This easy eggnog cupcake recipe is sure to be a holiday favorite. Made with real eggnog, a dash of rum extract, and a pinch of nutmeg, the cupcakes are moist and tender. Each cupcake is topped with rich eggnog buttercream.
I love the simplicity of a vanilla cupcake. But let me tell you, eggnog cupcakes take the best parts of a traditional vanilla cupcake and amplifies it with rich eggnog flavor. The buttercream frosting has more eggnog and nutmeg whipped into it.
Cupcakes are an underrated holiday dessert. They are easy to make ahead of time, store, and serve without the hassle of cutting and plating. This eggnog cupcake recipe is super simple and quick to make.
The base of this recipe is crafted from the phenomenal Preppy Kitchen’s vanilla cupcake.
Tips for the Perfect Cupcake
- Let your ingredients come to room temperature. The short answer is that it helps the cupcakes remain light and fluffy. Do not use cold ingredients.
- Sift your flour – This ensures that all clumps are broken up.
- Don’t over-mix the batter! Mix the batter until just combined. I prefer to make these cupcakes by hand rather than in a mixer for this reason.
- Let the cupcakes cool before frosting. Otherwise, the buttercream frosting will melt right off.
- Do not over-fill the cupcake liners.
Can I Freeze these Cupcakes?
Absolutely! I would suggest freezing the cupcakes and buttercream separately. To freeze the cupcakes, first allow them to cool completely on the wire rack.
Next, lay out 4 to 6 cupcakes on plastic wrap and double wrap them tightly. You don’t want to smoosh the cupcakes, but ensure that no additional air is present. Place the wrapped cupcakes in a gallon size freezer bag and squeeze out any additional air.
The cupcakes will last for up to three months. However, I recommend using them within a month after freezing. When you are ready to serve the cupcakes, simply take them out of the freezer and allow them to defrost for about an hour.
You can make the buttercream in advance and freeze that as well. When you are ready to use the buttercream. You can store the buttercream in an airtight container or bag. When you are ready to use it, take it out of the freezer and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Whip it with a stand mixer or hand mixer to bring it back to life before frosting your cupcakes.
Can I Make the Cupcakes in Advance?
Yes! I like to make these cupcakes the day before. It allows the flavors to meld and you will still enjoy a moist and tender eggnog cupcake. It also cuts down on time in the kitchen around the holidays. You can either make the buttercream a day or two before, or on the day of.
Store your cupcakes in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap. If you make the buttercream ahead of time, whip it until it is light and fluffy before using.
- Eggnog – I don’t recommend substituting homemade eggnog or alcoholic eggnog. It may affect the consistency. Any store-bought brand of eggnog should work (as long as it is full fat).
- Rum Extract – if you don’t have rum extract, substitute real rum. However, the exact substitution depends on whether you’re using light or dark rum. For dark rum, you’d want to use about half the amount (1/2 teaspoon). For light rum on the other hand, you need to use about 5x the amount of rum. I do not recommend substituting the rum extract for light rum for this reason, as the texture may be affected by the increased liquid.
- Cake Flour – Feel free to substitute cake flour for all purpose flour. I use AP flour for this recipe since I have it on hand more frequently than I do cake flour. I have a hard time finding cake flour at my local grocery store sometimes.
- Butter for Oil – You can substitute butter for oil, or use a combination. I use oil for a couple reasons here. First, around the holidays I seem to go through stick after stick of butter, and so I wanted to save the precious (and expensive) sticks of butter for pie crusts and cookies. Second, oil ensures the cupcakes stay super moist over a couple of days.
Looking for Other Cupcake Recipes?
- 2 cupcake tins, lined with cupcake papers
- 1⅔ cups all purpose flour, (213 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cups canola oil
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1/2 cup eggnog, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon rum extract
Eggnog Buttercream Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, softened
- 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup eggnog
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cupcake liners in the cupcake tin.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg whites, oil, vanilla extract, rum extract, and sour cream. A clumpy batter is okay!
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just barely combined (you'll still see streaks of flour). Slowly add in the eggnog, and stir until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter!
- Fill the cupcake liners evenly until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes until the cupcakes are springy to the touch. If you are unsure, test with a toothpick. It should come out dry.
- When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately and leave them to cool on a wire rack.
- In a stand mixer with a fitted paddle attachment, cream the butter for a minute and then add the salt, vanilla, and nutmeg.
- Add one cup of confectioners sugar at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between. Add the eggnog and mix until fluffy. Add more sugar or more eggnog to adjust the consistency.
- Pipe a swirl of buttercream on each cupcake.
- The cupcakes are best eaten within 24 hours of baking. Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature for up to 2 days. You should cover the cupcakes with plastic wrap, in an airtight container, or in a cake carrier.
- The cupcakes will last for up to 5 days refrigerated. Bring them to room temperature before serving.
- Let the cupcakes cool on a wire rack. Double wrap 4-6 unfrosted cupcakes in stretch wrap. Place each set of cupcakes in a gallon freezer bag.
- Buttercream frosting can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. The day before you're ready to use it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then bring it to room temperature before use. Bring it back to life by whipping it until fluffy before use.