Tender chocolate cupcakes spiced with cinnamon and cloves topped with rich buttercream flavored with eggnog. A perfect treat for the holiday season.
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.
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.
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.
baking tip: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 desserts and it actually enhances the chocolate flavor, without really adding any coffee flavor. 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 plain black coffee.
Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream
For the spiced chocolate cupcakes:
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons hot coffee (145 ml)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (55 grams)
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (155 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup sugar (200 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream (140 grams)
- ½ cup vegetable oil (115 ml)
For the eggnog buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (226 grams)
- 4 cups powdered sugar , sifted (450 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Splash of bourbon , optional
- 2-4 tablespoons eggnog
To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or grease and flour.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder until smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.