Kentucky Derby Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

1 May


Wicked Strong – that’s the horse my money is on for the Kentucky Derby this weekend. As a displaced, misplaced Massachusetts girl, I believe “wicked” is the perfect modifier for just about anything. So when my sister Laura (of the ultimate chocolate cake fame) brought to my attention that Wicked Strong was one of the horses competing in the Run for the Roses this Saturday, well let’s just say, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge horse racing fan, and generally, I can think of about 99,999 other things I rather spend my money on than betting on the ponies.  But there’s something about the Triple Crown races – The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes – that entices me to crack open the wallet and place a wager or two. I love the pomp, the traditions, the hats. Last year, Lady Luck was definitely on my side and I was able to walk away with a tidy little sum.


As everyone knows, the mint julep, a concoction of good Kentucky bourbon and mint, is the classic drink of the Kentucky Derby. But while searching for a good mint julep cupcake recipe, I came across a  recipe for Kentucky Derby Pie Cupcakes by Brown Eyed Baker, probably my most favorite blogger.  They looked so fabulous, I had to give them a try. And I’m so glad I did – light and moist, and chock full of little chocolate chips and walnuts, with just the right amount of bourbon essence coming through.


If you’ve got a Derby party in your future, the odds are in your favor if you bring these little wonders – they’ll go all the way – win, place and show!


Recipe first posted here by Brown Eyed Baker

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 tablespoons bourbon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake tins with paper liners – I got about 16 cupcakes with this recipe.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk in the salt , walnuts and mini chips. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and bourbon. Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and two sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each until fully incorporated and scraping down the bowl between additions.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined and stop mixing after the last flour addition when there is still a little flour left in the batter. Finish mixing by hand using a rubber spatula.

Fill the cupcake tins about 3/4 full. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 – 20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely.


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon bourbon

Using the wire whisk attachment, whip butter on medium high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl once or twice. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once combined, add the vanilla and bourbon, mixing until incorporated. Whip at high speed until light and fluffy, 2 – 5 minutes. Frost as desired.  Sprinkle each with additional chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.


2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon bourbon

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved.Stir and allow to sit for 15 minutes until it thickens slightly. Drizzle over frosted cupcakes.







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