Small Batch Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

A bourbon chocolate cupcake in a gold and white striped lihner on top of a coaster with a rose and small milk jug in the background.

 A Deliciously Fancy Small Batch Cupcake Recipe 

I’ve tested this recipe a LOT lately, and Mark couldn’t be happier.  🙂  This is an easy cupcake recipe (with bourbon!) that makes FOUR chocolate cupcakes.  It’s so perfect for dessert on date night, or if you’re having a couple of your favorite people over!

Ingredients for Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Whole Milk
  • Bourbon
  • Cold Coffee
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Maple Syrup
  • Vanilla

Truth be told, I used store-bought chocolate frosting for these!  If you have a favorite chocolate frosting recipe, totally use it.  I do recommend chocolate, because I think it completes the entire package for these cupcakes.

A chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting, crunchy walnut topping, and a bottle of milk in the background

Ingredient Swaps

  • Bourbon :: If you’re not into bourbon, you can just swap the bourbon for more cold coffee!
  • Cold Coffee :: While the coffee isn’t *entirely* necessary, it just makes the cupcakes taste more chocolate-y.  If you don’t have cold coffee, just swap it for a little more milk!
  • Oil :: I originally used Greek yogurt instead of oil.  So you can use either full-fat plain OR honey flavored Greek yogurt instead!  Applesauce would also work, OR sour cream!  However, the cupcake liners stick to the cupcakes a whole lot more if you don’t use oil.  Just a heads up!
  • Milk :: No milk?  No problem!  You can use buttermilk, sour cream instead!  I haven’t tried this recipe with milk alternatives, but they would probably work, too.

A top-down view of a bourbon chocolate cupcake with a gold and white liner spread out underneath it.

Tips for Making the Best Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

  1.  Sift the dry ingredients.  Sifting the dry ingredients helps to separate any clumps, which makes the dry ingredients mix into the batter much better.  This step insures cupcakes that all look and taste the same!
  2.  Spray the cupcake liners, especially if you don’t use oil.  Have you ever made cupcakes that completely stick to the cupcake liners?  That’s because the fat content of the cupcakes is low, and the outside of the cupcakes adheres to the liner.  I use oil in this recipe to help prevent that from happening, but I still recommend spraying the liners with a little baking spray before filling them with cupcake batter.  If you swap the oil for Greek yogurt or applesauce, you DEFINITELY want to spray the liners beforehand!
  3. Use your favorite bourbon, but it doesn’t need to be fancy.  You don’t need anything fancy for this recipe, but use something you like!  I’ve made these with Maker’s Mark, Maker’s 46, and even Evan Williams (which is under $15 a bottle).  They all came out delicious!  Use what you like, but don’t feel like you need to splurge on a fancy bourbon for these.

A bourbon chocolate cupcake with a gold spoon topping it with a cinnamon sugar walnut topping in a gold and white striped liner on top of a coaster with a rose and small milk jug in the background.

So, we need to get down to one of the tastiest parts of these cupcakes.  THE TOASTED CINNAMON SUGAR WALNUT TOPPING.  Here’s what you’ll need for that:

  • 1/4 cup Toasted Walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon Sugar

That’s it!  I definitely recommend toasting the walnuts first, because the flavor is rich, nutty, and absolutely worth the effort.  You can do this one of two ways! 

A bourbon chocolate cupcake in a gold and white striped lihner on top of a coaster with a rose and small milk jug in the background.

How to Toast Walnuts in the Oven

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Spread the walnuts out onto a small rimmed baking sheet.  Pop the walnuts in the oven for about 6-7 minutes until they are about a shade darker.  Feel free to check on them every 30 seconds or so to make sure they don’t burn!

How to Toast Walnuts on the Stovetop

Place the walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat.  Let the toast for about 3-4 minutes, shaking the skillet frequently to help the walnuts toast evenly.  Once they’re about a shade darker and they are super fragrant, they’re done!  

I hope you love these cupcakes as much as I do!  I’ve made them FIVE times this week, so needless to say I am slightly obsessed.  If you make them, I would love it if you tagged me on Instagram so I can see them!  Feel free to follow me on Pinterest for all of my latest pins, and as always – feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions you may have!

xx Sara

A chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting, crunchy walnut topping, and a bottle of milk in the background
Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes

Small Batch Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

A small batch recipe for four chocolate cupcakes that are spiked with bourbon!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes
Servings: 4 cupcakes
Calories: 263kcal
Author: sara a.
Cost: $2


For the Cupcakes ::

  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt or 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp. Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Cold Coffee*
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil

For the Walnut Topping ::

  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Frosting
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 2 tsp. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon Sugar


For the Cupcakes ::

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place four cupcake liners into four separate wells of a cupcake tin, and spray the liners with baking spray. Fill the empty cupcake wells halfway with water. Set aside.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon) together in a medium bowl.
  • Mix the wet ingredients (bourbon, milk, maple syrup, cold coffee, vanilla, and vegetable oil) together in a larger bowl. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until fully combined.
  • Divide the cupcake batter between the cupcake liners, and bake at 350 F for 15-17 minutes.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool in the cupcake tin for five minutes. Transfer them to a wire baking rack, and allow to cool completely.

For the Topping ::

  • Finely chop the walnuts. In a small bowl, stir the walnuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon sugar together until completely combined.
  • Top the cupcakes each with chocolate frosting, then with at least a tablespoon of the walnut mixture. Add more frosting or walnuts as desired!



Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 263kcal
Small Batch Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

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