Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Cupcakes

Our friend Tony’s birthday was this past week.  Last year we baked pink velvet cupcakes to celebrate – this year I decided to try a new recipe out!  These cupcakes take some time to make, but they are well worth it.  The bourbon makes the cake itself extra moist and the filling tastes like the inside of a pecan pie.  They are incredibly decadent and have a bit of a kick with the bourbon in the frosting.     

We set off their fire alarm with the sparkler candles, but besides that, they were a success!

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Cupcakes (adapted from Half Baked Harvest)

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1 cup bourbon (or 1/2 cup bourbon and 1/2 cup black coffee)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
Pecan Pie Filling Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter Pecan Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped raw pecans + 18 whole pecans
*this actually made about twice as much frosting as I needed – the original recipe says to double the frosting if you plan to pipe it on top, but this will be more than enough. 


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 18 liners (I only have 1 cupcake pan, so I just had to bake them in 2 rounds…)

2. While you prepare the cupcakes, toast 1 cup of the pecans in the oven (keeping an eye on them to make sure they just get lightly toasted).  These will be used for the pecan pie filling later on. 

3. In a medium bowl, start the cupcakes by whisking together the bourbon, canola oil and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and Greek yogurt. Slowly add bourbon and cocoa mixture. Combine on medium speed until silky and smooth. Beat in the sugar.

5. Slowly add flour, salt and baking soda, combining on low speed until just incorporated.

6. Fill baking cups three-fourths full.  I use a cookie scoop to fill them easier (I learned this at a cupcake class at the Epicurean a few months back…) Bake for about 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling, at least 2 hours or covered overnight.

7. Meanwhile make the pecan pie filling. Combine 1/4 cup cold water with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, whisk until smooth in a sauce pot. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and salt.

8. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking consistently for about 5 minutes. Do not stop whisking the mixture, especially in the beginning or you will end up with scrambled eggs.

9. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the 1 cup chopped toasted pecans, bourbon and vanilla.

10. Allow the mixture to cool a few minutes and then transfer to the fridge for at least one hour or until completely cooled and thickened.

11. To make the frosting, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat.

12. In a medium sauce pan, melt together 1/4 cup butter, cream, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl in the freezer (or fridge for longer) for 15-20 minutes or until cool.

13. In a bowl, whisk together the bourbon, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cinnamon. Add pecans and stir to coat evenly.

14. Transfer nuts to prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Remove and toss the pecans with 1 tablespoon butter. Allow to cool 10 minutes, set aside.

15. Now grab the cooled butter mixture and add the remaining 1/2 cup room temperature butter, vanilla and powdered sugar to the bowl and beat together until well combined. Mix in about 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans.

16. If the frosting is not stiff enough to frost the cupcakes, place it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes or the freezer for 5-15 minutes. Then remove and whip it for a few second to get everything smooth again.

17. To assemble the cupcakes: Use a small paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with the cooled pecan pie filling.

18. Add the frosting and sprinkle each cupcake with the remaining pecans. If desired top with 1 whole pecan.

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