When most people think of Thanksgiving desserts, the first thing that usually comes to mind is pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin flan, pumpkin cheesecake – the list goes on. Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when pumpkin lovers unite and unabashedly share their mutual adoration for all things…pumpkin. But, what about all those poor, unfortunate souls that don’t like pumpkin? Don’t they deserve tasty Thanksgiving treats too? Hard as it may be to believe, these people do exist. Mr. SGCC is one of them. And his dislike for pumpkin extends to most other orange foods as well. He won’t touch sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cantaloupe persimmons or even a benign little carrot. Enter eggnog…
Eggnog is another one of those quintessential holiday items that start popping up in the supermarkets around this time each year. However, most people don’t ever notice it until weeks later because they’re too consumed by all things pumpkin. But, eggnog is quite a versatile little product. It’s great to enjoy all by itself, and even better spiked with a little bourbon and cinnamon. Whizzed in a blender with ice cream, it makes a fabulous milkshake. And, it can be swapped with milk in most baked goods, like these eggnog cupcakes, with amazingly delicious results.
To make the cupcakes, I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe from the Magnolia Bakery. Instead of the milk called for in the recipe, I used a cup of eggnog in the batter instead. I also added a splash of dark rum, and some cinnamon and nutmeg too. Then, I piled each fluffy, moist cupcake high with a silky, rich vanilla and rum laced Swiss buttercream. Heaven!
The Swiss buttercream recipe is one that I adapted from Martha Stewart. While making Swiss buttercream can be a tricky business, when you get it right – it’s glorious! The most important thing you have to remember when making it is to pay attention. Swiss buttercream does not fool around. But, if you’re diligent about following the directions, all should work out just fine. There is a great Swiss buttercream tutorial at Sweetapolita. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about making it. But, beware! This site is addictive!
Once your cupcakes are frosted, you can decorate them any way you like. I used some sparkly, gold sugar sprinkles here, but I bet they’d be wonderful with a drizzle of caramel sauce too.
Aren’t they pretty?
I have totally fallen in love with using eggnog to jazz up holiday desserts! I’ve been putting it in pound cake, ice cream and custards too. The flavor it adds is subtle, but lovely – and oh, so festive!
So, if you’re having some picky pumpkin haters at your Thanksgiving table this year, make them eggnog cupcakes. Or, just make some for yourself to enjoy after everyone goes home.
For the cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup eggnog
- 2 tablespoons dark rum (or 1 teaspoon rum extract)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the buttercream:
- 5 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized cubes
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons dark or spiced rum to taste (optional)
- To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 standard-sized muffin tins with cupcake papers and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine the rum and vanilla together in a small cup or bowl. Set both aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer or stand mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer down to medium-low and add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the eggnog and rum/vanilla mixture. With each addition, beat just until the ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the batter with a rubber spatula, as needed, to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, carefully fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
- To make the buttercream: Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has completely dissolved. The temperature on an instant-read thermometer should read160 F.
- Attach the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low speed, and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy, and has come down to room temperature. (Test by touching the bottom of the bowl. It should not still feel warm.) This should take about 10 -12 minutes, but can take as long as 15.
- Switch over to the flat beater of your stand mixer and decrease the speed to medium-low. Add the butter cubes, a few cubes at a time, mixing continuously until you have added all of the butter and the buttercream is very silky and smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the vanilla and rum and mix until combined. If the buttercream curdles, keep beating and it should come back. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day. If not using it on the same day, store the buttercream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature and re-whip it for about 5 minutes, until it is satiny smooth again.
- Pipe or slather some frosting onto each cupcake before serving. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
Makes 24 cupcakes.