These eggnog frosting are moist and tender with a delicious eggnog flavor and hint of nutmeg. Then they’re piled high with eggnog frosting that’s sweet, creamy and deliciously festive. These cupcakes are perfect for the holidays
**This post was updated November 29, 2022 with new photos, a slightly updated recipe that’s more fail safe and requires simpler ingredients and new recipe tips**
I love baking with eggnog because it produces baked goods with a delicious flavor, but that aren’t as overpowering as having a glass of eggnog. These eggnog cupcakes have an almost creaminess to the flavor with a delicious hint of nutmeg. They’re incredibly moist with an almost springy texture without tasting greasy. Then the eggnog frosting is sweet, fluffy and deliciously creamy with the same hint of eggnog from the cupcakes that you’ll love. What might be surprising about these eggnog cupcakes is that I found both lovers of eggnog and those that are impartial to it loved this recipe.
Where the Eggnog Flavor Comes From?
Eggnog is made with milk, egg yolks, nutmeg and sometimes a hint of rum. Therefore, to get the eggnog flavor in these eggnog cupcakes, we’re using a few key ingredients:
- First, we’re using eggnog in the cupcake batter and frosting (as you’d probably expect).
- An extra egg yolk in cupcake batter for that rich, creamy flavor. Egg yolks are a key ingredient when making homemade eggnog (hence the name), so adding an extra egg yolk in the cupcake batter contributes to a richer cupcake flavor (as opposed to using only egg whites, like some vanilla cupcake recipes do).
- A touch of nutmeg in the cupcake batter and frosting – don’t leave this out, even if your eggnog already has nutmeg added to it.
- Then a little rum extract in the frosting really improves the flavor and cuts the sweetness.
Baking Tips & Tricks
- Ensure your butter, eggs and eggnog are all at room temperature before getting started. This ensures that the batter mixes together well without having to overmix. Overmixing can cause tough cupcakes and lead to air tunnels in the cupcakes.
- I highly recommend using commercially prepared eggnog. Different homemade recipes of eggnog have different levels of sweetness, etc – so it’s hard to recipe test with homemade versions. Therefore, I recommend using a commercially prepared version because it will help ensure your results are the closest to the tested recipe.
- Fill the cupcake liners about ½ to ⅔ full. You should end up with about 12 cupcakes in total.
- You can make the cupcakes the day before you plan to serve them. Cool fully, then store in an airtight container overnight. Then make the frosting the day you plan to serve.
- Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 months, then thawed in the fridge.
- I really recommend using rum extract in the frosting because it definitely increases the eggnog flavor. Rum extract can be found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores near the vanilla extract. If you can’t find it, you could leave it out or even add in about 1-2 teaspoons of rum. However, if using rum you don’t get as much of the flavor because it isn’t concentrated. If you add too much the frosting can get watery or taste alcoholic – which doesn’t happen with rum extract.
- If your frosting isn’t quite thick enough, but you don’t want to add more powdered sugar and make it sweeter, then I recommend adding 1-3 tablespoons or sifted cornstarch (AKA cornflour for my UK and Australian readers). It will help to thicken the frosting without adding sweetness.
- For the frosting, the recipe below yields a big enough batch to frost all 12 cupcakes using a piping bag and piling the frosting high (like in the pictures). If you plan to frost the cupcakes with a knife and don’t want to use as much, then I recommend dividing the frosting recipe in half (I’ve included the measurements in the recipe notes).
- I decorated my cupcakes using a 1M Wilton tip and piping bag. I then added an extra sprinkle of nutmeg on top and a cinnamon stick. They also look adorable with Christmas sprinkles on top too.
I love these eggnog cupcakes for holiday parties, bake sales, or whenever you’re wanting a Christmas dessert that’s a little extra special and looks absolutely beautiful. My favourite is to make a batch of these and a batch of my gingerbread cupcakes for holiday parties because you get the best Christmas flavors and they look so adorable together. Or if you’re looking for more eggnog desserts, then be sure to try:
- Eggnog Pancakes
- Eggnog Bundt Cake
- Eggnog Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
- Eggnog White Chocolate Fudge
- 12-cavity muffin pan
For the Cupcakes
- 1 and ⅓ cups all-purpose flour (167 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter (75 grams) softened to room temperature
- ¾ cups granulated sugar (150 grams)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (15 ml) or canola oil
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk in addition to the large egg, discard the white of this egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅔ cup eggnog (160 ml) room temperature
For the Eggnog Buttercream
- 1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams) softened to room temperature but still slightly firm to the touch
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar (330-440 grams) sifted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon rum extract
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 3-4 tablespoons eggnog (45-60 ml)
- 1-3 tablespoon cornstarch AKA cornflour, if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) or 325F (170C) on a convection oven (some ovens do this automatically). Line a 12-cavity muffin tin with muffin papers.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a stand or hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
- Mix in the oil and vanilla extract. Then turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Beat in the egg and additional egg yolk. Do not add in 2 full eggs - we're using 1 full egg and just the egg yolk from the second egg.
- With the mixer on a low speed, beat about ½ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
- Then beat in the eggnog starting with the mixer on a low speed. Stop mixing as soon as combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Mix in the rest of the flour mixture until you no longer see lumps of flour.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each about ½ to ⅔ full. You should end up with about 11-12 cupcakes.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 14-17 minutes, or until the tops look set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with a few cake crumbs. There shouldn't be gooey cake batter on the tester.
- Cool cupcakes in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy.
- Add in 2 cups powdered sugar, salt, nutmeg and rum extract. Start the mixer on a low speed and gradually increase to a medium speed until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Beat in 2 tablespoons of eggnog.
- Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar and eggnog alternating between about ½ cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon eggnog until the desired sweetness and thickness is reached. If you want the frosting to be a little thicker but don't want it sweeter, then I recommend beating in 1-3 tablespoons of sifted cornstarch.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes either using a knife or a piping bag (I used a piping bag and a 1M piping tip). Optionally, sprinkle with a little extra nutmeg and top with a cinnamon stick.
- Eggnog: This recipe was developed using commercially prepared eggnog. I recommend using commercially prepared eggnog, especially compared to homemade eggnog with alcohol already added, because homemade recipe can vary significantly in sweetness and thickness. Therefore, it is hard for me to know if your particular eggnog recipe would work well for these cupcakes.
- Rum Extract: Rum extract can be found in the baking aisle near the vanilla extract. I recommend using it because it will increase the eggnog flavor. Alternatively, you could use 2-3 teaspoons of rum. Using rum will make the frosting a bit thinner, however.
- Frosting: This recipe makes enough to pipe the cupcakes with a lot of frosting. If you plan to decorate using a knife and do not want so much, then you can divide the recipe in half. You'll need:
- ½ cup butter
- 1 ½ - 2 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon rum extract
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons eggnog
- ½ - 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch, if needed
- Storage: Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. If your kitchen is warm, then I recommend storing in the fridge. Let the cupcakes sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes before enjoying.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 cupcake with frosting, assuming the recipe yields 12 equal cupcakes and all the frosting is used.