Mini Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes with Chocolate Bourbon Buttercream

So, I did not develop a recipe for mini chocolate cupcakes with chocolate bourbon buttercream just because I had a hankering for such a sweet. No, instead, I was asked to bake for a fundraiser supporting an amazing youth organization in my neighborhood, and actually wasn’t quite sure what I would make . . . . Until I realized that my pals who run a distillery in the hood, were also participating. Baking up something tasty with their beyond-delicious bourbon seemed like the right direction to head. All things being equal, I wanted to make a chocolate bourbon sheet cake, but mini cups seemed to make more sense in light of the 600 guests that would be attending the event. I used the one bowl chocolate cake recipe from my new book – available for preorder now and hitting stores April 10th! – and the chocolate buttercream from my salty caramel filled cupcakes. And then, I added LOTS of bourbon.
Truth be told, this (getting a real bourbon flavor to shine through) proved tricker than I expected. But after several trials, I concluded that the best flavor came from poking holes in the cupcakes post-baking and generously brushing bourbon on their tops. As for the light-as-air buttercream, a little more than a quarter cup of bourbon did the trick there, rather nicely (FYI: the buttercream is kind of mind blowing). Oh, and on the off chance boozy sweets are not your thing, substitute heavy cream for the bourbon in the buttercream and omit it from the cups. Then, delete my email address and phone number as I’m not sure we can be friends anymore (JOKE!!).

Mini Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes with Chocolate Bourbon Buttercream
For the cupcakes
  1. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  3. 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 tsp table salt
  8. 1 egg
  9. 2 egg yolks
  10. 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  11. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  12. 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  13. 1 cup boiling water
  14. 1 Tbsp espresso powder
For the buttercream
  1. 1 3/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  3. 1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  4. 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  5. 5 Tbsp Bourbon, plus additional Bourbon for brushing on the baked cups
  6. 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line a mini muffin/cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Add the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on low speed until well combined.
  3. In a small bowl, add the egg, egg yolks, vanilla, oil, and buttermilk and whisk until combined. With the mixer on medium-low, slowly pour the wet into the dry ingredients. Beat until incorporated, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the boiling water and espresso powder and add to the batter in the mixer bowl. Mix again on medium speed for 30 seconds, until smooth. The batter will be quite thin.
  5. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way full and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The cups are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a moist crumb or two. Let cool completely in the pan. Then poke lots of holes in the top of each cupcake and brush each one generously with bourbon. Set aside. Repeat with the remaining batter.
For the buttercream
  1. Place the room temperature butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the butter is smooth. Meanwhile, sift the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder together in a large bowl. On medium-low speed, add a little of the sugar/cocoa mixture to the butter.
  2. Once incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula, and continue to add and stop and scrape, until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add the vanilla and then slowly add the bourbon and then the cream. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl again. Then beat the mixture on medium-low speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Don't be afraid to beat longer than you might think necessary - this ensures an airy frosting.
  3. Frost each cup with about a tablespoon of buttercream.
Jessie Sheehan Bakes