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Bake up boozy cupcakes for National Kahlúa Day

Enjoy a double layered cupcake for a fancier dessert.
Enjoy a double layered cupcake for a fancier dessert.Georgetown Cupcake
Indulge yourself with Kahlúa

February 27 is National Kahlúa Day, celebrated by fans of the coffee-flavored liqueur — including us! This annual holiday is usually marked by enjoying Kahlúa in as many ways as possible, from trying a new cocktail to adding a dash to tonight's dessert.

You'll have a lot of recipes to choose from since Kahlúa is used in a variety of different, delicious recipes. Michelle Sanders, Brand Director for Kahlúa, thinks the liqueur's versatile kitchen use is because of the combination of rum and coffee flavors.

Casey Reinhardt, of Casey's Cupcakes, says that the unique rum and coffee flavor combination makes Kahlúa great for baking. It is one of the reasons Reinhardt chose the liqueur for her White Russian cupcake recipe, which made her the winner on the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" in 2011.

"[Kahlúa] is the perfect blend which retains its luxurious, robust flavors through the baking process," Reinhardt told

Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis Berman, co-owners of Georgetown Cupcake, receive a number of requests for alcoholic versions of their popular cupcake flavors and include Kahlúa in a twist on their classic mocha recipe.

"Baking with Kahlúa adds a wonderful depth of coffee flavor to both cupcakes and adding it to the frosting gives it a beautiful silky texture," LaMontagne and Berman told in an email. "We love adding a little bit of Kahlúa in our cupcake batter and in our frosting to give our mocha cupcakes a little 'kick'."

Kahlúa is also a favorite liqueur for use in baking by food bloggers, including Jenn Fujikawa of JustJenn Recipes who has used it in cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.

"If I want to add coffee taste to baking I use Kahlúa in place of vanilla since vanilla is also alcohol based," Fujikawa said. "I think it adds a richness to baking especially in chocolate desserts because Kahlúa also has essences of vanilla and sweetness as well as coffee, which pairs perfectly with chocolate."

So set your inner baker free and treat yourself with tasty Kahlúa treats!

Kahlúa cupcakes

For the cupcake

  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kahlúa
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup coffee

For the frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Kahlúa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk (as needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prep a cupcake pan with liners.

In a bowl whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and Kahlúa and mix well. Alternate the flour mixture with the buttermilk and coffee. Spoon the batter into prepped liners. For regular sized cupcakes bake 14 to 16 minutes, and for mini cupcakes bake for 10 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool on a wire rack.

For the Kahlúa frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer mix the butter with the Kahlúa and vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Mix until combined. Add a little of the milk at a time to get the right consistency. Turn the mixer up to high and beat well. Frost on cooled cupcakes and serve!

Recipe courtesy of Jenn Fujikawa, JustJENN Recipes

Try a taste of the cupcake that won its baker the 2011Casey's Cupcakes

White Russian cupcakes

For the cupcake

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 8 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur (recommended: Kahlúa)
  • 1 tablespoon mocha paste
  • Irish cream filling (recipe follows)
  • 12 ounces Irish buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Small chocolate pearls (recommended: Verona)
  • Chocolate cigarettes
  • Gold dust
  • Vodka

For Irish cream filling

  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • 4 ounces Irish liqueur (recommended: Bailey's Irish Cream)

For Irish buttercream

  • 4 pounds butter, softened
  • 8 ounces high ratio shortening (recommended: Sweetex)
  • 8 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon mocha paste
  • 4 tablespoons cherry liqueur
  • 2 ounces Irish liqueur (recommended: Bailey's Irish Cream)
  • 1 1/2 ounces coffee liqueur (recommended: Kahlúa)
  • 1 tablespoon vodka

For the cupcake, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners.

Combine the cake flour, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in 1 medium bowl. Crack the eggs into a second bowl and add the vanilla extract. Measure the milk and half-and-half into a third bowl. In a 5-quart mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Turn the mixer on first speed, add the sugar, and mix until fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Scrape down the bowl. Add the sour cream and mayonnaise and incorporate completely. Scrape down the bowl. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the wet. You will start and end with the dry ingredients. Mix the coffee liqueur and mocha paste into the batter until smooth and no lumps are present.

Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, scoop 2 ounces of batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 18 minutes. Insert a skewer into the cupcake, if it comes out clean they are ready to be removed from the oven. Let cool for 20 minutes.

Scoop out the center of the cooled cupcakes with a melon baller. Fill a piping bag with Irish Cream Filling and cut a small hole at the end of the bag to allow the filling to be piped into the hollowed out center of cupcake. Fill all the cupcakes with about 1/2 ounce of filling.

To make the Irish Buttercream: In a 5-quart mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening together. On first speed, add the sifted powdered sugar to the bowl in 3 parts. Let each part incorporate into the butter mixture before adding the next. After adding all the sugar, put the mixer on the fourth (highest) speed and mix for 8 to 10 minutes. The buttercream will begin to gain volume and look white and fluffy. Once you bring the buttercream to full volume, add the extracts and the mocha paste. Lastly, add the liqueurs and vodka and incorporate completely. Cook's Note: The longer you let it mix, the more volume you will have. If the buttercream is airy and shows a lot of holes, add a small amount of warm water and mix well.

To make the Irish Cream filling: In a 5-quart mixer with the paddle attachment, add the heavy cream and whip to full volume. Add the Irish liqueur and, on first speed, fold in the liqueur until completely incorporated.

To assemble: Place a round tip # 809 into a large piping bag. Fill the piping bag with Irish Buttercream. Generously pipe about 1 ounce buttercream onto each cupcake. Garnish each cupcake with 4 or 5 small chocolate pearls and a chocolate cigarette. Mix equal parts gold dust with vodka to make an edible gold paint. Using a small round brush, paint the ends of the chocolate cigarettes. The edible paint will dry leaving behind the gold dust.

Yields 24 cupcakes.

Recipe courtesy of Casey's Cupcakes.


Enjoy a double layered cupcake for a fancier dessert.Georgetown Cupcake

Chocolate Kahlúa cupcakes

For the cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Kahlúa
  • ½ cup sifted cocoa powder

For the frosting

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Kahlúa

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper baking cups, and a second pan with 6 baking cups. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition. Combine the vanilla, milk, and Kahlúa in a large liquid measuring cup.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add 1/3 of the milk mixture, beating slowly until well incorporated. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by another 1/3 of the milk mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat just until combined. Add the cocoa powder, beating on low speed just until incorporated. Using a standard-size ice cream scoop, fill each baking cup so that it is 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, mix all the ingredients for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, until the frosting is light and airy. Transfer frosting into a plastic piping bag fitted with a round metal tip. Frost each cupcake with a swirl of frosting. For a fancier dessert serving idea, layer cupcakes and frosting in glass coffee cups. Pour a 1/4 cup of Kahlúa in the cups, and decorate with a dusting of sifted espresso powder and a chocolate-covered coffee bean!

Makes 18 cupcakes.

Recipe courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake, Katherine Kallinis Berman & Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, Co-Owners, Georgetown Cupcake & Stars of TLC’s DC Cupcakes.