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Spiced Eggnog Cupcakes with Vanilla-Rum Swiss Buttercream

When most people think of Thanksgiving desserts, the first thing that usually comes to mind is pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie [1], pumpkin cake [2]pumpkin flan [3], pumpkin cheesecake [4] – 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 [5] from the Magnolia Bakery [5].  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 [6] 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 [7] at Sweetapolita. [8]  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.