Spirited Cooking: Scotch Cupcakes

Forget donuts or black-and-white cookies; New York is now decidedly a cupcake town, with dozens of bakeries producing a wide range of these decadent confections.

Our favorites, of course, contain a measure of spirits in addition to butter, chocolate and other standard sinful ingredients. And some of the best adult cupcakes we’ve found are whipped up by Allison and Matt Robicelli, who supply an array of stores around the Big Apple with baked goods. No surprise, since they produce a staggering 250 different cupcake flavors that rotate throughout the year.

We were able to get the couple to share the recipes for a pair of their creations that call for Scotch. Both are featured in their brand-new book, Robicelli’s: A Love Story, with Cupcakes, which comes out next week. (Pre-order it today!)

So this weekend, try their The Carbomb (pictured above), which combines rich chocolate-Guinness cake with a Baileys buttercream frosting and an amazing single-malt ganache. It’s like a whole liquor cabinet in dessert form!

Or satisfy your sweet tooth with their Fruitcake—we promise it’s better than what you’re imagining right now. It includes candied kumquats, pomegranate, walnuts and both Scotch and the Scottish liqueur Drambuie. It just may be the perfect fall treat!

The Carbomb Cupcakes

Contributed by Allison and Matt Robicelli
INGREDIENTS:

  • .75 cup cocoa powder
  • .66 cup Guinness Stout, heated to scalding
  • .66 cup Buttermilk
  • .33 cup Canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 Large whole egg
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • .5 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1.33 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1.75 cups Sugar
  • .75 tsp Baking powder
  • .5 tsp Baking soda
  • Single Malt Scotch Ganache*
  • Baileys Buttercream**

PREPARATION:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with baking cups.

Place the cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and pour the hot Guinness over. Mix on low speed until a thick paste forms and the mixture stops steaming, about 1 minute. Combine the buttermilk, canola oil, egg, egg yolk and salt in a large measuring cup and mix with a fork, making sure the yolks are broken. Increase the mixer speed to medium and slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl well. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute more.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Stop the mixer and add the flour mixture to the batter. Mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is mixed.

Scoop the batter into the baking cups, filling each two-thirds of the way. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. (The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back after being touched.) Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Place 1 teaspoon of Single Malt Scotch Ganache on top of each cupcake and spread with the back of a spoon to coat the top. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to harden.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the Baileys Buttercream and pipe onto each cupcake. Drizzle with additional Single Malt Scotch Ganache.

 

*Single Malt Scotch Ganache
INGREDIENTS:

  • .5 cup Heavy cream
  • .25 tsp Sea salt
  • .5 cup Chopped semisweet chocolate
  • .25 cup Single malt Scotch

PREPARATION:
Add the cream and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Let stand for 2 minutes while the chocolate melts. Add the Scotch and stir with a heat-proof spatula until completely smooth.

 

**Baileys Buttercream
INGREDIENTS:

  • .75 lb (3 sticks) Unsalted butter
  • 8 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cups Powdered sugar
  • .25 cup Baileys Irish Cream, plus more if desired
  • Eighth of a tsp Guar gum, optional

PREPARATION:
Add the butter and mascarpone to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a quarter-cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Baileys and beat on high for another minute. Taste, and add more Baileys 1 teaspoon at a time until boozy enough for you. If the buttercream begins to separate from adding too much liquid, add the guar gum.

Reprinted by arrangement with VIKING STUDIO, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © ALLISON AND MATT ROBICELLI, 2013.


Fruitcake Cupcakes

Contributed by Allison and Matt Robicelli
INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups Assorted high-quality dried fruits, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Hot water
  • 1 cup Scotch
  • 1 cup Drambuie, divided
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 lb (4 sticks) Unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 cup Molasses
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • .5 cup Milk
  • 1.25 cups chopped walnuts, divided
  • Vanilla Buttercream*
  • .25 cup Pomegranate arils
  • 7 Dried figs (or other dried fruit of your choice), rehydrated and quartered
  • Candied Kumquats**

PREPARATION:
Place the dried fruits, hot water, Scotch and half a cup of the Drambuie in a bowl and let stand for 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with baking cups.

Drain the dried fruits, toss with 1 cup of the flour and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for a few seconds more. Add the eggs and molasses and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Sift together the remaining 1 cup flour and the baking soda. With the mixer running on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Fold in the reserved fruit mixture and 1 cup of the walnuts.

Scoop the batter into the prepared baking cups, filling them three-quarters of the way. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. (The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back after being touched.) Remove from the oven and brush the tops with some of the remaining half-cup of Drambuie while still hot. Let cool completely and brush with more Drambuie.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip with the Vanilla Buttercream and pipe onto each cupcake. Decorate with pomegranate arils, dried figs, Candied Kumquats and the remaining quarter-cup of walnuts.

 

*Vanilla Buttercream
INGREDIENTS:

  • .75 lb (3 sticks) Unsalted butter
  • 8 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cups Powdered sugar
  • .25 cup Heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Pure vanilla extract

PREPARATION:
Add the butter and mascarpone to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a quarter-cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cream and vanilla, and beat on high for another minute.

 

**Candied Kumquats
INGREDIENTS:

  • .75 cup Whole kumquats
  • .5 cup Sugar
  • .5 cup Water

PREPARATION:
Cut the kumquats in half and remove as many seeds as possible. (The seeds are edible, so don’t worry if you miss a few.) Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the kumquats, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the kumquats from the syrup and set aside. Increase the heat to high and reduce the syrup until thick, about 4 minutes. Pour the syrup over the kumquats and let cool completely.

Reprinted by arrangement with VIKING STUDIO, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © ALLISON AND MATT ROBICELLI, 2013.

(Photos courtesy Eric Isaac)

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