Sunday, December 4, 2011

Maker's Mark Cupcakes

My two favorite food groups: cupcakes and bourbon.
You may have noticed by now that I have quite the affinity for cupcakes, especially boozy ones (see Chocolate Stout, Blue Velvet with Limoncello Frosting and Bananas Foster Cupcakes). Recently, I made a point to stop posting about cupcakes so much leading to over a month between cupcake entries and a bad case of the DTs. With Kevin's new job starting it seemed like the perfect excuse to have a party solely for the purpose of me going on a baking spree (I mean congratulating him...), so I jumped on the chance and the result was some of the most glorious cupcakes ever (and some of the most fattening yet transcendent brownies. stay tuned for that) that bursted with an exquisite bourbony bite.

Maker's Mark Cupcakes
Recipe modified from Crave Cupcakes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Time: 45 minutes

Tastiest batter ever
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup and 2 tbsp brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup Maker's Mark
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/6 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, allspice, salt and cayenne together in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat the eggs together then slowly add them to the creamed butter.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the wet ingredients while mixing at low speed. (Dry-> wet -> dry -> wet -> dry). Make sure not to overmix. You should finish the mixing by hand.
  6. Fill cupcake liners ~2/3 full with the batter. Overstuffing as always will lead to dreaded muffin tops.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the toothpick test comes back clean. Make sure to turn once halfway through.
  8. Pour yourself a finger of bourbon while you wait for the cupcakes to finish baking.
  9. Let cool on a wire rack.
  10. Frost and enjoy (see below for frostings).

The cakes themselves were incredible and hardly needed frosting. Judging from the batter, I knew this was going to be a special batch, and they didn't disappoint. The allspice and cayenne paired magnificently with the bourbon in an impeccably moist dessert. But food isn't all about taste. Smelling is half the experience, and the soothing bourbon aroma makes your mouth water in anticipation.

Since I was only making one kind of cupcake, I wanted to make sure to have two (equally boozy) frostings for a little variety.

Cinnamon Bourbon Frosting
Originally appeared in Bananas Foster Cupcakes

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Maker's Mark
2-3 cups powdered sugar

  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter, cinnamon, vanilla and bourbon together until light and fluffy.
  2. Sift the powdered sugar and mix it in half a cup at a time until you reach your desired sweetness level.
  3. Whip at high speed to remove any chunks and thicken.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour then pipe onto the cupcakes.
My new frosting gun came in handy.
Cream cheese frosting may be the greatest invention of all time (take that wheel and sliced bread!). I always try to think of another frosting to go with my cupcakes, but it seems ridiculous to settle for anything but the best. Previously, I made this cinnamon packed frosting for my bananas foster cupcakes, so I knew it'd go nicely with this somewhat similar cupcake. The cinnamon was in perfect harmony with the spices of the cake, and the bourbon helped reinforce the theme of the cupcakes.

Chocolate Bourbon Frosting
Modified from

6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tbsp butter
6 tbsp evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Maker's Mark
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

  1. Sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Alternate adding the powdered sugar mixture and evaporated milk. You can alter the consistency by adding more sugar or evaporated milk.
  4. Mix in the vanilla and bourbon.
This frosting got a little too hard in the fridge, so it didn't pipe as nicely as I'd hoped.
I had never made a chocolate frosting before, so now seemed like the perfect time to experiment. The frosting itself was absolutely incredible with a marvelous consistency and just the right amount of chocolate taste. Unfortunately, on the cupcake it was a little overpowering and distracting from the cake centerpiece. Despite this, I know I will be using this recipe again with just some minor tweaking.

Now that would be quite the bender.
It might not seem like it, but this was actually a case of me showing restraint with my cupcakes as these involved no fillings or glazes (I fought the urge to candy some pecans for garnish). This was because there simply was no need for them. The cake and frostings were so flavorful and delicious that I didn't want anything else there to distract from them. The cinnamon cream cheese ones disappeared in what seemed like minutes and the chocolate ones were also a big hit. These are right up there with the bananas foster cupcakes as my all time favorite. Most importantly, they were a sublime way to celebrate my love of baking, wait, I mean Kevin's next step of that crazy thing called adulthood...


  1. Quick question! im making these for my friends bday on Friday. For the cupcakes are we adding a full 1/2 cup of bourbon to the batter? the 1/2 tsp to the icing?

    1. or was the 1/2 cup of bourbon just for us? lol you said pour yourself a finger of it so I got a little confused lol Let me know! Super excited to make these!