Food: Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes

As we roll into July, people on both sides of the 49th parallel will gather to celebrate their respective country’s birthday and there is no better way to celebrate than with something sweet and delicious and fun.  Everyone likes a cupcake, they bring out the kid in all of us. Adding some bourbon elevates it to whole new level and now you have the makings of a new cupcake tradition and really, isn’t that what our countries are celebrating?  Independence and traditions, both old and new.


This recipe is made from scratch, but if you must, a cake box version is ok.  I promise to look the other way, but please be sure to add a splash of bourbon in the batter.  I use it often in place of vanilla. The frosting has a good dose of bourbon, so if you prefer, you can cut the frosting recipe in half, bump up the milk and make it kid friendly.  You can add a drop of food color in the kids frosting or have the kids decorate the cupcakes. It’s a win/win, plus you know which cupcakes are the adult version.


Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients:  Makes 24 cupcakes OR 9x13 OR 2 layer cake  **you can easily cut the recipe in half**

cupcake ingredients.jpg
  • 2 ½ cups of flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup of softened butter
  • 3 tsp bourbon + 2oz
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup of milk


Preheat the oven to 350 F

  1. Prep your pan(s) by lightly greasing, or use cupcake liners.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, using a mixer, blend butter, sugar, 3 tsp of bourbon and the vanilla.  

  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  

  5. Add the flour and milk alternately, in 3 additions each.

  6. The batter may look thick, so you can add up a couple splashes of milk if necessary, start slowly and only add what you need.  The batter will not pour like a boxed cake batter!

  7. Spoon into the cupcake liners or scrape into the cake pan.  Tap the pan on the counter.

  8. Bake for 23-25 min for cupcakes, 32-35 min for 9x13 or 30-32min for layer pans.  Cool in the pan, on a cooling rack. **I always set the timer for a few minutes BEFORE and check on things.  

  9. While your cupcakes are baking, pour yourself that 2oz of bourbon and make a toast to our great countries, our freedom and all that it affords us.  Cheers!

While the cupcakes cool, prep the frosting.  As mentioned, you can divide the recipe in half, using bourbon in one half and omit in the other half, making it kid friendly.  


Bourbon Vanilla Frosting

  • ½ cup butter
  • 8 cups sifted icing sugar + pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Combine the bourbon and the vanilla. Mix in the rest of the ingredients alternately, adding three portions of icing sugar and two portions of the bourbon and milk.  If your icing reaches the consistency as the final amount of icing sugar is added, stop there. If you find your frosting is too thick, add a few drops of milk to reach the desired consistency.  Use an offset spatula to ice the cooled cupcakes or cakes or place the icing in a piping bag and decorate. I like to add food coloring, colored sugars or sprinkles according to the season. Pastel for easter, orange and black for Halloween…you get the picture!  Or put sprinkles or sugars in a bowls and let the kids go to town.


cupcake flowers.jpg

Share your pics of your decorated Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes and tag the Whiskey Corner.  From all of us at the Whiskey Corner, we wish you a sweet, safe and happy Canada Day and Independence Day.  


Maureen LInehan


Jordan GrigsbyComment