Bourbon Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

A cupcake with explosive, rich, and decadent flavors of chocolate, vanilla, orange, bourbon, and juicy cherries. A vanilla cake is adorned with whipped chocolate buttercream and a spoonful of bourbon cherry compote. It's a delicious and simple cupcake with over the top flavor.

One of my coworkers (and friends) begs for baked goods and treats almost every day at work. So, when his birthday came around, I knew I needed to make something special. These cupcakes were the choice, and what a perfect choice at that.

A moist vanilla cupcake topped with the very best whipped chocolate buttercream and a spoonful of sweet, tart, and tangy bourbon cherry compote blew the birthday boy away and is still being praised to this day. That's what I call a success. Glad you loved them, Mordecai.

Is this cupcake really worth the work?

Sometimes, I ask myself this question when I am recipe testing, trying a new recipe from a friend, or planning meals out for the week. Does this recipe really taste so good that I need to follow all of the steps & make all the components?

For this cupcake, I truly wish you could bite into one (this second!) to see just how delicious this is. It's a full-on experience. The textures, flavors, sweetness, and all of it. I've eaten many cupcakes in my years on the earth, and this one definitely reigns in the top 7, at least. (and, I've had a TON of cake and cupcakes.)

The brightness and hint of booziness from the cherry compote pairs perfectly with a rich, chocolatey buttercream and a tender, vanilla cake that's just sweet enough. Each component is delicious on their own, but when combined into one dessert - they're unstoppable. So. GOOD. So, the answer is, yes. Yes, it's worth it. See for yourself.

Ingredients for Bourbon Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes  with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

Cupcake Ingredients

- cake flour (or gluten free flour blend)

- baking powder

- baking soda

- kosher salt

- unsalted butter, softened

- granulated sugar

- eggs, room temperature

- sour cream, room temperature

- vanilla extract

- whole milk, room temperature

Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients

- dark, semisweet, or milk chocolate, melted and cooled

- unsalted butter, softened

- powdered sugar

- vanilla extract

- kosher salt

Cherry Bourbon Compote Ingredients

- cherries, fresh or frozen & thawed (pitted)

- bourbon whiskey (or for a non-alcoholic recipe, use orange juice)

- granulated sugar

- fresh orange zest

- pinch of salt

How to Make Boozy Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes 

1. Make the Cherry Bourbon Compote and allow to cool.

2. Make the BEST Whipped Chocolate Buttercream and add to a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with a star tip for piping on the cupcake. 

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

4. Sift the cake flour first, then measure it out by spooning and leveling it in your measuring cup. Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

5. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter on high for two minutes until light and fluffy. Add in sugar and continue to mix on high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix for one minute on high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more.

6. With the mixer on low speed, add in ⅓ dry ingredients and ½ milk and mix until just combined. Add another ⅓ dry ingredients and rest of the milk. Add the remaining ⅓ of dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs until no streaks of flour remain (without over-mixing). The batter will be slightly thick.

7. Scoop batter into the cupcake tin until they’re about ⅔ full, and bake for 17-18 minutes. The cupcakes are done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for five minutes before removing them from the pan and continuing to cool them for at least an hour.

8. Once completely cool, pipe a swirl of whipped chocolate buttercream on each cupcake and top with a spoonful of bourbon cherry compote. E N J O Y!!

Find the FULL Recipes for the Cherry Bourbon Compote and the Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Here!


Tools for Making Gluten Free Bourbon Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes

a rubber spatula: here's my very favorite one. I have it in many colors, and I've never found a better spatula. Worth. Every. Penny.

glass measuring cups for measuring liquids

- cookie scoops for scooping the batter into the pans

- favorite muffin and cupcake tins

- cupcake liners

favorite stand mixer: Kitchen Aid always 

- favorite glass mixing bowl for Kitchen Aid mixer

- piping bags

- favorite star piping tip  

- favorite gluten free flour blend without xanthan gum

- the best dark milk chocolate (55%) for the buttercream

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Cakes Recipes to Impress

A Gluten Free Pistachio Cupcake is the perfect way to impress anyone at all times of the year. It’s bright, nutty, sweet, tender, and light. It has the perfect balance of sweetness, and I love pairing it with a Fresh Blueberry Buttercream, but I know it would be killer with this Brown Butter Buttercream, too.

This Masala Chai Cupcake is fabulous with the Brown Butter Buttercream, but I can only imagine how divine it would be with a swirl of Brandy Italian Buttercream. This buttercream is more delicious than one could imagine. The slow cooking of the brandy in the sugar syrup brings out so many flavors that I didn't know brandy even had. It's fruity, floral, nutty, and a little dried-fruity. Most of the alcohol cooks out, but there's an option of adding more in towards the end of the whipping process. Choose your fate. But, either way.. it's a tasty one.

Churros are acceptable and very welcome any day in my home. Plus, I’m always craving the familiar flavors of churros with my favorite dipping sauces. My Cinnamon Churro Cake from Food Network’s Halloween Wars will still forever be one of the cakes I’m most proud of curating. It’s sweet, tangy, spicy, and delightful.

Another cupcake to satisfy the chocolate lover - a PERFECT gluten free Chocolate Cupcake adorned with the best Mocha Buttercream! WOWZA. 

An elevated version of a classic, delicious almond cake is this Almond Sourdough Cake with Milk Chocolate French Buttercream, Tart RaspberryJam, and toasted almonds. It’s sweet, nutty, zesty, rich, and balanced for a perfect bite. Plus, I got to share it on Food Network, too. So, that’s sweet.

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