Butternut Bourbon² Cupcakes


If you’re wondering what I’ve been doing lately, don’t look on the blog, look on Twitter.  I’ve been moonlighting as the jam fairy over in the kitchen at Manresa.  We have so much produce coming from the gardens at Love Apple Farm that we had to do something about them.  So I’ve been making jam with red tomatoes, green tomatoes, hot chillies, not to mention all the fabulous Meyer lemons and mandarins we harvested from Gene’s farm.  The craziest thing about all this is that we sold them all already!  All of them.  Most even before I was done making them.  Pre-arrival jams, how about that, huh?  Who wants to trade in Bordeaux futures when you can sell jam futures?


Anyhow, today I want to tell you about the one I had the most fun making.  No, no, I’m not saying that I loved it the most.  I love all my jam children equally.  I’m saying I had the most fun making it, mostly because I think – quite shamelessly so – that it’s such a brilliant idea.  The inspiration struck pretty suddenly, as I was rummaging in Manresa’s dry storage looking for ingredients I could play with.  The produce I was working with that day was butternut squash – the garden had produced such an abundance the kitchen couldn’t keep up, so in my bassine à confiture they go.  I’d been vaguely thinking about doing something with vanilla beans, then I found a bottle of Bourbon whiskey, just laying there, looking a bit forlorn, a light layer of dust covering the bottle’s shoulder. Bourbon whiskey are aged in American oak, giving it a lovely vanilla aroma, which would compliment the Bourbon vanilla I’d planned to use in the jam.  And as far as I’m concerned everything is better with a little booze in it!

And I knew that was it.  Butternut squash, Bourbon vanilla, and bourbon whiskey.  That’s my jam!  I even got the name right that very moment: Butternut Bourbon².  How cute is that, huh?  (Can you tell I used to be a geek?)

Then, yesterday another inspiration struck.  Musing about alternatives to the usual pumpkin-y desserts that make an outing around Thanksgiving, it came to me that the Butternut Bourbon² would make a fantastic filling for even more fantastic cupcakes.  So, here they are ladies and gentlemen, the best cupcakes, ever.  (Yes, yes I am aware that humility is not exactly my strong suit.)  But they *are* that good.


I’ll get around to posting the Butternut Bourbon² jam recipe soon, but meanwhile, you can make these cupcakes with a pumpkin of your choice cooked down with sugar and butter, and, of course, vanilla.  Just cook it down until mushy and use enough sugar and vanilla until sweet enough to your taste.  It’s really that simple.

Butternut Bourbon² cupcakes

For the cupcakes
2/3 cup (120g) crèmes fraîche (or yogurt will do in a pinch)
2 large eggs
2 large yolks
2t vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean if you want to be indulgent)
2 cups (225g) all purpose flour
1 cup (225g) sugar
1t baking powder
1t baking soda
1.5 sticks (12T, 170g) butter at room temp.

For the filling
4oz (120g) Butternut Bourbon² jam

For the frosting
10T (140g) butter, room temp
10T (140g) cream cheese, room temp
1/3 cup (75g) powdered sugar
1T lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, stir the crèmes fraîche, eggs, yolks, and vanilla extract together until well blended.  If you’re using a vanilla pod, slice it in half and scrape off the seeds.  Keep the pods to 

In your mixer bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder) together.  Using your paddle attachment, beat the soft butter into the dry ingredients.  Add the crèmes fraîche/eggs mixture and beat until well incorporated. 

Line each bowl of a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners.  Divide the cupcake batter equally between the 12 bowls.  Bake in the preheated oven for 18 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely before continuing.

To make the frosting, beat butter, cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice together until well incorporated.  If you work with butter and cream cheese at room temperature they will be easier to blend.

When the cupcakes are cooled down completely, use a melon baller to scoop out a small round of the cake at the top.  Fill each hole with about 1.5t of the jam.  Cover the top with the frosting. 

Don’t eat all of them yourself, you won’t feel very good afterwards.  Don’t ask me how I know.

P.S. If you like the look of the shaggy frosting, don’t compliment me.  I totally stole the idea from Pichet Ong!  Kob khun ka P’chet!

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28 Responses to “Butternut Bourbon² Cupcakes

  • Gera said:
    November 25th, 2008 at 2:14pm

    Hi Pim!
    Wonderful recipe yummm…I can’t wait to try it!
    I can eat all of them in a second but you’re right, it’s better to share some of them to others! 🙂
    By the way Twitter is awesome as a global community, you can stay everyday-all day-twittering!
    Gera .:. sweetsfoods

  • Jessica D said:
    November 25th, 2008 at 4:53pm

    That jam sounds fantastic! And the cupcakes look lovely. It would be fun to play around with them and substitute different kinds of jam in the middle.

  • wandernut said:
    November 25th, 2008 at 7:09pm

    They look so pretty!!! 🙂
    I’m sure they taste awesome too. Feel so miserable that I live and work on the other side of the globe now.
    (a Malaysian working in Shanghai)

  • erik_flannestad said:
    November 25th, 2008 at 8:45pm

    “Can you tell I used to be a geek?”
    I keep trying to tell my wife that I am no longer a geek. I no longer read technical manuals and magazines for fun. I don’t put together my own computers anymore. Then she keeps giving me this look which seems to say, “once a geek, always a geek.”

  • lisa from dandysugar said:
    November 25th, 2008 at 9:29pm

    The jam sounds lovely and the cupcakes….delicious. I like the use of creme fraiche.

  • casey said:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:32pm

    There is still a few teaspoons of the ChezPim jam in its jar here. Tonight I hid it in the back of the fridge. Sometimes sharing is over-rated.

  • Antonia Cacace said:
    November 26th, 2008 at 4:29am

    Hi Pim!This is the best recipe for cupcakes that I have evere found!I hope to test it in more soon

  • Alex said:
    November 26th, 2008 at 10:52am

    Hmmm, I can’t seem to find a link to the Chez Pim marketplace…..hint! hint!
    I’ll take 2 dozen of whatever jam you’re making next. Ha! Ha! I’m not kidding! 🙂

  • Kero said:
    November 26th, 2008 at 11:46am

    You’re really some kind of genius. i don’t know who else would think of butternut-squash jam, and then make it into a cupcake.

  • Suzana said:
    November 26th, 2008 at 12:28pm

    Pim, I’m new to your site. Love it. Thanks for your beautiful photos, recipes-including the one above, and your sensual love of food. It is all a delight. And I pray your family is safe and sound in Thailand.

  • Elizabeth B said:
    November 26th, 2008 at 9:18pm

    Oh, this looks delicious. Thank you for the recipe! I’m new to your site, too, and I’m going to enjoy exploring in the weeks ahead.
    I want to point out, though, that the USDA does not recommend canning winter squash for shelf storage, as it is impossible to be completely sure of getting the food environment right for long-term safety. USDA recommends keeping canned squash in the fridge or freezer.

  • Cheryl said:
    November 27th, 2008 at 12:39am

    The Jam sounds delicious and those Cupcakes look equally amazing!
    Ever since my fiance proposed to me with a gorgeous diamond engagement ring from http://www.idonowidont.com while we enjoyed a cute desert together, I want to have cupcakes as a theme for my wedding.
    I think those Bourbon Cupcakes would be so amazing for our wedding guests, what a cute idea and great recipe!

  • fin said:
    November 28th, 2008 at 3:37am

    Thank you for sharing the recipe I will use this for my catering jobs, it looks so great and sounds delicious. One of these days I’m going to come to your shop and try them. After out kitchen is done we will have to save for this trip 🙂

  • jai carney said:
    November 28th, 2008 at 8:59am

    how is the recipe usable if the jam recipe is not on the page as well?

  • jennifer d said:
    November 28th, 2008 at 1:44pm

    damn, pim… sheer genius! you rock, girl. coming out of lurking mode and wanted to thank you for being gracious and sharing all your wonderful recipes. im totally inpsired… thanks, again.

  • Maya said:
    November 28th, 2008 at 11:43pm

    Butternut and bourbon = brilliant!!

  • Laura said:
    November 29th, 2008 at 5:07am

    The last ingredient of the cupcake section–should it say “butter”?

  • Rui Reis said:
    November 29th, 2008 at 3:27pm

    Hi pim…
    today i came to your blog because i saw you on tv here portugal…
    already saw some recipes and i wanna try some of them, but i have a request for you, i wonder if you could talk a bit about some japanese food…
    i know some japanese recipes and i love them but there are some things that i only can eat at the restaurant and it is not that cheap here in Portugal.
    Keep up the good work
    kisses from Portugal

  • cls said:
    November 29th, 2008 at 6:33pm

    lovely cupcakes. i’m always looking for a new use for butternut squash in the fall.
    off-topic: are you doing the Menu for Hope this year?
    I’ve been looking forward to it!

  • Julie A said:
    November 30th, 2008 at 3:33pm

    I’ve been obsessed with cupcakes lately, and was wondering about the mellon-balling of the cupcakes… I’ve been putting a teaspoon of my favorite jams in my cupcakes by filling muffin-liners 1/4 full, adding jam, then adding more batter to fill to 1/2 or 3/4 of cups. Of course, this doesn’t work with every jam (the confiture au lait from your recipe just yielded the cupcakes extra buttery with a chewey caramel edge on the outside) but I love the gooey-fruity outcome when the jam is baked into the cake. I was looking to make them kind of like a bismarck, but unsure of how to inject the filling into the cake.
    Hmmm… At any rate, I am glad for your recipe and shall try it out with the pumpkin butter I have slated to make this week. Thanks Pim!

  • Babeth said:
    December 1st, 2008 at 9:20am

    Really cute cupcakes 🙂
    Twitter is a fun way to micro-blog

  • Alexandra Forbes said:
    December 1st, 2008 at 10:26am

    Pim, I’ve been a reader for a long time, although I never really commented before. Spectacular photos, btw. Just wanted to tell you that pumpkins (not exactly squash, but kinda close…) have been slow-cooked with sugar and clover in Brazil for ages, and the result is not quite jam, but a jammy and delicious paste which we call Doce de Abóbora. We eat it with fresh cow’s cheese (queijo de Minas) to cut the sweetness. If shaped into quenelles and left to dry a bit, they turn hard on the outside and can be eaten with your fingers, and that’s the way doce de abóbora is sold on the streets and in corner stores in the countryside. Sweet potatoes are also cooked this way (doce de batata doce).

  • Janine at Rustic Kitchen said:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 3:28pm

    Pim, these are gorgeous. Did I miss the jam recipe somewhere? I’m dying to try it! Salivating at the thought.

  • javi said:
    December 6th, 2008 at 3:32pm
  • helen said:
    January 6th, 2009 at 5:33pm

    Hi Pim,
    Some friends and I recently did some canning for the first time, and we’re in love with it! Will you be posting your Butternut Bourbon Jam recipe? We would love to try it!

  • marie said:
    January 16th, 2009 at 3:02pm

    these look great, and i love the idea of pumpkin or squash in jam, it gives it a great texture.
    I recently bought a little pot of home made Squash and orange jam/marmelade from the red cross markets in Strasbourg.. on a baguette paysanne.. miam miam..

  • hampers said:
    June 2nd, 2009 at 8:25pm

    Your recipe and pics were so awesome. May I suggest to place your finish product in fabulous food hampers – to add more delight.

  • Kosher Vitamins said:
    July 7th, 2010 at 9:28pm

    wow im sure their yummy!

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