I was so happy when my husband offered to put up our Christmas tree this year. With all the baking and book-writing going on, I simply didn’t have the time or inspiration to spare. He’s a pretty creative guy (in a software developer kind of way), so I was excited to see what kind of tree-decorating magic he could work.
When he called me over to see his design, I was amazed at how beautifully woodsy and natural the tree looked. As I studied the tree in greater detail, I noticed some things were missing. Then I noticed a box set aside, and therein was every sparkly ornament I’d ever bought.
“What about these?” I picked two sequined birds from the box.
“Nope.” he said.
“They’re woodsy!” I argued, which garnered an eye roll.
I held up a glittered pear. He shook his head.
The good news is, I didn’t even feel like sulking about the lack of sparkle because the tree was undeniably beautiful – and I didn’t have to lift a finger! Anyway, I’ve more than made up for the lack of holiday glitz with these sparkly,spiked eggnog cupcakes.
The cakes have a shot of rum in the batter, and if you have concerns about serving them to children, feel free to omit it. But like most boozy cakes, the alcohol bakes out only leaving behind nuances of flavor. The buttercream frosting is made from an eggnog ganache (white chocolate + eggnog = eggnog ganache!) and it gets whipped with butter and confectioners’ sugar for a creamy, decadent cupcake covering. Grate a little fresh nutmeg over each mound of frosting and you’ve got Christmas in a cupcake!
If you’re wondering about the sparkling deer, I gave these guys a makeover with silver acrylic paint. While the paint was still wet I dipped them in regular ol’ glitter from the craft drawer. The pink metallic cupcake liners are available here.
Spiked Eggnog Ganache Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Source: cake recipe adapted from Intoxicated Cupcakes with Sprinkle Bakes original frosting
Prep: 55 minutes; total time about 3 hours
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons dark rum
3/4 cup commercially prepared eggnog
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz. quality white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup commercially prepared eggnog
1/2 cup/ 113g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on medium-high speed and beat until creamy. Add the egg, and once beaten smooth, add the rum and eggnog.
- Turn off the mixer and add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together on low speed until well combined. Place batter in the paper liners by the level 1/4 cup. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the frosting, combine the chocolate and eggnog in a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat until mixture can be stirred smooth. Transfer ganache to a bowl and let cool completely in the refrigerator, about 1-2 hours. When ganache is cool (it won’t set completely like normal ganache, rather, it will be a bit soft and runny) place it in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add softened butter and beat briefly at high speed. Add confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time. Beat on high speed again until fluffy and mixture is lightened in color.
- Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Grate fresh nutmeg over each cupcake; serve. Store in an air-tight cupcake caddy or covered in plastic wrap.
- My cake batter was very thick. I think this was due to the brand of prepared eggnog I used. I added 2 tablespoons of milk to loosen the batter and it baked up perfectly.
- If the frosting is too loose to pipe and hold its shape, place it in the refrigerator for a little while to firm; re-whip with a hand mixer and then transfer to a piping bag.