White Russian Cupcakes

7:22 AM

I just realized the other day how soon it is until my husband will have to leave again for another deployment. He just got back! It makes me sad to think about it, but dwelling on the inevitable only saddens me, so I try not to think of the negative aspects of it, at least not now. So how the heck do I think of it in a positive light? Well, we have a few more weekends to go out and do more things with the family (we've gone out every weekend since he's been back, and its been so much fun!), and I have a few more weeks to bake a bunch of stuff and pawn it off at his work before I take a baking hiatus (or at least be forced to learn to quarter all of my recipes so I'm not stuck with a ton of baked goods!). The "grown up" cupcakes I made not too long ago were a hit, so I googled for some other great ideas, and at the top of my list of things to find...anything White Russian!

The cupcakes I made tonight I found at Tastykitchen.com. If you haven't checked out that site yet, you should! Its a brand new recipe site, ran by the Pioneer Woman, and users can log in and upload their own recipes, rate and review others, and be part of a great cooking community. There are a ton of awesome dishes out there; I've already found a few gems!

The cupcakes were easy to make, even though using an entire cup of vegetable oil gave me the willies (and make my cupcake liners super greasy). The actual cake doesn't have much of a liquor taste to it (the hubs couldn't taste it at all), so if you want to up the ante on the good stuff, I'd say go for it and just reduce the milk used by however much liquor you use (I will be doing that next time I make these). To help give the cupcakes the extra punch of flavor, I added more Kahlua little by little to the whipped cream icing to taste. I'd say I probably added at least a good 2-3 more tablespoons than called for, and it tasted great. This is the first time I've ever made homemade whipped cream, and while it tasted great and was very easy to make, I think next time I make these I may use the buttercream frosting I used on the Irish Carbomb Cupcakes (using Kahlua instead) so it can hold up better since cupcakes don't really get much of a chance to chill in the fridge.

This was the first time I've ever done chocolate shavings, too! Man, I'm such a novice! I've always thought that this delicate garnish makes any dessert look so fancy and so grown up, yet I've never thought to do it myself. If I had realized how easy it was to do, I would have put chocolate shavings on everything. And I mean everything...ice cream, cakes, grilled cheese, Thanksgiving turkey, everything! I did what the recipe said - bought a Hershey's bar, took my veggie peeler, and peeled the thin edge of the candy bar...thats it! Smaller strokes tend to make curlier Q's, but I think it looks great with any size or shape. Overall, I'm extremely please with these cupcakes and I will definitely be making these again and again and again. I seriously doubt you'd be disappointed with this recipe - give it a try!

White Russian Cupcakes
Yields 18 cupcakes

1 package plain yellow cake mix
1 package vanilla instant pudding
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1/4 cups vodka
1/4 cups Kahlua, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate shavings

1. Preheat oven to 350˚.

2. Line cupcake pan with liners (or if making a cake, grease the pan).

3. Add all cupcake ingredients in mixing bowl (except for the 2 tablespoons of Kahlua) and blend on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until smooth.

4. Fill cups about 3/4 full (or measure 1/3 cup for each). Bake until golden (17-20 minutes) and let cool for 5 minutes.

5. Brush the tops with the 2 tablespoons of Kahlua. Take cupcakes out of pan and let cool for at LEAST 15 min.

6. While they are cooling, make the whipped cream: To ensure a good whipped cream, freeze the beaters and mixing bowl for a few minutes. Pour cream into bowl and beat on high until thick (about 1 1/2 min). Add the sugar and Kahlua and beat on high until peaks form (1-2 minutes).

7. Garnish with the shaved chocolate! I like to get a chocolate bar (Hersheys is fine!) and use a vegetable peeler on the side to get fine flakes.

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