LaPhroaig Chocolate Cupcakes with Pecan Praline and Vanilla Buttercream

By • September 4, 2012 • 0 Comments

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Author Notes: There's something about LaPhroaig Scotch ... you can smell its peaty smoke across a room, but when you bake with it, suddenly that over-the-top aroma settles down and plays nice with your other ingredients. Add to it some rich chocolatey cake filled with a salty, buttery pecan praline and balanced with a smooth vanilla buttercream, and you have a fun cupcake that's appropriate for sophisticated adults.melomel

Makes 15 cupcakes

LaPhroaig Chocolate Cupcakes and Pecan Praline Filling

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons coffee
  • 1/4 cup LaPhroaig whisky
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 7 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons pecans, chopped

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line cupcake pans with papers.
  2. For the cupcakes, combine flour, baking soda, salt and sugar, whisking to blend; set aside.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed, medium pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, add the coffee and whisk together. Add the cocoa—gradually—whisking to combine. The mixture should come to a simmer, but not a boil. You want it to thicken.
  4. Once thickened, cool the cocoa mixture for about 10-15 minutes (the freezer is handy here).
  5. In your stand mixer, whip together the eggs and buttermilk. Add the vanilla.
  6. Once the cocoa mixture has cooled, slowly add a little bit of the mixture to temper the eggs, whisking constantly. Add the remaining mixture, whisking to combine (this might best be done by taking the bowl off the stand mixer and whisking by hand, then putting it back on to the mixer for the dry ingredients).
  7. Add the dry ingredients in 3-4 stages. Add the whisky, mixing well to combine.
  8. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full. Bake for about 20-22 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 5 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
  9. For the pecan praline, combine everything but the pecans in a small pot and heat until syrupy. Mix in the pecans, stirring to combine. Take off the heat and cool to room temperature.
  10. For the frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of sugar, beating until combined. Add the vanilla. Finally, add the remaining sugar gradually and whip until light and fluffy.
  11. To assemble, core the cupcakes. Spoon the praline into each, then top with vanilla buttercream. Finish with any leftover praline as a garnish.
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