Hot Buttered Rum

December 07, 2015
As a cocktail, melted butter and rum is a pretty revolting concept, but as a cupcake it’s amazing. The key to this cupcake is the brown butter, which brings incredible richness to the frosting. Brown butter is as easy to make as it is to screw up, but when you get it right it is so worth all of the burned butter, the smoky kitchen, and the strings of expletives.


  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cups (166 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) water
  • 1 stick (115 g) butter, unsalted
  • 1 stick (115 g) butter, unsalted
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) dark rum
  • brown sugar
  • 1 cup (230 g) Caramel Sauce for the filling, made with rum (recipe below)


Makes 48 mini cupcakes

To make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg and sour cream. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
4. Combine water and butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter melts.
5. Remove from heat. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot water/butter mixture into the mixing bowl containing the egg/sour cream mixture. Beat until incorporated.
6. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until incorporated.
7. Fill cupcake tins two-thirds full.
8. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before filling or frosting.

To make the frosting:
The Day Before
1. Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat until it is fully melted.
2. Turn the heat up to medium-high, keeping a close eye on the butter. Stir constantly, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan.
3. Remove the pan from the heat once the butter begins to take on an amber color and smell faintly nutty, and little flecks of browned butter are visible. Keep a close watch over your butter at this point. The difference between browned butter and burnt butter is a matter of seconds.
4. Transfer butter to a heat-proof container, taking care to scrape every last fleck of browned goodness out of the pan.
5. Cool in the refrigerator.

The Day Of
1. Allow browned butter to soften, and then combine with confectioners’ sugar in a standing mixer on low speed.
2. Slowly add dark rum and beat until fluffy.
3. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag.

1. When cupcakes are cool, core each cupcake with a small pastry tip. If you don’t have a pastry tip, poke a hole in the middle of the cupcake with a narrow-bladed knife (a steak knife will do).
2. Fill each cavity with rummy caramel, taking care not to let it overflow.
3. Frost to your liking.
4. Garnish with a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Caramel Sauce
Caramel sauce is probably the most traditional sauce to booze up. Who hasn’t had bread pudding, pecan pie, or brownies with a bourbon-caramel sauce? But that doesn’t mean that all boozy caramels are created equal. Much like mixing drinks, the simplicity of caramel leaves a lot of room for exploration. To make a nice dark rummy caramel sauce, add a little dark brown sugar to mirror the molasses of the rum. If you’re making a whiskey caramel, try using 1 part honey to 4 parts white sugar to bring out the honeyed undertones. And if you’re looking to making a basic caramel sauce, stick with white sugar. Any leftover sauce can be added to coffee, poured over ice cream, or used as filling for delicious sandwich cookies. 

makes 1½ cups
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup booze of choice

1. In a saucepan, heat sugar and butter over medium heat until butter is melted and the mixture appears smooth (not grainy). After a few minutes, the mixture will bubble and turn a nice golden color.
2. While the sugar and butter mixture is melting, warm cream over low heat, taking care not to boil it.
3. When sugar is fully dissolved in the sugar/butter mixture, slowly stream in warm cream, stirring constantly.
4. Add pinch of salt and stir thoroughly.
5. Once everything is fully mixed, slowly pour in booze, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and even in color.
6. The caramel will appear thin when hot, but will thicken significantly when cooled.
7. Transfer the boozy caramel to a squeeze bottle, and let it cool before filling.

Reprinted with permission from Prohibition Bakery @ 2015  Leslie Feinberg and Brooke Siem, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Sterling Publishing