White Russian Cupcakes

This cupcake brings back such a nice memory of when BK and I were dating.  On one of our first nights out, we went to a hotel bar and he downed white russian after white russian after white russian.  It secretly cracked me up…he is such a guy’s guy, and there he was, downing a sweet creamy drink like it was the best thing he’d ever tasted! It made me smile then, and still.  Later on, he discovered that Pierogi Mom also loves white russians, and they have shared a many.

This cupcake is extremely light and delicious, both in texture and because of the simple whipped cream topping.  I happened to have some coffee flavored sugar a friend made for us and it added a nice crunch when sprinkled on top, but regular or sanding sugar would likely be nice as well.  Finally, you might be tempted to skip the brush of Kahlua on the tops after baking, but don’t…it adds a nice concentrated flavor burst.

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup whole milk
4 large eggs
¼ cup vodka
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons Kahlua, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
finishing, sanding, or regular sugar, and/or coffee bean for garnish, if desired.

Kahlua Whipped Cream:
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua

Directions:

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake cups with paper liners.  Set the pans aside.

Place the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, milk, eggs, vodka, ¼ cup Kahlua, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed.  Spoon or scoop ⅓ cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full.  (You will get between 22 and 26 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.)  Place the pans in the oven.  Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 17 to 20 min­utes.

Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.  Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the remaining 2 tablespoons Kahlua.  Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners.  Lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips.  Place them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.  Place a large, clean mixing bowl and electric mixer beaters in the freezer to chill for 1 minute.  Remove the bowl and beaters from the freezer.  Pour the cream into the bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the cream has thickened.  Stop the machine, and add the sugar and Kahlua.  Beat the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Frost cooled cupcakes with whipped cream.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Source: Cupcakes: from the Cake Mix Doctor.

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