Spiced chocolate cupcakes with eggnog buttercreamThere are two kinds of people in this world: those who love eggnog and those who don’t. If you don’t love eggnog, you might love this spiced chocolate cupcake with eggnog buttercream anyway. It’s chocolatey without being cloying and has just the right amount of spice to remind you it’s Christmas but you’re not being hit in the face with it.

For me, there was no question. I love eggnog and so this recipe was a no-brainer. I have a confession to make, though. I made this for last year’s Christmas Eve get-together, which was a big fuzzy blur, because it was soon after the ice storm that had us camped out at my brother-in-law’s home and it’s a wonder I was able to make anything at all.

But I knew I’d be really disappointed if I didn’t bake anything, and fortunately I was able to make it happen – even though there were a multitude of hurdles in my path: Emptied fridge due to power outage, everyone battling some sort of bug, and mass chaos due to being forced to live elsewhere with my then-4 year old and then 1-year-old.

Oh, and even though our power came back on, we had no cable, telephone or TV service. So we weren’t exactly happy campers.

Anyway, let’s get back to the matter at hand – the butter at hand, that is.

I’ve blogged about my love-hate relationship with buttercream in the past – it’s often too sweet or too buttery. But this eggnog buttercream hit it out of the park. In fact, even if you don’t like eggnog there’s a good chance you’ll like it reincarnated as buttercream.

Try it, and let me know what you think. In the meantime, here are my thoughts below:

Substitutions: I usually use brandy instead of bourbon but I’m sure bourbon would work just fine. Also, I use a very high-quality cocoa powder that you can’t buy in the grocery store, so if you can swing it out to a specialty store, try to buy the best quality you can find. It makes all the difference in the cake. And whatever you do, don’t skip the dash of nutmeg on top. You can’t see it in the photo because I added the nutmeg later in the day, before we headed out to our family party, but it was very necessary.

Not only does the scent greet you as you take a bite of the cupcake but it also adds just that dash of panache this otherwise ordinary-looking cupcake needs. (But don’t be fooled by it’s plain-Jane appearance, a mouthful will knock your socks off. I promise.

Would I make this again? Probably only during the holiday season because some people might think eggnog is too weird at any other time.

Grade: Five stars out of five. In a world full of strange cupcake flavours and bloggers all trying to outdo each other, this recipe hits all the right notes.