Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bonnaroo Cupcakes (aka Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Malted Whiskey Frosting)

I've had really poor "cupcake mojo" lately.  As in really, really poor mojo.  To give you a synopsis, these cupcakes were the result of 3 weekends of baking attempts.  I even made two batches of cupcakes last weekend, but nothing was working.  My cupcakes ended up either overflowing from the liners or deflating in the oven.  Then there was that one time I accidentally added an extra cup of sugar to the batter, but we won't talk about that.  Finally, after weeks of sucking at making cupcakes, I managed to pull out a dozen successful baked goods.

I'm not getting carried away just yet, though.  I was actually trying to make 2 dozen cupcakes and only 12 made it out of the oven unscathed.  It's a start.  

Side note #1: I just read an article about how the summer humidity makes baking absolutely unpredictable.  This is my excuse.  Seriously.

Now we can get to the good stuff: my Bonnaroo cupcakes. They are fabulous.  And they were inspired by a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor.  Bonus.

A few weeks ago, I was on my way home from my dance studio and I realized that I was hungry.  Of course I figured a pint of ice cream would be the perfect solution to this problem so I stopped at a local convenience store to check out the options.  And what did they happen to have?  Ben & Jerry's Bonnaroo ice cream.

Bonnaroo.  What is it?  In a nutshell, it's an annual music festival held in Manchester, Tennessee.  Somehow Ben and Jerry have figured out how to capture the essence of the festival and everything Tennessee stands for in an ice cream flavor: "Coffee and Malt Ice Cream with Whiskey Caramel Swirl & English Toffee Pieces."  This already sounds like a cupcake flavor, right?  So I just made sure it became one...

Side note #2: I'm sure Tennessee stands for a lot more than coffee, whiskey and malt flavors, but just go with it for now.


Bonnaroo Cupcakes (aka Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Malted Whiskey Frosting)
adapted from Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake recipe
makes ~24 cupcakes
Print Recipe

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 rounded tablespoons espresso powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
1) Heat oven to 350°F. Place cupcakes liners in cupcakes tins.

2) Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in mixing bowl.

3) In another bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4) With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in several increments. Mix ingredients together for another 2 minutes to blend completely.

5) Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water.

6) Stir the boiling water into the batter. The batter will be thin.


7) Pour batter into cupcake liners. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter.

8) Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Malted Whiskey Frosting
  • 6 tablespoons whiskey (such as Jameson)
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon malted milk powder
  • 4 - 5 cups confections sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ~24 miniature Heath bars (or ~6 regular-sized Heath bars)

1) Whisk the espresso and malted milk powders into the whiskey. The powder will dissolve a bit, but not entirely. That is fine. Set this mixture aside.

2) Whip the butter using an electric or hand mixer for several minutes. You want the butter to look almost white and be very light and fluffy.
3) Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

4) When the frosting is thick, drizzle in the whiskey mixture. Whip until combined. If the frosting is too thin at this point, add another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.  If the frosting is still too thick, add more whiskey!

5) Pipe or spread on the cupcakes.

6)  Sprinkle Heath bar pieces on top of the frosting.


I had excellent intentions of also adding a drizzle of caramel on top of the cupcakes, but in all honesty I totally forgot.  But you should get your caramel on.  Totally do it.

I held back on the whiskey because I was taking these cupcakes to work, but if I was making them for friends I would have added another tablespoon or two.  I don't normally consume whiskey, but I've discovered that I love it in my desserts because it turns into a sweet, oak-y flavor when mixed into the frosting.  Add that to the espresso and malt flavors, along with the chocolate cake and the crunchy toffee and you have a pretty bangin' cupcake there.

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