooh the cupcakes are so pretty! I wish I could have one right now!! :)

  • http://www.6bittersweets.com Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

    This sounds fantastic and looks adorable. I wish I had one (who am I kidding? more like 3) in front of me now 8).

  • http://www.nibblemethis.com Chris

    uh oh….this will cause a DWC (driving while cupcaked!) :)

  • http://thewitchykitchen.blogspot.com/ stella

    These are beautiful. Sometimes I make whiskied chocolate milk, so I know all the flavors work too!

  • http://thelovelyladybaker.blogspot.com/ Christina

    so beautiful and simple! What size tip did you use to pipe your buttercream? absolutely lovely.

  • Rowina

    Hey Annie…I was just wondering if the frosting will hold its shape if I were to omit the two large yolks and just use 2 large eggs? Thanks!

  • http://www.onceuponachef.com Once Upon A Chef

    these look incredible! and such a lovely blog!

  • http://www.j3nn.net Jenn

    These look delicious! I made Chambord icing a few weeks ago that was wonderful. Liquors work so well for frosting flavors. :)

    Jenn

  • http://www.not-so-vanilla.blogspot.com Not So Vanilla

    I love the look of your icing. What size of tip did you use? I have been looking to for a larger tip for some time now.
    NSV

  • http://iammommy.typepad.com/i_am_baker/ Amanda

    How unique! They look amazing!

  • Annie

    Rowina,
    I think that would have a pretty significant effect on the frosting. I’d probably just try a different recipe if you have a problem using the egg yolks.

  • Avi

    Gorgeous, delicious-sounding cupcakes!

    I know you said that it wasn’t Wilton, and I have a 1M tip, which wouldn’t be big enough to frost cupcakes the way you did, but what kind/brand of frosting accoutrements do you use?

  • Annie

    Avi,
    I have frosting tips from several different brands, stores, etc. Most are Wilton but this one isn’t. I don’t remember where I got it.

  • http://www.sinfullythin.blogspot.com Kimberly @ Sinfullythin.blogspot.com

    Wow…those look so cute! I am curious about the chocolate whisky combo…Must try!

  • Victoria

    I made a half-batch of these cupcakes last night (using the Bailey’s Buttercream icing recipe, substituting whiskey for Bailey’s), and they are amazing! Thanks for another great recipe, Annie!

  • Annie

    Great! I’m happy to know the whiskey worked well in place of the Bailey’s. I’ll have to try that next time!

  • http://bakingforneighbors.wordpress.com Alex

    And I thought I was so clever… I made a similar recipe last week!

  • Kristen

    Most Darling Annie-
    I read you everyday and religiously make your sugar cookies (they ARE the best) and royal icing along with your chewy chocolate chip cookies and a few of your other treats. I also love to decorate cakes and cookies, but am new to it. I have a request…would it be possible to let us know which pastry tips you use? These cupcakes are great and I love the frosting…looks almost like a meringue topper, but am curious as to the size tip.
    Thanks-ever-so-much-
    Kristen

  • Annie

    Hi Kristen,
    Thanks for the sweet comment. If you read the comments above, you’ll see that a LOT of people have asked what tip I used. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where this one came from and it is not labeled with a number or brand. In general I use a large star tip for all my cupcakes, and this is just a variation on that.
    :) Annie

  • http://palegirlinthecity.tumblr.com (Another) Annie

    I made these cupcakes for a potluck tonight (and took the suggestion of adapting the Bailey’s frosting). They turned out perfectly! Just the right whiskey flavor. And the chocolate cupcakes were great–moist but not heavy. Definitely recommended!

  • http://www.yumsiliciousbakes.blogspot.com Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes)

    These cupcakes look great! Does the whiskey taste come through, though?

  • Annie

    Avanika, I discussed that in the text of the post :)

  • Lindsay

    Annie, this may be a weird question but, do you think that this cupcake recipe could be semi-easily transformed into a cookie recipe? I love to bake and these totally remind me of something my boyfriend would love – except he doesn’t like cupcakes (ugh!). I always want to try some fun recipes like this but don’t want them to go to waste – and I sure can’t eat 24 cupcakes on my own!

  • Annie

    No, not at all. Cupcakes have batter, cookies have dough. I would just make chocolate cookies.

  • Kristin

    Annie, I have been lurking on your blog for months and finally have gotten my act together to move from computer to kitchen! As a fairly experienced cook/baker, I was surprised that these cupcakes gave me some trouble. They taste amazing, but they are all sunken in the middle. I’m sure they are baked through, and most of the sins are covered by the frosting. I was just curious if that was expected with this batter, or if I need to keep trying to perfect my execution. Thank you for your wonderful blog!! As a mother of two who works full-time outside my home, I don’t know how you do it! (But I love that you do!)

  • Annie

    Kristin,
    I have had other friends and readers mention the sinking issue to me as well. I recently made them again myself to test this, and though they didn’t sink at all for me, they were flat and not domed like many cupcakes. So yes, I guess expected in this case and best covered by frosting, but if you want a better shaped chocolate cupcake I would use the base of the triple chocolate cupcakes instead.

  • Kristin

    Thanks so much. The flavor and texture are so perfect, I can’t see myself settling for another. I will frost right over the little sink hole, and nobody will ever know the difference! (As a side note, there will be orange and yellow butterflies topping these — also from your site — so it should be no trouble hiding the dents!) Thanks again!

  • Jacki

    Annie,
    I made these cupcakes over the weekend (without the whisky), and they fell on me! The only thing I was missing was just slightly less the 1/4 cup of sugar (I ran out!) but I figured that was ok since the icing I was using was super sweet. But they were all inverted!
    Any ideas why?

    Thank you!
    Jacki

  • Annie

    Jacki,
    Read the other comments. I just answered this same question yesterday.

  • Jacki

    Thanks Annie! Glad to see it wasn’t only me!
    My husband said it’s because we were walking around in the kitchen! He thinks all baking is like a souffle! :)

  • Annie

    Hahaha, no, that was definitely not the problem!

  • Jessica

    Where can you find espresso powder? Do you have to order it online? I look at our local grocery store and had no luck finding it.

  • Annie

    FAQ page.

  • Amethyst

    Thank you for this recipe, this evening I already tried a different one for jack and coke cupcakes, it was a disaster (the butter mixture seperated, so gross!!) so I decided to try again and these are fantastic! Instead of water I used cola, and everything tastes amazing!

  • Ashley Thomas

    I made these tonight! they rose beautifully, and tasted wonderful! i thought it needed more whiskey flavoring, but then i stuck them in the fridge for about an hour and the flavor was AMAZING! I used the Bailey’s Buttercream because i don’t have a candy thermometer. Awesome cupcakes with or without the whiskey. Thanks for the recipe, i LOVE your blog :)

  • Emaly rivera

    My frosting wasnt thick at all. it was liquid! What did I do wrong??

  • annieseats

    It’s a pretty light frosting, but shouldn’t be liquid. I’m not sure what might have happened. Please see the FAQ page re: what went wrong.

  • Owensm71

    I need to tell you that I have been loving your boozy cupcake selections! I just made the Chocolate Kahlua cupcakes for a bridal shower to add some flair. I also made your vanilla bean cupcakes (without the bean since those suckers are expensive! It turned out just as good anyway though) and then I filled them with a vanilla pudding filling that also had Peach Schnapps and cut up peaches. Delicious. Now I’m looking at your car bomb cupcakes for some adult sweets for my daughter’s first birthday (there will be rainbow cake for non-alcohol people and children) and the chocolate whiskey cupcakes for my brother in law’s bachelor party. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes! It definitely has brought a whole new variety to just plain cupcakes (which are still awesome of course, but I’m too excited by the boozy ones right now. ;)).

  • Oneillallie21

    What type of tip do you use to get the icing to come out as one thing rather the a usual swirl?

  • annieseats

    Same tip, it’s just the motion you use that makes the difference (don’t swirl if you don’t want a swirl).

  • Tina Shaw

    o.m.g. Just made these today and they are, ‘da bomb!!! LOL! These were awesome! Definitely keeping for other occasions!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gloria.webber.98 Gloria Webber

    i just made these to give for Christmas and I had sunken middles too! and my fancy Chritmas Baking Cups were oozing with butter….Very disappointing.. could it be the Altitude??? i am in Edmonton, alberta! the muffin itself was too light and fluffy and seemed to fall apart…can`t give them as gifts…a waste of baking products..sorry :(

  • annieseats

    It does sound like something went wrong, and it very well could have been altitude. Sorry to hear that they didn’t work out for you.