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