Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream

There are many, many reasons why I love this time of year. But holiday baking may just be my favorite part. The cookies, the candy, the whole crazy carb overload— I love it all, both the baking and the eating. The only way I could love it any more would be if holiday calories didn’t count. Wouldn’t that be nice?

But I guess I’ll just have to settle to sharing with family and friends, donning my stretchy pants, and vowing to eat nothing but veggies come the new year. Totally worth it.

Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream

We bought our first carton of eggnog over the weekend and after enjoying some on ice with a little bourbon, the baking wheels in my head starting turning, wondering what new thing I could do with it. Then later I started craving a chocolate cupcake, and that’s how these spiced chocolate cupcakes with eggnog buttercream were born.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream

To make them stand apart from other chocolate cupcakes I’ve baked before, and to make them more fitting for the season, I added some cinnamon and cloves. I love what that little bit of spice did to the cupcakes, how they mingled with the chocolate and go so well with the eggnog buttercream, which is one of my new favorite things. It tastes just like eggnog without being too overpowering. If you’re only a mild eggnog fan, you’ll still love these cupcakes.

Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream

Baking with coffee

I often have readers ask what they can substitute for coffee in my chocolate cake recipes, and I have a hard time answering that question. Coffee is a wonderful addition to chocolate cakes and actually makes them taste more chocolaty (not like coffee), and there really isn’t a good substitute. Substituting with water will take away that boost and using another flavored liquid could alter the flavor entirely.

My advice? Stick with the coffee and don’t be afraid to try recipes that include it. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, simply visit your local coffee shop and ask for a cup of black (plain) coffee.

Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream

Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream
Tender chocolate cupcakes spiced with cinnamon and cloves topped with rich buttercream flavored with eggnog. A perfect treat for the holiday season.
Yield: 18 cupcakes
For the spiced chocolate cupcakes:
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (145 ml) hot coffee
  • ½ cup (55 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1¼ cup (155 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (140 grams) sour cream
  • ½ cup (115 ml) vegetable oil
For the eggnog buttercream:
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups (450 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Splash bourbon (optional)
  • 2-4 tablespoons eggnog
To make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or grease and flour.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder until smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg, egg yolk, and sugar on medium high speed until pale yellow in color. Add the sour cream and mix until combined, followed by the vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix until combined. Add the cocoa mixture and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full with the batter and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 12-15 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the buttercream:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, salt, nutmeg, vanilla, and bourbon (if using). Add the eggnog a tablespoon at a time while mixing on medium high speed until desired consistency is reached. Increase speed to high and beat for a few minutes until smooth.
  2. Frost cupcakes with the buttercream. The cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container and will keep at room temperature for several days and about a week in the fridge.

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26 Responses to Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream

  1. I love the look of that buttercream!

  2. Chelsea says:

    Oh this looks wonderful! My brother is an eggnog addict and he is a sucker for chocolate…think I am going to have to make them for him! yum yum

  3. Chelsea says:

    Question…how did you learn about food photography? Just self-taught or did you take a course with someone?

  4. Maria says:

    Thanks for sharing your cupcakes:)

  5. Lynna says:

    These look delicious!! 😀

  6. Mary says:

    These look AMAZING! One question I do have, is what brand of coffee did you use? I am not a huge coffee drinker, and therefore rarely ever make any at home. Also I’ve never baked with coffee so it’s a new experience! 🙂 Thanks for this delicious recipe, I can’t wait to bake them!

    • Annalise says:

      I’ve used everything from expensive fresh roasted beans I’ve ground myself, to run of the mill grocery store grounds. Use what you have!

  7. I love using coffee in my chocolate cakes! It’s essential even when it requires extra work. I’m not a coffee drinker, but we always have grounds in the freezer.

    The contrast of dark chocolate cupcakes and white frosting is my all-time favorite! Your shots are absolutely gorgeous.

  8. Seriously, you come up with the best treats, Annalise! And you’re right…there’s simply no substitute for coffee in chocolate desserts.

  9. Oh. My goodness. These are perfection.

    I agree with you on the coffee, but I’ve never used actual coffee, and now I’m feeling silly that I haven’t! I always use instant espresso powder. The to-do list has been updated!

  10. Meghan says:

    Your pictures are so beautiful! Just thought I would let you know.

  11. Peggy says:

    I’d say these cupcakes are well worth every calorie!

  12. Carlos says:

    Ok so I never post reviews or comments and often am quite disappointed by blogger recipes. HOWEVER, this is the most amazing recipe/cupcakes I’ve ever had ( and I’ve had a lot) thank you for sharing your talents and skills, it was definitely my pleasure !

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Carlos, I’m so glad you liked them! I planned to share these after baking them, but I ended up eating most of them myself because they were so good. Oops!

  13. Great cupcakes for upcoming holidays. I’ve featured this recipe on my blog, hoping that you don’t mind, but if you do, please contact me and I’ll remove it. All the best.

  14. Jackie says:

    Hi Annalise

    Can I use canned eggnog in this recipe. Also, what tip did you use to frost those cupcakes and how did you do it.

  15. Jackie says:

    Hi Annalise

    I can’t get eggnog this time of year, I want to make these for my 5 year old niece birthday party, but I have eggnog flavoring how much could I use in the buttercream frosting.

  16. Andrea says:

    I made this buttercream for some eggnog sugar cookies. It was incredible!! Thank you 🙂

  17. Vanessa says:

    These look amazing! But if I don’t have sour cream, is there something I can substitute it with?

  18. Victoria says:

    I found the recipe from tumblr as a photo-set, first that came to mind: mother of god.

    I gathered ingredients to make it and gave it a try. In my first try when I made it, it came out amazingly. I really REALLY love the cupcake batter and the icing, after making the icing, I made my sister who doesn’t really love eggnog love it now. It’s to die for and thank you thaaaank you so much sharing this recipe.

  19. Rachel says:

    I made the cake part of this recipe for my colleagues at work and they went down a treat! So moist but still light, such a great recipe. 🙂 Although I didn’t have any sour cream, so I substituted milk and lemon juice….and I ran out of cinnamon, so I used some ginger too. But they were still very popular! Thanks for sharing this!
    I so have to make them again to try the buttercream (I just did vanilla on mine because of the decoration I was adding).

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