Whiskey Caramel Cupcakes

Is the main person in your life a whiskey lover? Well if so, my caramel whiskey cupcakes will melt their heart? These cupcakes are so light and moist, and are topped with the most delicious caramel whiskey buttercream ever. Seriously, you’ll be eating this buttercream straight out of the bowl it’s just so damn good.

What makes these Whiskey Caramel Cupcakes the best EVER?

  1. The caramel whiskey buttercream. No joke this buttercream is totally delicious.
  2. Simple recipe using everyday items you’ll likely already have in your pantry.
  3. Moist and light cupcakes. These chocolate cupcakes are a winner every time.

Simple steps to make these Caramel Whiskey Cupcakes

There’s 3 main parts that make up these cupcakes. The caramel whiskey, the chocolate cupcakes and the buttercream.

How to make Whiskey Caramel

Caramel sauce is made by heating sugar in saucepan and adding butter, cream and salt. Once the caramel sauce is ready stir through 2 tablespoons of whiskey.

How to make Chocolate Cupcakes

To make these cupcakes, simply:

  1. Sift the dry ingredients and sugar together in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl use an electric mixer to combine wet ingredients.
  3. Then add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and mix it all together until everything is evenly incorporated.
  4. Bake.

Top tip: all ovens are different. To guarantee your cupcakes come out just as perfect as mine always using baking temperatures and timings as a guide only. For best results:

  1. Rotate the muffin tins after 8 minutes of cooking.
  2. After a further 7 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the oven and test if they are cooked by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. The cupcakes are cooked if the toothpick appears clean when it is removed from the cupcake. Adjust the baking time accordingly based on how cooked the cupcakes appear at this point.

How to make Whiskey Caramel Buttercream

Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the buttercream as per directions below. Today I’m making no-cook meringue buttercream using pasteurized eggs. At the end of the process, I stir through a few tablespoons of whiskey caramel. Note, if you prefer a different type of buttercream, see my suggestions for substitutions below.

Top Tip: When making this no-cook meringue buttercream, don’t skip whipping the eggs and icing sugar into stiff peaks. This step ensures the buttercream has a marshmallow-like texture and flavor similar to swiss meringue buttercream.

Whiskey Cupcake

Optional step: How to make these heart decorations

I made these cupcakes for my whiskey loving husband last Valentine’s Day. I turned them into Valentine’s Day cupcakes by adding cute little chocolate hearts to each cupcake. To make these little chocolate hearts:

  1. Print off my free heart template (enter your email below to have the template sent straight to your inbox).
  2. Place the template on a baking tray and pop a layer of parchment paper over the top.
  3. Melt 100g candy melts as the per packet instructions.
  4. Transfer the melted candy melts to a zip lock bag (or a piping bag if you have one handy).
  5. Snip the corner of the bag off using scissors to make a makeshift piping bag.
  6. Use the template as a guide to pipe the candy melts onto the parchment paper in a heart shape.
  7. Place the baking tray in the fridge until the candy melts set completely

Top tip: when making chocolate decorations like these, always use candy melts – like Wilton candy melts. These candy melts have a higher melting temperature than real chocolate. So they will hold their shape longer at room temperature (a.k.a the hearts are less likely to melt while the cupcakes are sitting at room temperature, waiting to be served).
You want to figuratively melt hearts. Not literally!!

Subscribe to my email list to receive your free template so you can create your own darling chocolate heart cupcake toppers at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are these cupcakes alcoholic?

Short answer, not really. Whiskey has a strong flavor, and you can definitely taste the whiskey in the frosting and whisky caramel. However there is only a small amount of whiskey in the caramel sauce. And only a small amount of caramel sauce in each cupcake. Bottom line, you’d have to eat a lot of these whisky caramel cupcakes to get drunk.

Can I use different alcohol?

Absolutely! This recipe is delicious with any type whiskey, Irish whiskey, Scotch, Japanese Whiskey, or Bourbon. You could even get adventurous and try other alcohols instead (eg rum).

Can I substitute homemade caramel for store bought caramel?

Yes absolutely! To make whiskey caramel from store bought caramel (or any pre-made homemade caramel for that matter) just warm the caramel on the stove so that it thins out, and stir through the whiskey. Then allow the whiskey caramel too cool and use as per the rest of the recipe.

Make ahead recommendations?

These whisky caramel cupcakes can be baked ahead of time and frozen with or without frosting for up to 3 months. Just store in an airtight container in the freezer. When it’s time to thaw the cupcakes, transfer the whole container to either the fridge or the countertop. For best results don’t open the container until the cupcakes have defrosted.

Top tip: Removing the cupcakes from the container before they’ve defrosted will result in condensation forming on the cupcakes. This could make them soggy and potentially spoil any decorations (e.g. any sprinkles might bleed). You can minimize this risk by letting the cupcakes defrost in the same container that they were frozen in. By doing this the condensation will form on the container, not the cupcakes.

I can’t eat raw pasteurized egg. What substitutions do you recommend?

Ermine Frosting is a great alternative to meringue buttercream for people who cannot eat raw pasteurised eggs. To make whiskey caramel ermine frosting:

  1. Make whiskey caramel as per this recipe
  2. Make vanilla ermine frosting. Here’s a recipe for Ermine Frosting from Sugar Geek Show that I highly recommend. Ermine Frosting.
  3. Whip in Whiskey Caramel to taste. (Be careful not too add too much as it is easy to split ermine frosting).

For more information about different types of frostings check out my blog post: Battle of the Buttercreams, Which Buttercream Frosting is Best for Cakes,

Storage Suggestions

These whiskey cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I live in a warm climate, and always store my cupcakes in a airtight container in the fridge (or in the freezer if I want them to keep longer).

If your room temperature is below 25 degrees you can keep the cupcakes at room temperature prior to adding the frosting. However this buttercream should be kept in the fridge, regardless of where you live. So, once these cupcakes have been iced store them in the fridge. Remove them from the fridge 20 minutes before serving and allow them to come to temperature.

The whiskey caramel sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to one month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

If you love these Whiskey Caramel Cupcakes, you might like these other recipes:

Whiskey Cupcake Pin
Whiskey Cupcake Square

Whiskey Caramel Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes, topped with soul warming whiskey caramel buttercream. The perfect surprise for your partner this valentines day.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 hrs
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Servings 12 cupcakes

Equipment

  • electric mixer

Ingredients
  

Whiskey Caramel

  • 200 grams Caster Sugar (fine granulated sugar) (1 cup)
  • 90 grams Unsalted Butter (1/3 cup)
  • 120 ml Cream (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 110 ml Milk (just under 1/2 a cup)
  • 5 ml White Wine Vinegar (1 teaspoon)
  • 110 grams All Purpose Flour (1 cup)
  • 30 grams Cocoa Powder (1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 175 grams Caster Sugar (fine granulated sugar) (3/4 cups)
  • 60 ml Vegetable Oil (1/4 cup)
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 120 ml Hot Instant Coffee (1 teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 cup of boiling water) see notes

Buttercream

  • 60 grams pasturised egg whites
  • 250 grams icing sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 grams softenned unsalted butter cut into 3cm cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sprinkles
  • 50 grams milk chocolate (optional)

Instructions
 

Whiskey Caramel Sauce

  • Cut butter into small cubes and set aside.
  • Place sugar in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a spatula or whisk until the sugar melts and turns a light amber color.
  • Once sugar has completely melted and darkened, quickly add butter and whisk vigorously. The sugar will bubble furiously when the butter is added, so be very careful. Continue to whisk until the sugar and butter combine.
  • Continue to stir the butter/sugar mixture over medium heat for 1 minute.
  • While stirring, slowly pour in the cream. Once again the mixture will bubble, so be very careful.
  • Next stir in the whiskey.
  • Once the whiskey has been added allow the caramel to gently boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and add the salt.
  • Transfer to a heatproof container and allow it to cool completely. Cover and store in the fridge.

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Combine milk and white wine vinegar in a jug and set aside to thicken.
  • Next, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, sugar & salt into a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
  • In a second bowl, add oil, eggs, thickened milk & vanilla extract. Mix together using either a whisk, an electric handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together, then add the coffee.
  • Spoon the batter into your prepared cupcake liners and bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until cooked through (see notes).
  • Once baked, allow the cupcakes to cool in the muffin tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Optional step: Once cool use a knife to cut a hole in the center of each cupcake. Then carefully spoon some whiskey caramel into this hole.

Whiskey Caramel Chocolate Swirl Buttercream Frosting

  • Put egg whites and icing sugar in a bowl. Using either an electric handheld mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and sugar on high for about 5-6 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
  • Next add the butter, gradually piece by piece while the mixer is running. Allow each piece of butter to be incorporated before adding the next. See notes for troubleshooting this step.
  • Mix in the salt, vanilla extract and 3-4 tablespoons of whiskey caramel. Be careful when adding the caramel, if you add too much you risk destabilizing the buttercream and it may become difficult to pipe.
  • Optional step. To create the same two tone effect I have, divide the buttercream into 2 bowls and stir 50 grams of melted chocolate into one batch of buttercream.
  • Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with an "open star" piping tip.
    Optional step. To achieve the same bi-tonal look as this blog, fill one side of the bag with chocolate buttercream and the other side of the bag with the whiskey caramel.
  • Pipe buttercream onto cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles. See the information in my blog post on how to make these cute chocolate heart decorations.
  • Store cupcakes in the fridge.

Notes

Substitutions
  • Coffee:  For those conscious of caffeine intake, instant coffee can be substituted with decaf coffee or plain boiling water.
  • Meringue Buttercream: For those who cannot consume raw egg whites I recommend substituting the meringue buttercream for ermine buttercream.  Please see the blog for further information.
Troubleshooting
  • Baking times: all ovens are different. To guarantee your cupcakes come out just as perfect as mine, I always recommend using baking temperatures and timings as a guide only.  For best results rotate the muffin tins halfway through baking and test the cupcakes using a toothpick at the 15 minute mark.  To test how cooked the cupcakes are insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. The cupcakes are cooked if the skewer appears clean when it is removed from the cupcake. Adjust the baking time accordingly based on how cooked the cupcakes appear at this point.
  • Buttercream: If the buttercream consistency looks curdled after the butter has been added, it is because the butter was too cold when it was added to the buttercream. To fix it, remove about 1/3 cup of buttercream and put in the microwave for 10 seconds (until just melted).  Add back into the the remaining buttercream and use electric mixer until light and fluffy.  If the consistency is too soft, it is because the butter has become too warm. To fix it, put the entire bowl in the fridge for 20 mins to allow the buttercream to firm up, then re whip it with the electric mixer until light and fluffy.
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