Have you ever heard of the book “The 5 Love Languages”? It is such a good book. Just to sum it up in a nutshell, it basically says there are 5 ways that people feel loved. We each have one of those 5 ways that is more dominant and makes us feel loved the most. The 5 ways we feel loved are words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch, and gifts. For instance, if your love language is words of affirmation, when people say something kind to you, that makes you feel loved. Someone could vacuum your house (acts of service) and you wouldn’t feel loved as much as someone saying to you that they really enjoy your sparkling personality. I completely agree with everything Gary Chapman says in this book. I highly recommend it. There is just one teeny tiny little problem with it. Now, I know Gary Chapman is a world renowned speaker and author, but I think he might have forgotten one language. There may in fact, be 6 love languages. The sixth one just might be giving someone a cupcake. 🙂
Giving someone a cupcake is definitely how I show people that I love them. It’s your birthday – here’s a cupcake. You’re feeling a little down today – I thought you could use a cupcake. Your dog ran away – this cupcake should really make you feel better. You found a grey hair, a cupcake should cheer you up. You had a flat tire on the freeway while it was raining, cupcakes are just the thing to make you forget about that. So, it shouldn’t surprise you, that with Father’s Day coming up, I had to make my dad some cupcakes. I have actually been saving this recipe since last fall to make for him. As soon as I saw it, I knew he would love it. It is a chocolate bourbon cupcake with a bourbon caramel pecan pie filling, topped with brown sugar buttercream and a bourbon cinnamon pecan.
I had never tasted or made brown sugar butter cream before. All I can say is, heavenly. It is just incredible. And the pecan pie filling, I wanted to eat it by the spoonful. Now this is definitely a boozy, bourbony tasting cupcake, but if that is not your cup of tea or should I say bourbon, just make these chocolate cupcakes, and leave the bourbon out of the caramel. You will still have one of the best cupcakes you’ve ever tasted. Because it will still have pecan pie filling and brown sugar frosting!
I have to give you fair warning, though, these are not the quickest cupcakes to make. But then, when you are trying to tell someone you love them, sometimes you have to sacrifice! They aren’t difficult, there are just a lot of steps. First you make the chocolate cupcakes and let them cool. While they are cooling, make the caramel pecan filling. While that is cooling, toast the nuts.
Finally, make the frosting and assemble the cupcakes. You could also toast the nuts and make the caramel ahead of time so you aren’t doing so many steps in one day. Once made, you can refrigerate or freeze them so they can be done completely ahead of time.
Now that I think about it, the point of “The 5 Love Languages” book is that you need to show people love by doing things that are THEIR love language. I guess not everyone’s language is cupcakes, as hard as that is to understand. Fortunately, my dad’s love language is any type of dessert so hopefully he feels loved. After giving these to my dad, there were some cupcakes left over. They always say you can’t love others until you love yourself. And, cupcakes are definitely my love language. Can I just say I am now ready to love others. 🙂
Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there and especially to my dad who speaks my language and whom I love very much!
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 c bourbon
- 1 c canola oil
- 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 c sugar
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 c plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line cupcake pans with 18 paper liners.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the bourbon, canola oil, and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and Greek yogurt on low-speed.
- Slowly add bourbon and cocoa mixture. Combine on medium speed until silky and smooth.
- Beat in the sugar.
- Slowly add flour, salt, and baking soda, combining on low-speed until mixed.
- Fill baking cups three-fourths full. (A 1/4 c measuring cup worked great for this.)
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, making sure to watch carefully and test with a toothpick at 15 minutes. Mine took 16. Do not overbake for moist cupcakes.
- Allow to cool completely before filling.
- When cupcakes are cool, use a small serrated knife or grapefruit knife to cut a small hole in the middle of the cupcake. Place cupcakes in a baggy until ready to fill so they don’t dry out.
For the Bourbon Caramel Pecan Pie Filling:
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 c water
- 2 Tbsp. bourbon
- 1 c chopped pecans
- Make sure your butter is cut into chunks and cream is measured out. Set aside.
- Heat sugar and water in a 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. You can stir to help the sugar dissolve before heating, but once you turn the heat on, only swirl the pan a bit every once in a while.
- When the liquid sugar hits a dark amber color (do not leave unattended as the liquid can go from amber to burnt very quickly), add all the butter to the pan. The mixture will foam up and thicken. Whisk until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat.
- Add the cream to the pan (the mixture will foam up again) and continue to whisk to incorporate.
- Add the bourbon to the mixture and stir.
- Finally, add the chopped pecans.
- Let cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then pour into a glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Don’t worry if the sauce seems a bit too thin at first, as it will thicken as it cools. Fill cupcakes with a spoonful of the mixture or store in the refrigerator until ready to fill cupcakes. Carefully place cupcakes back in baggy until ready to frost.
For the Bourbon Cinnamon Toasted Pecans:
- 2 Tbsp. bourbon
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 18-25 whole pecans
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil or a silpat.
- In a bowl whisk together the bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
- Add pecans and stir to coat evenly.
- Transfer nuts to the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Watch carefully after 14 minutes so they don’t burn.
- Remove pecans from oven and toss them with butter. Allow to cool and set aside until needed.
For the Brown Sugar Frosting:
- 1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter
- 2/3 c heavy cream
- 1 c brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 box (1 lb.) powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, melt together 1/4 c butter, cream, and brown sugar on medium heat. Bring to a boil, turn to medium-low, and boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator to cool.
- When brown sugar mixture is cool, place remaining 1/2 c room temperature butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until any chunks are smoothed out.
- Gradually add cooled brown sugar mixture 1/4 cup at a time until frosting is of desired consistency. I added a total of one cup.
- Place frosting in a piping bag, if desired, and using a large round tip, pipe frosting onto cupcakes.
- Insert one of the sugar-coated pecans into the top.
- Keep in the refrigerator until 1 hour before serving, then set out to soften. May be frozen up to one month if in an air tight container. Set out 4 hours before serving to thaw out.