Bourbon Pumpkin Cake

We bought a house! More importantly-we bought a beautiful kitchen! I no longer need to use the floor as vital counter space! I have an oven that lets you know when its preheated and a light turns on when you open it.  I have a dishwasher. I repeat. I have a dishwasher! Naturally, an occasion such as this merits a party. And naturally, a party needs a cake. A cake worthy of the celebration.

I kept the structure of the original recipe, but used apple sauce in place of some of the oil and toyed with the spices a little–and upped the amount of bourbon in the cream cheese glaze. (Of course.) Every type of cake I have made with whiskey turns out incredibly moist-this one even more so because of the applesauce. You could totally cut down on the amount of glaze (as you can see, it made a decent amount), but I see cake as merely a vehicle for frosting so I would never do such a thing.

It was definitely worthy of the celebration.

Bourbon Pumpkin Cake

Adapted from A communal table

3 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2teaspoon ginger

3/4 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup applesauce

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

5 eggs

1/3 cup bourbon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a cake pan. In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly incorporated and there are no remaining clumps. In a large bowl (I used a Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment) combine the sugars, oil, applesauce, pumpkin. Once the wet ingredients are combined add the eggs one at a time. After, pour in bourbon. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Pour the batter in your cake pan and bake for 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Bourbon Cream Cheese Glaze

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bourbon

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese together with the bourbon. Slowly add the powdered sugar. You can start out with less bourbon if you’d like a mellower taste and add more once you have incorporated the sugar. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake.

Chocolate Coconut Rum Cupcakes with Coconut Rum Frosting

“And the zookeeper is very fond of rum!”

At the Zoo is one of our two year old’s favorite books, and the original inspiration for his Simon & Garfunkel themed birthday party (read: excuse for me to incorporate Simon & Garfunkel into all that I do!). I love how the book cleverly deals with the mention of an alcoholic beverage by picturing the rhinoceros zookeeper outside of the beaver’s cage. The beaver, of course, is wearing a shirt with his name on it: Rum. I just knew I had to involve rum in some aspect of the party! Enter in a chocolate coconut rum cupcake, made even more sinful with coconut rum frosting.

Don’t worry–I also made yellow cupcakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream and the birthday boy was none the wiser on what he was missing! And, you know, I’m responsible like that.

Chocolate Coconut Rum Cupcakes

See The Cupcake Project. I didn’t really adapt anything so I will not take any credit for the recipe! Though I am one of those people who has a problem with the texture of coconut inside my desserts, so I left out the shredded coconut.  I did not, however, leave out the chocolate chips. Do with that information what you will.

I made a different frosting, only for the reason that I was already using 5 blocks of cream cheese in other dishes for the party and I felt like we could all use a cream cheese break. And why would I make a rum cupcake and not top it with a rum frosting? That would truly be ridiculous.

Coconut Rum Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups (or more) powdered sugar

4 tablespoons coconut rum

Whip the butter in a mixer (or by hand if you’re crazy) until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar in small increments, thoroughly incorporating each addition before adding more. Feel free to use more than 3 cups if you need to, but it was the ideal amount for me. When it has reached your perfect consistency for frosting spreadability, mix in the rum. If the liquid has thinned out the frosting too much, you can add more powdered sugar to firm it up if needed.

Irish Cupcakes

Chocolate stout cupcakes with a chocolate whiskey ganache filling and Irish cream frosting.

My father once referred to Guinness as “heaven in a glass.” If that comparison is true, then these cupcakes are some celestial kingdom not yet known to mortal man.

I came across this recipe WAY too long ago on smitten kitchen. [WARNING: if you click over to smitten kitchen you may get lost there. For hours. I won’t blame you.] I think the discovery came from an internet search after an enthusiastic and exasperated discussion about how absolutely delicious Irish carbombs are, and how unfortunate it is that the amazing flavor combination can not be savored because you’re chugging it down before curdling commences. Such a fleeting tasty moment! I needed to recreate it somehow. This is a fantastic alternative, although much more time consuming-it’s well worth it!

I made the cupcakes at night, and then filled and frosted them in the morning. It felt pretty sinful sampling whiskey and Irish cream spiked confections at 8am, but it was the only time I had to finish the desserts! The cake is wonderful by itself-it is definitely a chocolate stout cake recipe that I will return to for possibilities other than these particular cupcakes. The Guinness flavor is there but perfectly subtle. I used light sour cream instead of full fat and it didn’t seem to affect the cake negatively, which turned out nice and moist. An apple corer was the perfect tool for making a well in the center for the ganache filling and it was so easy to fill them with a piping bag. (Except for when I squeezed and a burst of ganache came out of the top of the bag. Oops!) I didn’t measure my Jameson, but next time I know I will add more. Also, I only had semi-sweet chocolate while the filling calls for bittersweet.  I bet bittersweet would meld even better with the flavors of the whiskey and beer, but there is no such thing as too sweet for me, so it wasn’t a problem. I halved the recipe so I would only make 12 cupcakes (what was I thinking?!), but didn’t halve the frosting. Good decision. As a frosting novice (frosting-maker novice.  I am no novice to consuming my share of such deliciousness), I got worried because I kept having to stop my mixer to scrape the butter off. At some point I figured out that the mixer needed to be on a higher setting-the faster pace worked much better! Of course, I used the traditional Guinness, Jameson, and Bailey’s combo because we almost always have them on hand-but I’m sure other brands would work just as well!

Don’t make the same mistake as I did and sit on this recipe for a year. Make these immediately!

Ok. Now you can click over to smitten kitchen, because there really is no reason for me to repeat perfection. Now go and enjoy some Irish Cupcakes!