Blackberry Bourbon Cupcakes

Blackberry Bourbon Cupcakes

Blackberry Cupcake, Vanilla Bean Frosting and a Splash of Bourbon!


First thing first… Technically, I sorta already lied to you in the title. I feel terrible about it, of course. But, Blackberry Whiskey Cupcakes doesn’t have the same glorious ring to it that Blackberry Bourbon Cupcakes does! I apologize to my fellow Nashvillian, Tennessee whiskey fanatics. BUT, these will taste just as delicious with bourbon or whiskey!  Promise. So… Now that that is out of the way– Cupcakes. Cupcakes, cupcakes!



Blackberry Bourbon Cupcakes


Having been a Kentucky raised, now Tennessee resident, I am all too familiar with the entire subculture that is whiskey/bourbon. I recently visited the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, TN. The grounds are just beautiful (definitely add to your road trip bucket list!), and only a little over an hour away from my home in Nashville. After picking up some blackberries, I had originally planned on making some simple blackberry muffins.



After deciding that I obviously didn’t have enough sugar in my weekend, this warped into blackberry cupcakes… After which turned into blackberry bourbon cupcakes, remembering that I had a lovely bottle of Jack Daniel’s Silver Select Tennessee Whiskey on my shelf that we had picked up on the way back from our last vacation. Ahhh… Vacation. Warm, sunny vacation. Perhaps adding some of this whiskey would give back a glimmer of summer heat into this miserable, freezing winter weather. Worth a try, right?!



I started with a basic cupcake base: cake flour (check out the recipe to make your own!), sugar, butter, eggs, etc. I cooked some blackberries, sugar and lemon juice/zest down to use as an addition to the cupcake base, as well as for a sweet finishing glaze. I could have just eaten a bowl of the glaze and been perfectly content! The mixture of the sweetened berries with the tart lemon to balance is the perfect combination.


I decided that I didn’t want to do an insanely sweet cupcake for these. The blackberries had such a great, deep flavor, that I didn’t want to mask it all by adding a ton of overpowering sugar.



While the cupcakes were baking, I started on my frosting. Now… I am about to tell you to do something that may make you want to run away and never return to my blog again. For someone that hasn’t tried this method of making frosting, it will sounds completely off-base. That said, this is probably my favorite way to make a smooth, light and fluffy frosting for confections. The end result is so velvety smooth, not too sweet, with just the right about of fluff. The road to this magical goodness is a cooked flour-based frosting. Cooked. You didn’t read that incorrectly. You are going to put some flour and milk in a pan and make something that resembles a pile of that glue that you used to put on your fingers and peel off in elementary school. Ya… I know you did it.


This roux, a baker’s roux we’ll call it, will give the frosting the perfect texture for these cupcakes. Cook the roux to a paste or thick pudding viscosity, until you see the bottom of your saucepan after stirring. Be sure you let it cool completely like the recipe instructions state. Take out your cupcakes when they are finished backing (toothpick test!) and let them cool.



Now– Since everything is cooling off, you need to test the remainder of your frosting ingredients for quality assurance. Pour a small glass or three of the bourbon (or whiskey, in my case) that you have chosen and give it a go. I’d just hate to go to all of this trouble and end up ruining it all with an untested bourbon pour! When the roux has cooled completely (stir it a bit while cooling to speed this up), make the frosting per the recipe instructions.


I opted to use our Vanilla Sugar in place of regular granulated sugar in the frosting. I also recommend a good quality vanilla extract. If you bake often, I really recommend the Beater Blade instead of a typical whisk attachment. They scrape the bowl and incorporate more air all at once. Definitely one of my kitchen essentials. It was a perfect choice! Once everything is finished, assemble and decorate your cupcakes to your little bourbon infused heart’s desire!



Blackberry Bourbon Cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Serving Size: 1 cupcake

Blackberry Bourbon Cupcakes

Blackberry Bourbon Cupcakes |


    Cupcake Base
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (Easily make by replacing 1 tablespoon per cup of AP flour with cornstarch, sift together several times)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk (or buttermilk)
  • 6 eggs, whites only
  • 12 tablespoons butter, unsalted - room temp.
  • Blackberry Glaze/Puree
  • blackberries, 12 ounces
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sugar, adjust by personal taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • Vanilla Bean Bourbon Frosting (Frosts 24 cupcakes, lightly)
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar, fine/caster (granulated sugar in food processor until more fine)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (clear works best) (Use good brand. Like Rodelle)
  • 1 vanilla bean (alternatively add additional 1 teaspoon vanilla extract if omitting bean pulp)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey


  1. If you do not have cake flour, make it! For every 1 cup all-purpose flour, remove one tablespoon flour and replace with one tablespoon cornstarch. Sift together very well, several times.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. Combine dry ingredients: cake flour, salt, baking powder. Sift well and set aside.
  4. Place butter and sugar in mixer. Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until combined and smooth, fluffy.
  5. Mix egg whites and milk in bowl. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  6. Slowly mixing butter/sugar combination in mixer, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients that were sifted together.
  7. Slowly add milk/egg mixture in 2-3 batches. Ensure mixed well before adding more.
  8. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined. Scrape bowl sides and mix for a few more seconds.
  9. Fold in part of the blackberry glaze (below). I prefer to not mix this very well, leaving patches of puree in mix.
  10. Fill cupcake liners with mixture (halfway).
  11. Bake 15-20 minutes. Check for toothpick to come out clean.
  12. Remove and let cool completely.
  13. Blackberry Glaze / Puree
  14. Mix blackberries, sugar and lemon juice and zest in small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until berries start to burst. Remove from heat and cool.
  15. Push mixture through strainer/sieve with spatula to remove seeds.
  16. Vanilla Bean Frosting
  17. Combine flour and milk in saucepan over medium heat.
  18. Stir constantly until reduced and thick. Look for a paste-like consistency. Stop when you can see the bottom of the pan remain when stirring through mixture.
  19. Remove and cool (ok to refrigerate and stir to speed up).
  20. Cream butter and vanilla sugar 2-3 minutes until creamed and fluffy.
  21. Add flour mixture and mix at medium/medium-high speed until mixed thoroughly. _(Highly recommend the beater blade. It does an amazing job incorporating air and making fluffy frosting.)_
  22. Mix in vanilla extract and bourbon/whiskey.
  23. Pipe frosting on cupcakes, decorate with additional blackberry glaze and whole blackberry.
  24. Enjoy! Visit to tell us how you made them your own!


Blackberry Bourbon Cupcakes |


Did you make these and just have to tell the world how amazing they were? Leave a note below!



  • Chi

    I’m going to make these this weekend, and use bourbon to make you proud.

    Also, you better continue to post, because this blog is grrrreat!

    • Phillip @

      Attagirl! Thanks so much!


  • Julie Delander

    Butter is missing from cupcake ingredient list. Can you tell me how much? Really looking forward to making these! :)

    • Phillip @

      Woops! Thanks for the note. The recipe is now updated. Be sure to come back and let me know how they were!


  • Katerpillar

    I think these would be great with a blackberry whiskey… the Leopold Bros. do a nice one!

    • Phillip @

      Yum!! I’ll have to check that out.

  • Nicole Richard

    Would this work as a two tiered layered cake? If so, how long would you suggest to bake it? Thank you for your help!

    • Phillip @

      That sounds like a great idea! If you used an 8″ round pan, you will need about 2-3 cups batter for each typically. Maybe have to make an extra batch or half.

      I would be sure to grease and lightly flour the pans to be sure it pops right out.

      I would shoot for 350 F for 35-40 minutes and do a toothpick test. Cool and then throw the buttercream between and stack and ice. Glaze on top. Sounds delicious!

      Definitely IG/FB/Tweet us a picture after!


  • Doreen Pendgracs

    Thx for this recipe! I love using Jack in BBQ sauces (a trick I learned from TGIF), but never thought of adding it to baking! Will definitely give these a try!

    • Phillip @

      So glad you liked it! Bourbon/whiskey BBQ sauce is greaaaaat. We have a few boozy baking posts so far– And certainly more to come.

      Let me know how they turn out when you try these!


    • Phillip @

      (Also… Recipes are back up. Had a bit of a glitch!)

  • Maggie

    Have you ever had Bird Dog blackberry whiskey? I bet that would go great in this frosting.

    • Phillip @

      I haven’t tried it myself, but have had a few people mention blackberry whiskey options. I’m sure it would be delicious!

  • Dayinara Tezra

    Can we make these with the egg yolks or does it have to be without?

    • Phillip @

      You can make them with as well. Making them without yolks is general a 2:1 mix ratio, so I would say try with 3 whole eggs instead of the 6 whites. You may get a different texture, but the yolks may add some good flavor and smoothness.

      Let me know how it goes!

  • Jen

    I’m going to make these tomorrow, hopefully using blackberry bourbon if I can find it. Also, going to make them as mini cupcakes… I’ll let you know how it goes! Thanks for sharing.

    • Phillip @

      Lots of people have mentioned trying blackberry whiskey. Looking forward to hearing how it turns out!

      • Jen

        1st batch is in the oven! Just curious, why not use confectioners sugar (10x) in the frosting?

        • Phillip @

          I’ve tried both with this, but find that if you made the cooked frosting roux well enough, the granulated sugar should dissolve well and give a better balanced taste. Either would certainly work, but I think the granulated sugar gives a deeper sweetness instead of the commerical-like bite of confectioner’s sugar.

  • NouveauDish

    2 cups of sugar? Really? these were waaaaay too sweet.

    • Phillip @

      Uh oh! I have a sweet tooth, I guess. Sorry you didn’t like it as posted. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the taste of it if you cut it a bit to your own taste.

  • Kalisa

    I made these last night and they were great! I reduced the sugar to 1 1/2 cup as some of the comments mentioned it was too sweet, and that worked out well. I think I was shy on adding the blackberry puree to the batter as I didn’t reduce it much. Next time I will reduce it down to a thick syrup and really marble it into the batter.

    The cupcakes were really good and the icing was phenomenal! I am keeping it as my go-to cake decorating icing as it is so stable. The roux trick is fascinating to me, where did you pick this recipe up?

    • Phillip @

      So glad you enjoyed ’em! I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so some finding them too sweet makes sense. Roux icing is something I have used for years, so I just adapted it for this recipe. As a whole, the entire idea was just the result of some kitchen experiments combined with the bourbon belt here in the south.

  • sirpatissier

    Really great flavour! I need to try again the frosting, it didn’t turned out well, I had to give it a help adding swiss meringue buttercream and everything was gorgeous. I really loved the puree, fantastic. Thanks for sharing this recipee.

    • Phillip @

      Thanks for sharing! — Shame about the frosting. Not sure why that would happen. Was one of my favorite parts of the recipe. — Glad you enjoyed!