So, the Nog season may have passed, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying these eggnog cupcakes if you can find some. I actually made these back before the holidays, but it has taken me awhile to get around to posting them. The cake is a half recipe of the “downy yellow butter cake” from The Cake Bible. I then piped it full of eggnog pastry cream, which I found a recipe for here. To finish, I topped it with a bourbon buttercream (which is a keeper in and of itself, at least if you like bourbon). I made these as minis, which I thought was better for this particular set of flavors (I think eggnog is best in small doses), but there’s no reason you couldn’t make them full sized if you really wanted to, just fill them using the cone method instead of piping in the filling.
I didn’t think the pastry cream recipe I found was eggnog-y enough, and so after it was done I whisked in another half cup or so of eggnog. As an alternative, you could probably just replace some of the milk in the pastry cream with more eggnog (pre-cooking), but I haven’t tried this, so I’m going to write what I did, with this as a suggestion to anyone else who cares to try. Also, make the pastry cream first, as it needs several hours to cool.
Downy Yellow Butter Cake (from the cake bible)3 egg yolks
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, 2 T of the milk, and the vanilla.
2. Combine the dry ingredients (including the sugar) in the bowl of a mixer, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend.
3. Add the butter and remaining milk, continue mixing on low until ingredients are moistened. Then turn the mixer up to medium and beat for another 90 seconds.
4. Slowly add the egg mixture in thirds, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Fill mini-cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cakes are golden, and a tester comes out clean. Let cool
Eggnog Pastry Cream1 ½ cups full fat eggnog
1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the milk and 1 cup of the eggnog to a simmer.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth.
3. Slowly pour ½ of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly, to temper them. Whisk this mixture back into the saucepan, and return to the stove over medium heat.
4. Stir the mixture constantly until it thickens. With a pastry cream this is sort of a strange process, at first it will begin to look like parts are overcooked, and then that it is curdled. Just keep stirring until it becomes smooth.
5. Remove from heat. When it has cooled sufficiently, taste. If you want it to have a stronger eggnog flavor, whisk in the remaining ½ cup eggnog.
6. Press plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream, and refrigerate until set. At least 3 hours.
Bourbon Buttercream1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1. Cream the butter with 1 cup of the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the bourbon and the vanilla.
2. Add more powdered sugar until the frosting gets to a flavor and consistency that you like. I tend to aim for less powdered sugar in my buttercreams, but you should do what you like.
Fit a pastry bag with a small to medium round tip. Fill the bag with pastry cream.
Stick the tip into the top of a cupcake, and squeeze the bag. Fill just until the cupcake puffs up
Decoratively pipe on buttercream, using it to disguise the hole.