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» Pale Yellow

Cream together butter and sugar until pale yellow.

Chocolate & Bourbon Cupcakes

Tracy Byrne

Two cupcake recipes in a row?!?!  Crazytown!  This is what happens when you have two friends with birthdays on the same day.  I saw the recipe for these bourbon cupcakes ages ago on Pinterest and knew they would be perfect for Nicole's birthday.  She is one of the coolest ladies I know and loves a good, dark drink like Guinness or whiskey AND she loves pastry cream, like she loves pastry cream a LOT.  Nicole also has one the cutest babies around!

I was interested in this recipe because it has so many steps!  I love cupcakes with fillings, topping, and an excuse to use my mini blow torch.  These cupcakes are no joke but I have an admission to make - I never ate an actual cupcake!

I know!  I don't know what happened.  I sampled the cake, the pastry cream, and the frosting while I was baking, but I just never got around to trying it all together.  Honestly, it's awkward for me to eat something I've made in front of other people, so I didn't eat one at Nicole's party at the new beer garden, and I may have been full from delicious German beer, whoops.  I usually save a cupcake for myself to eat privately at home, but this time I forgot!

These opinions are a collection of my personal opinions based on my sampling of the parts and the opinions of others.  The cupcakes are awesome!  The cake is super rich, chocolately, and moist.  I was worried at first that the cake would be too tender to hold the rich pastry cream, but the cake held it just fine.  Bourbon pastry cream is wonderful - it's rich and creamy and full of vanilla bean goodness.  The bourbon flavor is present, but not over powering. And now that bourbon is my new favorite thing ever, I appreciate the flavor it brings to the cupcake.  The meringue frosting is light and a great contrast to the rich pastry cream, no heavy buttercreams here!  Any day I get to use my blow torch is a good day!

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate and Bourbon Cupcakes Adapted from Chasing Delicious Yield - 24 cupcakes

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 3 ounces unsweetened cocoa (I used the dark chocolate powder from Sahadi’s) 5 ounces flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 10 ounces sugar 4 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup buttermilk (or juice of 1/2 lemon with enough whole milk to equal 3/4 cup)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the bittersweet chocolate in the microwave.  Use short increments and stir in between.  Let cool.
  3. Sift together the cocoa, flour, soda, and salt onto wax paper.  Set aside.
  4. Beat together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs in one at a time and beat to fully incorporate.  Beat in the vanilla.  Beat in the cooled, melted chocolate.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  6. Turn the mixer on low and add in half the dry ingredients.  Add in the buttermilk and then the rest of the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.
  7. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to portion the batter among lined cupcake tins.
  8. Bake for 20-22 or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Let cool fully on a wire rack.

Bourbon Pastry Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk vanilla bean 2 ounces sugar 1 ounce corn starch 2 eggs 1/4 cup bourbon 1 ounce (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  1. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the vanilla bean to the milk in a medium saucepan.  Heat the milk until it reaches scalding.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, corn starch, eggs, and bourbon in a medium bowl.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the sugar mixture and whisk continually.  Add a little more hot milk while you keep whisking.
  4. Once the eggs are warmed add to the rest of the milk on the stove and heat until the mixture thickens.  Stir the entire time.
  5. Once thicken, add in the butter and stir to combine.
  6. Push the pastry cream through a fine sieve into another bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, letting the plastic touch the top of the cream. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Meringue Frosting

6 egg whites 4.5 ounces of corn syrup by weight 9 ounces sugar 6 tablespoons water

  1. Separate the eggs and add the whites to the stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Leave it alone for a few minutes, you’ll need it soon.
  2. Add the corn syrup, sugar, and water to a small saucepan and stir to combine.  Heat until the syrup reaches 230 F.  Once the syrup reaches this temperature, start whipping the egg whites until they reach a soft peak stage.  Keep heating the syrup until it reaches 240 F.
  3. At this point you need to put on your game face - turn the mixer on medium speed and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer trying to not get the syrup on the whisk or the side of the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer on high and whisk until the bowl becomes cool and fully whipped.  This takes about at least 10 minutes, if not longer.


  1. Cut a cone out of each cupcake and cut off the tip of the cone.  Place the cones aside, do not eat them!
  2. Add the bourbon pastry cream to a ziploc bag and squeeze into each void left by the cone.
  3. Replace the cones.
  4. Add the meringue to a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe on each cupcake.
  5. Using a small blow torch, torch each cupcake to your heart’s content!