Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Caramel

Super tender eggnog cupcakes frosted with creamy eggnog infused ermine buttercream, topped with a spiced rum salted caramel sauce and freshly grated nutmeg.

The holidays are here and with it, is holiday drink-inspired cupcakes. That’s right, I put eggnog in the base of these cupcakes and in the buttercream. They’re topped with a spiced rum (or brandy if you like!) salted caramel sauce and are totally irresistible. 

Why you’ll love these eggnog cupcakes

  • They’re fairly simple to make and taste just like eggnog! 
  • The recipe is forgiving – works well with dairy free butter, dairy free eggnog and gluten-free flour.   
  • They’re topped with liquid gold, aka spiced rum caramel sauce. 

If you’re feeling the holiday cheer, make sure to check out my chocolate peppermint cake, gingerbread loaf cake, cinnamon sugar cookies, christmas rice krispie treats and christmas macarons

If you’re just here for cupcakes, some of my favorites are my classic vanilla cupcakes, vanilla latte cupcakes, nutella cupcakes and cinnamon cupcakes.

Ingredients 

  • Butter: I prefer salted butter here but you can also use unsalted butter. Make sure it’s softened to room temperature so it creams well with the dry ingredients. 
  • Flour: I use all purpose flour in most of my recipes BUT you cannot beat the texture of cake flour in cupcakes so I highly recommend King Arthur’s Cake Flour. It is far superior to some alternatives in the grocery stores.
    • I have used the “homemade cake flour” trick by replacing 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour with cornstarch. The cupcakes will work if you make them this way but they won’t be quite as soft and tender. 
    • I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured. 
  • Baking Powder: to leaven the cupcakes. 
  • Sugar: I used granulated sugar in the cupcake and ermine buttercream. I already reduced it from my original cupcakes (to make up for the extra sugar in the eggnog) but  I don’t recommend cutting any more out. 
  • Oil: I always use a combination of butter and oil in my cakes because I like the texture from both. I recommend a neutral oil like vegetable oil, canola oil or sunflower oil here. 
  • Eggs: use a large egg and make sure it’s at room temperature. Pop it in hot water for 5-10 minutes if you’re in a pinch.
  • Sour Cream: I’ve used greek yogurt and sour cream in this recipe and they both work well. You can also use plain yogurt, make sure it’s unsweetened.
  • Eggnog: I used Private selections spiced eggnog with notes of whiskey. I’ve also tested it with a plain Kroger brand eggnog and it worked out the same. 
  • Spices: nutmeg is traditional with eggnog but I couldn’t hold back the cinnamon either. I used ½ tsp of ground cinnamon and nutmeg in the cupcakes and the spice is subtle, allowing the eggnog to still shine. You can double the spices if you want a more spiced cupcake. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Start by making the caramel so it has time to cool. Cook the sugar and water until it turns a dark amber color. Then add the butter and heavy cream and stir until it’s smooth. Add the salt and rum and mix until it’s combined. 

Step 2: Start the buttercream by cooking the sugar, flour, salt and eggnog until it’s thickened like custard. Cover it and set it aside to cool.

Step 3: Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices – until they’re evenly distributed.

Step 4: Add the room temperature butter and the oil and use an electric mixer to beat them at medium speed, until they’re crumbly like a streusel. 

Step 5: Add the egg and sour cream and mix just until they’re well combined and the batter is smooth.

Step 6: Stream in the eggnog with the mixer on low speed, mixing just until the batter is smooth. Scrape the edge of the bowl and give it a good mix.

Step 7: Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔-¾ full. I recommend weighing them so each cupcake has 50-55 grams of batter.  

Step 8: Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tallest part of the cupcake, in the center, springs back when you press on it. If you’re hesitant, give it another minute or so. Let the cupcakes rest for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove them from the pan. 

Step 9: Finish making the buttercream by whipping the butter until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the cooled custard in 3-4 increments and mix until it’s smooth.

Step 11: Pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcakes, leaving hole in the center for the caramel.

Step 12: Fill the hole in the center of the buttercream with the caramel sauce and top with a pinch of grated nutmeg. 

Why do I use the reverse creaming method?

The reverse creaming method is where you combine all the dry ingredients including the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, etc. with the butter and oil first. In this step the butter and oil are coating the flour particles. When the flour is coated with fat first, it inhibits the development of gluten, making the cupcakes extra tender (over developing the gluten is what can make cakes tough). 

This also provides a ‘tight’ crumb which means you should have large air pockets in the crumb of the cake. The lack of the large air pockets helps the cupcakes rise more evenly so that they’re not lopsided and don’t deflate when you remove them from the oven. 

Expert tips on getting perfect eggnog cupcakes

There’s a few things that can make it or break it with these cupcakes. 

  • Don’t swap ingredients unless I mentioned them in the ingredient section above.
  • Don’t reduce the sugar. I know a lot of people do that for some recipes but not this one.
  • Weigh your ingredients with a digital scale.
  • Weigh the batter for each cupcake with a digital scale. I just place the cupcake pan on the scale with the liners and measure out 50-55 grams for each cupcake. You may have enough batter for about half a cupcake leftover. DO NOT BE TEMPTED to distribute that among the cupcakes, they will sink if they’re overfilled. 
  • Use a light colored stainless steel muffin tin for a more even bake. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use all-purpose flour?

I have used the “homemade cake flour” trick by replacing 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour with cornstarch. The cupcakes will work if you make them this way but they won’t be quite as soft and tender. 
I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured. 

Can I make this ahead of time?

This cake holds on to moisture really well so you can make it 1-2 days in advance before serving. 

What if I only have one pan?

If you only have one muffin pan, the batter for the 13th cupcake can just wait on the counter until the first 12 are done baking. 

How do I know when it’s done baking?

Just like all the rest of my cakes, I test if it’s done baking by pressing gently on the tallest part of the cake. The cake will spring back if it’s done baking. If it stays indented, give it a few minutes in the oven, before testing again. 

Can I use this as an eggnog cake recipe?

I have not tested this cupcake recipe as a cake recipe but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. 
Another option is to also replace the eggnog and add the spices to my vanilla cake recipe. I also have a white cake recipe that’s more similar in flavor and texture to this one (make same swaps).
Make sure to double the buttercream if you want to frost the outside of the cake too. 

How to store eggnog cupcakes

I usually just cover them with a cake dome or place them in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for 1-2 days. You can store them in the refrigerator for an additional 2-3 days but if it’s any longer, I recommend freezing them.

To freeze the cupcakes, place them in an airtight container and then place the container in a freezer bag, squeezing out all the excess air. Bring them back to room temperature by thawing at room temperature for a few hours before serving. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. Make sure to leave it in the comment section because I can’t answer in the rating section.

If you make these eggnog cupcakes, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

Yield: 13 Cupcakes

Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Caramel

eggnog cupcakes with spiced rum caramel cut open

The ultimate eggnog cupcakes with an eggnog cake, frosted with creamy eggnog infused ermine buttercream, topped with a spiced rum salted caramel sauce and freshly grated nutmeg.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Spiced Rum Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) water
  • 1/4 cup (56g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) spiced rum
  • 1-2 tsp fine sea salt
  • grated nutmeg *optional

Spiced Eggnog Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cup (172g) cake flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg*
  • 7/8 cup (175g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (59mL) canola oil
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg (55-60g), room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (113g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (78mL) eggnog, room temperature

Eggnog Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (120mL) eggnog
  • 1 cup (240g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Instructions

Spiced Rum Caramel Sauce

  1. Place the sugar and water in a medium size heavy bottom sauce pan. Swirl the pan until the sugar is immersed in water.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and allow the sugar to fully dissolve in the water, gently swirling the pan every minute or so. 
  3. Bring the sugar and water to a simmer and lower the heat to low. Place the lid on the pan and allow the mixture to simmer until the color begins to darken to a light amber color, this should take about 10 minutes. Make sure to remove the lid and check the color at least every minute or so. 
  4. You can gently swirl the pan every couple of minutes but DO NOT STIR IT WITH ANYTHING. If there are crystalized pieces of sugar on the sides of the pan, the steam running down from the lid should dissolve them but if it doesn’t, you can use a pastry brush wet with water to brush them away. 
  5. Once the sugar is a dark amber color, remove it from the heat and add the butter. Use a whisk to mix in the butter until it's smooth and then pour in the heavy whipping cream while stirring constantly.
  6. Now add the rum and the salt and whisk until it's smooth.
  7. Pour the caramel sauce in a heat proof jar, cover and set aside to cool completely to room temperature.

Eggnog Buttercream

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Whisk until they're well distributed.
  2. While whisking, slowly pour in the eggnog and whisk until the mixture is smooth. 
  3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously (but not too aggressively) for 3-5 minutes.
  4. When the mixture thickens and begins to hold streaks, whisk quicker for about another 30-60 seconds. It should be thick like custard.
  5. Pour the mixture into a heat safe container, cover it and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Eggnog Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C) and line 13 muffin tins with cupcake liners (preferably a light colored pan).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and sugar until they're evenly distributed (whisk well).
  3. Add the oil and butter to the dry ingredients and beat together until they're combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until they're fully combined.
  4. Add the sour cream and turn the mixer to low speed, while streaming the eggnog in. Scrape the edge of the bowl and mix just until the cupcake batter is smooth.
  5. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3-3/4 full, about 50-55 grams of batter per cupcake.* You might have enough batter for about half a cupcake leftover. DO NOT BE TEMPTED to distribute that among the cupcakes, they will sink if they’re overfilled.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes. They are done when you press on the center of the cupcake and it springs back or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Remove them from the oven and let them cool in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Finish Buttercream

  1. Once the custard portion for the buttercream has cooled completely, place the butter into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.**
  2. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, to beat the butter at full speed for 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the edge of the bowl every so often.
  3. When the butter is pale and fluffy, add the cooled custard in 3-4 increments, with the mixture running at medium-high speed. 
  4. Add the vanilla and mix until it's fully combined and smooth. 
  5. To remove any excess air for smooth piping, you can switch to a paddle attachment and mix on low speed for a few minutes *optional.

Assemble

  1. Use a piping bag fit with a large round piping tip to frost the cupcakes. Try to leave a small hole in the center (see photos) for the caramel to drip into.
  2. Use a spoon or a piping bag with a small round tip to drizzle the caramel into the center of the frosting. 
  3. Top with grated nutmeg and serve fresh or just slightly chilled.

Notes

*spice on the cupcakes is subtle to allow the eggnog to shine, you can double the spices if you want it stronger.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

13

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 620Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 610mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information may not be fully accurate.

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