Here are some cupcakes, some real cupcakes. There is a delightful chocolate-bourbon base, a surprising pecan pie filling, and a perfect brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream with a touch of cinnamon. Yes, this is for real! I wasn’t joking on Instagram when I stated this maybe the best cupcake I have ever made.
This recipe has pecan bourbon in every component! If you’ve never experienced pecan bourbon before, you need to try some ASAP. Despite my love for bourbon, I have a hard time drinking it straight; there is just too much burn. Not so with this bourbon from William Wolf. It is smooth and delicious without burning; all you need is a glass and ice. And no worries, it’s not too sweet! If you don’t have access to pecan bourbon, I’m sure regular bourbon will work just as well.
I saw this recipe a few weeks ago on Pinterest and was instantly impressed. So many favorite things in one recipe. There were only two questions: when was I going to make these cupcakes and who was awesome enough to deserve them? Thankfully Dean has a birthday in late-January. I’ve written about my love for Dean here, here, and here! Check out the Dean love! Anyway, he (and everyone else at happy hour) enjoyed the cupcakes!
Let’s start with the frosting. The original recipe called for a frosting with powdered sugar and caramelized pecans and a butter pecan type flavor. The flavor sounded lovely but I’m not a fan of powdered sugar frosting. A little bit of searching led me to a brown sugar version of Swiss meringue buttercream. I ADORE Swiss meringue buttercream and this adaptation is delightful. There is a whole host of ideas and usages I can see for this frosting.
I’ve never put a full cup of booze in a cupcake recipe before but this recipe can handle it. The cake is super moist, tender, and flavorful; you can actually taste the delectable pecan bourbon. The filling is creamy and pecan-y; fantastic textural contrast in the cupcakes. And the frosting, I’ve already talked about the frosting, but it’s super! Find a friend you love and bake them these amazing cupcakes!Print the Recipe!
1 cup pecan bourbon
1 cup canola oil
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs
2/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons pecan bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 egg whites
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons pecan bourbon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pecan halves for garnish
- Cupcakes – Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line your cupcake tin with liners
- In a medium bowl whisk together the bourbon, oil, and cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the eggs and yogurt together. Slowly beat in the cocoa mixture. Beat in the sugar; scrape the bowl as needed.
- Add the flour, salt, and baking soda; beat on low speed until just combined.
- Use a standard ice cream scoop to portion the batter in the cupcake liners. The liners should be about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours.
- Filling – Whisk together the water and cornstarch until smooth in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil; whisk the entire time.
- While whisking, toast the chopped pecans in a dry skillet until they are warm and smell nutty.
- Remove the filling from the stove top and stir in the pecans, bourbon, and vanilla.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Frosting – Take a small pot and fill it with a small amount of water. Place the bowl of a stand mixer on top. Add the egg whites, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Whisk and heat until the mixture is hot and the sugar is dissolved. It should feel smooth.
- Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the bowl is cool to the touch and the meringue has formed stiff peaks. This takes about 10 minutes.
- Beat in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time; beat until well combined. Mix in the bourbon, cinnamon, and vanilla.
- Assembly – Cut a cone out of each cupcake with a paring knife. Cut the tip off the cone and set the top aside next to the cupcake. Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling in each cupcake; replace with the top.
- Add the frosting to a piping bag with a 1M tip and pipe a swirl on each cupcake.
- Toast the pecan halves until they are warm and then let cool. Place one half on top of each cupcake.