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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Whiskey Fig Cupcakes

Truly inspired by a fab artisan cocktail creation by Jason Poole at the Pour House in Sacramento.  If you've been reading BIWB for a while, you may remember our first trip to Pour House.  That's when we sampled for the very first time, Tullamore D.E.W. with Tim Herlihy the brand's ambassador.  

We were so impressed with the offerings that we returned a few months later for Girls' Night.  Our second visit included sampling the bar and dinner menus as well as a few more classic cocktail creations.  Jason describes their approach as "quick craft" where top quality ingredients are used to create unique and fully flavored cocktails. 

My first cocktail of choice: the Whiskey Fig.  Duh.  One sip: I was "in".  
Photograph courtesy of Sacramento Magazine.
Next I tried a drink with ginger and whiskey...Sold yet again.  I would have sampled more, but it was a school night.  Wait, no, I had work the next day...That's right...Work.  

I knew that once I had the time I would be creating a BIWB treat to showcase Jason's creation of whiskey and fig preserves.  Lucky for me, I had a good amount of Tullamore on hand as well as some fig preserves from my coworker.  Score!

These cupcakes are moist.  No, really, they are moist.  They have a great spiced fig flavor with warm caramel from the Tullamore.  On top, a nice sweet finish with the honey whiskey fig buttercream.  And, as the true baker that I've become, I marveled at the rise of these lovelies.  Please check out the pics showing how much these babies topped the pan...Truly a thing to behold.

They say that whiskey is enjoyed by more and more women today.  I can attest to that as a fact...I'm not just baking with this stuff.  No ma'am.  I'm also enjoying a cocktail (or two)!  

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Place chopped figs, whiskey and water in a small bowl.  Microwave, stir and set aside until cooled.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the dry ingredients.   Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.  

Add the oil and mix until you achieve a fine crumb.  The famous flour/fat method!

Add the wet ingredients on low speed, gradually increasing to medium.  Mix on medium speed until just blended.  Fold in the figs.  And, you guessed it: finish by hand.  You know me so well...

Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.

Bake as directed and let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  

Now, it's time to make the buttercream!  First, cream butter for 1 minute.  Add the whiskey, fig preserves, and vanilla.  Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy and almost emulsified.  Scrap bowl.

Slowly add sugar and beat until smooth, scrap as needed, increasing speed to medium.  

Add 1 tbsp honey and mix for 30 seconds on medium until combined.   Add honey in 1 tbsp increments until you get the spreading/piping consistency that you like.  (I didn’t use more than 2 1/2 tbsp.) Increase speed to medium high and beat for about 1 minute until fluffy.  You want this to just hang off the beater with a resulting slow *plop* of frosting into the bowl.  

Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkles are NOT optional!  Well, at least not at my house. *WINK*

Whiskey Fig Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup dried figs (Calymyrna or Turkish figs), finely chopped + 2 tbsp Whiskey + 1 tbsp water
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup Whiskey (I use Tullamore D.E.W.)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Honey Whiskey Fig Buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temp (68 degrees, no joke)
1 tbsp Whiskey (I use Tullamore D.E.W.)
1 tbsp fig preserves
1 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2-3 tbsp honey, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
2. Place chopped figs, whiskey and water in a small bowl.  Microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute.  Stir and set aside until cooled.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, spices, salt and sugars.   Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.  Add the oil and mix for about one minute on medium until you achieve a fine crumb.
4. In a measuring cup, whisk together whiskey, buttermilk, egg and vanilla.   On low speed, add the whiskey mixture to the flour mixture.  Mix on medium speed until just blended.  
5. Fold in the figs and finish by hand.
6. Fill cupcake liners.  I use a #12 scoop, which is 2.6 oz., so that’s about 3/4 full.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to completely cool.

To Make the Buttercream
1. Cream butter for 1 minute.  Add the whiskey, fig preserves, and vanilla.  Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy and almost emulsified.  Scrap bowl.
2. Slowly add sugar and beat until smooth, scrap as needed, increasing speed to medium.  
3. Add 1 tbsp honey and mix for 30 seconds on medium until combined.   Add honey in 1 tbsp increments until you get the spreading/piping consistency that you like.  (I didn’t use more than 2 1/2 tbsp.) 
4. Increase speed to medium high and beat for about 1 minute until fluffy.  Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Please give these Whiskey Fig Cupcakes a try.  You won't be disappointed!  Cheers!!


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  1. I've never heard of that cocktail, but that's why you're the expert on booze!! I do, however, love figs and this recipe is definitely one I'll will try. Your frosting looks perfect and I'm wishing I could come over and try one right now:-D XOXO

  2. These sound incredible. I've yet to get on the whiskey wagon, but I'm sure these will help. I'm gonna make these asap!

  3. These look delicious and what an interesting flavor combination!


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