Boozy bourbon eggnog cupcakes are the perfect easy dessert to ring in the holidays! We are doctoring up a boxed cake mix and you will never know that these are semi-homemade. Loaded with spicy holiday flavor and a hint of bourbon, these tender cupcakes will be a huge hit at Christmas!
I must admit, I am not an eggnog fan. My dad loves it and has it stored in the fridge all holiday season long. But - just because I do not like drinking it straight out of the carton doesn't mean I don't appreciate and like the flavor in general. Anything with holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg just puts me in the Christmas spirit and it is so cozy.
If you are serving the adult version of this holiday drink, it is traditionally spiked with brandy, rum, or cognac. However, we are putting a Kentucky spin on this and using bourbon to make these the ultimate delicious eggnog cupcakes!
Using bourbon to bake with around the holidays has been a family tradition for generations. Recipes like my mom's pecan pie, bourbon and chocolate slab bars, and bourbon balls taste like Christmas to me! I know these will be a hit around your holiday table or parties this season - let's get baking!
This is a semi-homemade recipe. We are going to take a yellow boxed cake mix and doctor it up a bit. And I promise you - you and your guest will NEVER know that this starts with a box mix. It tastes so flavorful and tender - plus it bakes perfectly every time. You will love it!
For the Eggnog Cupcakes
- Yellow Box Cake Mix - I always use Duncan Hines's brand when it comes to box baking mixes. However, use any brand you prefer.
- Eggnog - your favorite brand is perfect!
- Vegetable Oil
- Bourbon - coming from the heart of bourbon country here in Kentucky, there are so many great options! My mom always baked with Maker's Mark growing up. The rule of thumb I use is if you don't like to drink it, don't bake with it. Buffalo Trace, Four Roses Single Barrel and Small Batch, Mitchers Rye, and Old Grand Dad 114, and Old Taylor are some great options to drink and bake for under $50.
- Sour Cream
- Spices - Nutmeg, Cinnamon
- Vanilla - I always use vanilla bean paste* for all my baking recipes. I think it yields a much better flavor, plus I love the vanilla bean specks in the recipe. However, you can use regular vanilla extract if you would like.
For the Eggnog Frosting
- Butter - set your butter out on the counter 30 minutes before making the frosting to let come to room temp and soften.
- Powdered Sugar
- Spices - Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Salt
Tip/Substitution: If you prefer not to use bourbon in the recipe - omit it completely from the batter and bumped up the vanilla to 1 tablespoon. Omit from the frosting and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla instead. It will alter the flavor slightly but will still be a delicious spiced recipe! Most of the alcohol cooks out of the actual cupcake, but not in the frosting - so you can omit it from the frosting and keep it in the cupcake to have a hint of the flavor if you would like as well.
How to Make
Because we are using a boxed cake mix, this is a super easy batter that you can mess up and bakes perfectly each time!
- Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place 24 cupcake liners in a cupcake baking tin.
- Make batter. In a large bowl, add the package of yellow cake mix. Add eggnog, vegetable oil, bourbon, sour cream, and eggs in a small bowl and whisk together until combined. Pour over the cake mix and add spices. Gently whisk the batter together until just combined - do not overmix.
- Bake. Fill each cupcake liner about ¾ of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick - stick it in the middle and the toothpick will come out clean or just with a few crumbs on it and that is how you know the cupcakes are finished baking.
- Cool. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
Make the boozy bourbon eggnog frosting while the cupcakes cool -
- Make frosting. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Place the butter in a stand mixer and beat on high for 3-5 minutes until light, fluffy, and white in color.
- Add 2 cups of powdered sugar. Place a tea towel over the stand mixer (to prevent sugar from getting everywhere) and turn on low to start mixing with the butter. Mix for 2-3 minutes, gradually turning the speed up to medium once the sugar starts to get mixed in.
- Add in eggnog, bourbon, vanilla, and spices. Turn on low and mix until just combined.
- Add in the last remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar. Turn on low and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides, and then turn on high and mix for 3-5 minutes until the frosting has turned light, fluffy, and light in color.
- Remove from the stand, and scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Mix for a minute or two with a spatula to get all the air bubbles out.
How to Decorate
There are endless ways to decorate cupcakes, so do whatever your hearts desire! I love to on Instagram for inspo and ideas too. Here are two ways to decorate that are foolproof and easy.
Piping: Place a Wilton 1M tip (my favorite piping tip of all time) in a piping bag. Twist the bag to seal and decorate each cooled cupcake with a large swirl - start at the outside rim of the cupcake and slowly swirl the outside around the edge, working your way in, and then up as you continue to swirl around the cupcake. This will result in a tall easy swirl as you see in these pictures. Repeat until all cupcakes are frosted.
Spreading: Using a small offset spatula, take a generous amount of frosting and spread it out on the tops of each cupcake, decorating as desired.
To finish - sprinkle each cupcake with come nutmeg to finish decorating and garnish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store leftovers covered tightly in the fridge for 3-4 days.
These cupcakes are so great to make in advance and freeze!
How to make it 24 hours beforehand: Bake and cool the cupcakes completely. Store in an airtight container and store in the fridge until needed to decorate. Make the frosting completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge (for up to 2-3 days beforehand) until needed. Place on the counter for 30 minutes before needing to decorate to let come to room temp, and then place back in a stand mixer and mix for a couple of minutes to make light and fluffy again. Proceed with the recipe and decorating as desired.
How to Freeze: Bake and cool the cupcakes completely. Store in a freezer-safe airtight container wrapped in plastic wrap a couple of times and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Place in the fridge for 24 hours before decorating to thaw. Make the frosting completely. Place in a freezer-safe ziptop bag and seal airtight (place in another bag for extra protection). Place in the freezer for 6 months. Remove and place in the fridge for 24 hours to thaw before decorating. Place on the counter for 30 minutes before needing to decorate to let come to room temp, and then place back in a stand mixer and mix for a couple of minutes to make light and fluffy again. Proceed with the recipe and decorating as desired.
Yes, you can. If you prefer not to use bourbon in the recipe - omit it completely from the batter and bumped up the vanilla to 1 tablespoon. Omit from the frosting and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla instead. It will alter the flavor slightly but will still be a delicious spiced recipe! Most of the alcohol cooks out of the actual cupcake, but not in the frosting - so you can omit it from the frosting and keep it in the cupcake to have a hint of the flavor if you would like as well.
More Christmas Dessert Recipes
- Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
- Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad
- Mama's Pecan Pie
- Cream Cheese Pound Cake
- Buckeye Candy
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