These Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes offer a rich and moist cupcake with a hint of bourbon, topped with a silky caramel frosting. Each bite combines the deep flavors of chocolate with a subtle whiskey warmth, making it a fun twist on a classic dessert. We're using chocolate cake mix for these cookies to make it quick and easy.
Today we're making Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes! This recipe is a real crowd-pleaser, combining the rich taste of chocolate with a hint of bourbon for an extra kick.
These cupcakes taste like rich decadent chocolate cupcakes, with a hint of spices. There is no alcohol flavor, just the richness from the rum.
Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just want to treat yourself, these are the perfect chocolate cupcake.
If you like this recipe, you should try our Chocolate Whiskey Cake too. It's rich and delicious.
What You'll Love About This Recipe
- Rich Flavor: The deep, chocolatey base enhanced with a touch of bourbon offers a complex and satisfying taste.
- Silky Caramel Frosting: A homemade caramel frosting that's both creamy and decadent, adding a perfect sweet finish.
- Versatility: Ideal for a wide range of occasions, from casual gatherings to elegant celebrations.
- Easy Cake Mix Recipe: We used chocolate cake mix to cut down on time and mix this a super simple, yet very delicious recipe.
- Customizable: Easy to adapt with different toppings or bourbon brands to suit your taste.
Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake Mix: Look for a high-quality brand to ensure your cupcakes are moist and rich in flavor.
Bourbon: Select a bourbon that you enjoy drinking, the flavor will come through in the cupcakes.
Eggs: Ensure they are at room temperature for the best incorporation into the batter.
Brown Sugar & Salted Butter: These will be used to create the caramel frosting. Opt for fresh, quality butter and a rich brown sugar for the best flavor. You'll want softened butter, so make sure to leave it out at room temperature before you start baking.
Milk & Powdered Sugar: For the frosting, choose full-fat milk for creaminess and sift your powdered sugar to avoid lumps. Confectioner's sugar works well too.
Miniature Chocolate Chips: A garnish that adds texture and an extra chocolatey bite to each cupcake. We used semi sweet chocolate chips, but you could use dark chocolate chips instead.
Start with Prep: First things first, get your oven heating up to 350°F. This way, it'll be ready by the time your batter is mixed.
Then, take your muffin tin and line it with cupcake liners. These little paper or foil cups will make removing your cupcakes a breeze and also mean less cleaning up!
Mixing Time: Grab a large bowl and pour in your cake mix. Add the water, vegetable oil, bourbon, and crack the eggs into the mix. Now, using a whisk, mix everything together until it's smooth.
You're aiming for a batter that's free of lumps, which will give you nice, even cupcakes. Don't overmix, just combine everything well.
Filling the Liners: Carefully spoon or pour your batter into the cupcake liners you've prepared. You'll want to fill each one a little over two-thirds full.
This is the sweet spot that allows the cupcakes room to rise without spilling over the top. If you only have one muffin tin and need to bake in batches, pop the remaining batter in the fridge to keep it cool while the first batch bakes.
Bake Time: Slide your muffin tin into the oven and bake. Check the cake mix box for the exact time, usually around 16-19 minutes.
To make sure they're perfectly done, stick a toothpick into the center of a cupcake at the 16-minute mark. If it comes out clean, they're ready. If not, give them a couple more minutes.
Cool Down: Once baked, take the cupcakes out of the oven. Let them cool in the tin for a few minutes, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.
This stops the baking process and prevents soggy bottoms. Patience is key here, the frosting will melt if the cupcakes are too warm.
Frosting Time: For the caramel frosting, melt your butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar. Keep everything moving in the pan until the mixture boils, then lower the heat a bit but keep stirring for about 6-7 minutes.
The mixture should thicken slightly. Off the heat, stir in the milk and let this caramel cool down completely before the next step.
Finishing Touches: Once the caramel is cool, beat it with powdered sugar until you have a smooth frosting. If it's too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar, if too thick, a splash more milk.
This is your frosting, so you're aiming for a spreadable consistency that will stay put on your cupcakes.
Pro tip: If you're finding the frosting hard to pipe, remember that the consistency can be easily adjusted with a little more milk or powdered sugar.
Decorate: Fit a piping bag with a star tip and fill it with your frosting. Pipe the frosting onto each of the cooled cupcakes in a swirling motion. This is your moment to get creative!
Finally, sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the top for an extra chocolate hit and a bit of texture.
And that's it! You have delicious bourbon chocolate cupcakes with a light and fluffy caramel flavored buttercream frosting.
For the best chocolate cupcake flavor and texture, make sure your ingredients, especially eggs and milk, are at room temperature before you start baking. This ensures a smoother batter and better incorporation of ingredients.
- Whiskey or Rum: If you're not a fan of bourbon, you can easily substitute it with another dark spirit like whiskey or rum to still achieve a rich, complex flavor.
- Regular Chocolate Cake Mix: If Devil’s Food Cake Mix is not available, any chocolate cake mix will do, though the flavor might be slightly less intense.
- Coffee Infusion: Add a teaspoon of instant coffee to the batter to enhance the chocolate flavor in these chocolate cupcakes and add a subtle coffee note.
- Nutty Crunch: Mix in chopped pecans or walnuts to the batter for an added texture and nutty flavor.
- Chocolate Ganache Topping: Instead of caramel frosting, try topping your cupcakes with a rich chocolate ganache for double the chocolate delight.
Have leftover cupcakes, here's how to store them for max freshness.
Fridge: Store frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The cold will keep the frosting firm and the cupcakes moist.
Freezer: For longer storage, freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer bag.
Reheating: Thaw frozen cupcakes at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If you prefer warm cupcakes, you can microwave them for a few seconds, but do this before adding frosting.
Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 1 box of Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake Mix (15.25 oz.)
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 3 eggs
For the Frosting
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup salted butter at room temperature
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup miniature chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cake mix, water, oil, bourbon, and eggs until well combined.
- Pour the cupcake batter into the liners, filling a little over ⅔ full. If you don’t have two muffin tins, place the batter in the refrigerator and repeat for the remaining cupcakes after the first batch bakes.
- Bake according to the cake mix box directions, about 16-19 minutes.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Stir in sugar, and heat, stirring frequently over medium-high heat, until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Reduce heat slightly, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 6-7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in milk.
- Allow the caramel mixture to cool completely.
- Once cooled, beat the caramel mixture and powdered sugar together until your frosting forms. If the frosting is too thin to hold its shape, add powdered sugar 1-2 tbsp. at a time, until you reach your desired consistency, or, if it gets too thick, you can add a tbsp. of milk to thin it back out if needed. You want it to be stiff enough to hold its shape, but not too stiff as it will be harder to pipe onto the cakes, and it will harden more after the cupcakes are frosted.
- Prepare a piping bag with a 1M star tip, and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
- Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over top of the cupcakes.
- Enjoy, and refrigerate any leftovers.
Not all alcohol from the bourbon bakes off, leaving some residual content. This might be negligible for adults but can raise concerns for serving to children or those avoiding alcohol. To keep the flavor while making it suitable for everyone, try non-alcoholic vanilla extract or almond extract as a substitute. This approach ensures the dessert remains enjoyable for all, without the alcohol concerns. For a deeper understanding of alcohol's evaporation in cooking here's a good resource.
Yes, you can omit the bourbon for a non-alcoholic version. Substitute with an equal amount of water or milk to maintain the moisture of the cupcakes.
Do not overbake them. Check the cupcakes a few minutes before the suggested baking time ends with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, they're done.
Absolutely! While Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake Mix is recommended for its rich flavor, any chocolate cake mix will work well for this recipe.
A zip-top bag with a corner cut off can serve as an easy substitute for a piping bag. For a rustic look, you can also spread the frosting with a knife or spatula.
Yes, you can bake the cupcakes a day in advance. Store them unfrosted in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost them the day you plan to serve for the best taste and texture.
It's best to freeze the cupcakes unfrosted. The frosting may change texture once thawed. However, if you need to freeze them frosted, do so in a single layer until firm, then wrap individually for storage.