Thursday, December 2, 2010

'Tis the Season!: Eggnog Cupcakes with Amaretto Cream Cheese Frosting

Last Christmas I made these cupcakes for a family party and they were a HUGE success.  Thank goodness I made two-dozen because my cousin's boyfriend ate six to himself! The eggnog cupcake was derived from Paula Dean's coconut cake recipe.  That recipe calls for self-rise flour.  I didn't have any on hand last night, so I made my own.

Now what's eggnog without a bit of "nog"?  I substituted the usual addition of milk with amaretto to the cream cheese frosting.  Since I have a three year old I didn't want to add too much, but feel free to add more to your liking.  I also used vanilla bean paste in the cupcake batter.  I love to see the flecks of vanilla bean when I bite into the cupcake.  There is also a little "pop" when I happen to bite into a little bean.  I purchased my vanilla bean paste at Sur La Table. At the end I dusted the frosting with a dash of nutmeg.

In the recipe below I also included measurements for the use of light eggnog and included easy instructions on how to create your own self-rise flour.

Lastly, be sure your ingredients are all at room temperature (~°60) before mixing.

Eggnog Cupcakes
 3 cups (15 oz) self-rise flour, sifted
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups (10 oz) of granulated sugar
2 sticks (8 oz) of unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 1/2 cups of eggnog (use 1 cup for light eggnog)
1/4 cup water (omit water if using light eggnog)
3 large eggs (4 eggs for light eggnog)

-Preheat oven to °335 degrees and line cupcake tin with papers.
-Sift dry ingredients together and set aside
-Soften butter on low/med speed until creamy.
-Add sugar in three stages.  On low speed add first portion of sugar and then increase to med/high speed.  Scrape bowl at the middle and end.  The butter/sugar mixture should feel light against your rubber spatula and the color should be a lighter.
-Add eggs one at a time, just like the sugar. Mix thoroughly before adding the next egg.  Scrape down the bowl to make sure it is a homogeneous batter.
-Add vanilla and mix.
-Add the dry and wet to butter-sugar mixture in three parts, ending with flour.  Be sure not to over mix.  Tip: The mixture does not have to be blended completely before adding the next increment.  You can leave streaks of flour and eggnog. Scrape bowl in the middle of mixing and at the end.
-Finally mix everything for 30 seconds on medium high.
-Fill liners to 3/4 full or use a #16 ice cream scooper.  If you¹re using the ice cream scooper, be sure to scrape the top off and then fill the liners.
-Place tins in oven.  Cooking time: 18 to 20 minutes.  Test cupcakes with a toothpick or metal skewer.  It should come out with very little crumbs or clean.
-Immediately remove cupcakes from tin and cool on wire rack.
Makes about 20 cupcakes.

Amaretto Cream Cheese Frosting
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 bricks of cream cheese, cut into cubes and allowed to be at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
3 tbsp amaretto

-Cream butter on med/high speed
-Add the cream cheese to the butter slowly, scrapping the bowl every so often.  Allow each addition to blend before adding the next to prevent lumps.
-Add the powdered sugar of increments of 1/4 cup into the butter by sifting it into the bowl or sift it ahead of time.  Tip: Don¹t add all the powdered sugar at once or start the mixture on a high speed.  You¹ll end up with sugar all over you and your kitchen (speaking from experience...).
-Add the vanilla to the amaretto and slowly add them to the mixture, again in increments. 
Frost on cooled cupcakes.

Frosting can be refrigerated for one week. Your left over cupcakes should be placed in the fridge, but do allow the cupcakes to come to room temperature before service.

How to make your own self-rise flour
1 cup all purpose flour = 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the cupcake recipe above, measure all the flour into a bowl.  With a
teaspoon, remove 4 1/2 tsp of flour and put back into your flour container.
Measure 4 1/2 tsp of baking powder into a separate bowl and then add to the
flour.  Now sift the flour/baking powder together fives times.  This helps
to disperse the baking powder.  Now it's ready to use.

Happy Baking!


  1. Lori, how do you get the frosting in one perfect dollop like that?

  2. Ah yes, forgot to mention that I used a Ateco bag fitted with Wilton Tip #806. I held the bag at a 90 degrees, piped, and then pulled up when I released pressure. Thanks for catching that:-)