I’m going on vacation next week. Yup… 6 days away from home with my soldier and our beautiful kids. We are driving North to Berlin visit the Berlin Zoo, Barbie Dreamhouse, Starbucks, Hark Rock Cafe, Cupcake Berlin, the Markets plus all the historical sights like the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie.
The super duper awesome part of our trip to Berlin… I’m staying with my friend Dawn, owner of Cupcake Berlin… and guess where her apartment is? ON TOP OF THE CUPCAKE SHOP! Yeaaaaah! I’m going to be vacationing above a cupcake bakery! That’s so rad!! Every morning we wake up, all I have to do is go downstairs for fresh pastries and cupcakes…. oh and coffee! YUM! I can’t wait!
So yeah… since I’m not going to be around for a little bit, I decided I need to make a cupcake that was really going to WOW everyone… and tide you over until I bake again. I began researching for this cupcake by doing what I usually do… Pinterest. Ha! I saw a few cakes and cupcakes made with reductions and I was intrigued. One recipe I saw called for a reduction of root beer into a syrup. Root beer cupcakes?!? Done!
Friday, my husband and I went shopping in Bayreuth and came across a chocolate shop that was selling a Bourbon Vanilla white chocolate. Oh my god. Bourbon Vanilla white chocolate?!?!!??!?!!? I kick myself every day for not buying a bar. BUT… that gave me the inspiration for the second half of my cupcake. A bourbon reduction infused with vanilla and cream… oooooooooh yeah!
Root Beer cupcakes with Bourbon Vanilla Cream Buttercream was the final product!
Before I get to the recipe though… I need to tell you about this Bourbon Vanilla Cream. This stuff… you need to just make it to have on hand in your fridge. It’s AMAZING in coffee, frosting, mixed into a glaze for a cake… or by the spoonful. I’m actually making another batch tomorrow to bring to Dawn in Berlin. This is one of those recipes that I just threw together as I was making it and honestly… it’s AMAZING! Creamy, sweet and a rich bourbon flavor! And since all the alcohol cooks out… there isn’t a strong liquor flavor to it. It’s subtle and so delicious! Make it!
PS… I also used my new lightbox for these pictures. What do you think? I LOVE how they turned out. SO much better than the crappy overhead lighting I was dealing with before! When I get back from my trip, I’ll have a DIY Light Box post for you!
So… until I come back…
- 1 cup Honey Bourbon (I used Wild Turkey American Honey)
- 1 vanilla bean
- ¾ cup (200ml) Heavy Whipping Cream
- 3 cups high-quality Root Beer (not diet) (I used 2 12oz bottles of IBC)
- 1⅓ cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup root beer syrup (see recipe above)
- ¼ cup milk
- 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5 cups sifted powdered sugar (sift before measuring)
- 1 Tbsp Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon
- ¼-1/2 cup Bourbon Vanilla Cream
- ⅛ tsp salt
- In a small pot, bring the bourbon to a boil over medium-high heat. You will immediately smell the alcohol begin to burn off.
- Allow the bourbon to to boil/simmer until it has reduced by ⅔ to ⅓ cup.
- While the bourbon is simmering, split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out.
- After the bourbon has reduced, add the heavy cream and vanilla bean & seeds then whisk together.
- Reduce heat to low and bring to a very light simmer for 2 minutes. If the cream bubbles up over the sides, remove from the stove and reduce heat more. You want a very gentle bubble/simmer.
- Remove from heat and cool in the pan until it reaches room temperature.
- Strain out the vanilla bean pod and store in refrigerator. Use cold.
- In a medium pot, bring the root beer to a boil over medium high heat.
- Allow to boil/simmer for about 30 minutes or until it reduces by ⅔. Stir occasionally.
- You should have about 1 cup of root beer syrup remaining.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Use immediately after cooled or store in refrigerator until ready to use. If you cooled it, bring to room temperature before using.
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes or until the sugar lightens in color.
- While the butter & sugar are creaming, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Measure out the root beer syrup and milk.
- Add the egg to the butter/sugar and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds.
- Add the flour mixture in three parts. In between each addition, add the root beer syrup and then the milk.
- Divide the batter evenly among the 12 liners.
- Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for 3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, poke 6-7 holes in the top of each cupcake with a toothpick. Drizzle 1 Tbsp root beer syrup over the top of each cupcake. Allow to soak into the cake before frosting.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until incorporated after each addition.
- Add the bourbon and ¼ cup of Bourbon Vanilla Cream. Beat until smooth.
- Mix in the salt.
- Add up to ¼ cup more Bourbon Vanilla Cream until you reach your desired consistency.
- Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until the frosting has become fluffy and light. Let frosting rest for 2-3 minutes.
- Frost cupcakes using a large round zip to create one dollop on top of the cake. (You can watch THIS VIDEO to see me deomstrate the technique. Decorate with any brown or chocolate candies or sprinkles.