Here’s the wonderful recipe for Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson’s irresistible bourbon-spiked chocolate treats with strawberry icing.

By Jonna Gallo Weppler

She was a banker during California's high-tech boom. Then the dot-com bubble burst. Out of work and with time to think, Candace Nelson realized baking was her true passion. Fast-forward through pastry school and a home-based cake business to a cheerful Beverly Hills cupcake shop called Sprinkles. For customers, it was love at first bite. At home, sample her irresistible bourbon-spiked chocolate treats with strawberry icing.

Chocolate Bourbon Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

As the liquor bakes off, it leaves behind scrumptious hints of vanilla, caramel, cinnamon and molasses.

Makes: 24 cupcakes


1 cup bourbon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 24 liners.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, simmer bourbon and butter.
  4. Slowly whisk cocoa powder into saucepan until mixture is creamy.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk sugar, flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
  7. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sour cream with an electric mixer. Slowly add bourbon and cocoa mixture. Combine on low speed.
  8. Slowly add flour and sugar mixture, combining on low speed until completely incorporated.
  9. Fill baking cups three-fourths full. Bake for about 22 minutes. Cool.

Strawberry Frosting


1 cup whole fresh (or frozen, thawed) strawberries

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold

Pinch of coarse salt

7 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Puree strawberries in bowl of a food processor.
  2. In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined.
  3. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree (save remaining puree for another use). Mix until just blended. Do not overmix; consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Originally published in the June 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.