Caramel Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes

Caramel Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes – a brown sugar bourbon cupcake topped with caramel vanilla frosting for a unique combination that is full of flavor! A new cupcake recipe by our contributor, Lindsay Conchar.

So I’ve never really considered myself much of a drinker. While I love a good cocktail when hanging out with friends, particularly now that it’s summer, that’s mostly it. Plus, I tend to not like to drink my calories, I’d rather eat them.

So when I have the chance to combine eating my calories in cupcake form with “drinking” them too, I’m on board! Ha! No but truly, there’s something about the flavor that most alcohol gives to baked goods that I just love. It’s like beer in cheese – how can you go wrong?

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE CUPCAKES:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. baking soda

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 5 strips thick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
  • 2 tsp. bourbon
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
FOR THE CUPCAKES:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cream butter, vanilla, and sugar together in a stand mixer.
  3. Add bourbon and egg whites and mix briefly to combine.
  4. Add flour and salt and stir to combine.
  5. In a separate small dish, combine apple cider vinegar, milk, and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam up a bit.
  6. Add milk and baking soda mixture to stand mixer bowl a bit at a time, with the mixer running on low. Mix batter until everything is just combined.
  7. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners and scoop batter into each liner until it’s about 2/3 of the way full.
  8. Bake cupcakes at 375 F for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

TO FROST:

  1. Cook bacon until crispy and set aside. I like to bake mine at 375 F on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet until it’s crispy, then set on a plate with paper towels to drain any grease.
  2. When cupcakes have cooled completely, make the frosting.
  3. Cream butter, vanilla extract, and seeds from the vanilla bean together in a clean stand mixer bowl.
  4. Add bourbon and milk to bowl and mix briefly to combine.
  5. Add powdered sugar to bowl one cup at a time, mixing on low speed between each addition so powdered sugar doesn’t fly everywhere. If frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk and mix to thin it out. Too thin? Add a bit more powdered sugar.
  6. Frost cooled cupcakes. I swirled frosting on to cupcakes with the back of a spoon this time to make nice dents on top for the bacon, but you could also pipe it on.
  7. Crumble cooked bacon and place a few pieces of crumbled bacon on top of each cupcake. Serve immediately.

NOTES

  • Don’t leave bacon out on the counter! Top cupcakes with bacon right before you eat them, or keep bacon-topped cupcakes covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
  • Exact baking times will vary by your oven. Keep an eye on the cupcakes and, if they’re not fully cooked after 15 minutes, give them a little more time!
  • For more on how to bake the perfect cupcakes, check out Cupcakes 101: How to Bake the Perfect Cupcake. Need frosting tips? Check out Cupcakes 102: Frosting.

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