“Bring Your Own Lampshade” Browned Butter Cupcakes

We spent the past weekend in Wisconsin, as another of my nieces graduated from high school. It was nice seeing family again, and getting out of Brookings for a bit–Even if it meant two full days of driving. While I was gone, word came out online that supposedly The Replacements are once again broken up. Paul Westerberg made some off-hand comment about the band having played their last show, them being lazy bastards, and then smashed a guitar. Nothing he said was anything he hadn’t said at shows in the past, nor was that the first guitar to get broken. Plus, I’ve always had the impression that you can’t take anything Paul says literally.

But having watched all the YouTube videos from other fellow ‘Mats fans, and getting reports from Facebook friends about Paul’s Shirt, as well as seeing pictures from the various meet-ups that were taking place during this tour filled me with a lot of envy. Many of you already know I had tickets to the Columbus show, but then had to give them up. Which was a blessing in disguise, as the show was outright cancelled. And I don’t think my mom would’ve been too thrilled about going and hanging out with a bunch of other random people. But I did end up with some cool ‘Mats loot, thanks to a really awesome friend:

'Mats Tote BagMe wearing "Tim" T-shirt

(This is one of the extremely rare instances where I will show my face on this blog. It is only acceptable because of the t-shirt.)

And I now get to look this at every time I’m at my desk:

'Mats 2nd LA Poster

Since the “news” about the band calling it quits happened while I was away from home, I had that need to pull myself away from social media and go bake. I couldn’t do that until we got back to South Dakota, so I had time to think about what I wanted to make. I decided to do browned butter cupcakes, just because it’s now hot on the prairie, and if I leave butter out to soften for too long, it’ll turn to a greasy mess. I also think browned butter is a little more sophisticated or grown-up, if you will. Not unlike this incarnation of The ‘Mats.

But since “Swingin’ Party” (the song from which “Bring your own lampshade” is taken) is from the drunken disorderly days of the band, I also wanted some sort of nod to their past. So I topped them with Whiskey Buttercream.

"Bring Your Own Lampshade" Browned Butter Cupcakes

And a couple of them got mini homemade lampshades.

"Bring Your Own Lampshade" Browned Butter Cupcakes

The cupcakes themselves are delicious.

"Bring Your Own Lampshade" Browned Butter Cupcakes

The browned butter and cinnamon give them a warmth that’s easily complemented by the Whiskey Buttercream.

Yield: 23-24

"Bring Your Own Lampshade" Browned Butter Cupcakes

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes


For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/3 C flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 C sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 C milk

For the Frosting:

  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1-2 oz. milk


In a small, light-colored saucepan, begin melting the butter over medium heat. Allow it to foam and come to a boil. Begin whisking, and carefully watch the butter. It should begin to smell nutty and begin to turn amber. Immediately remove from the heat, continuing to whisk as the butter will still cook. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in the wells of 2 muffin tins. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the browned butter and the sugar. Mix on medium until combined. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

Using a large (3 Tbsp.) scoop, place the batter in the prepared muffin tins. Bake the cupcakes for 22-25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of several cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pans, then remove and cool completely on wire racks.

To make the frosting, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the vanilla, then on low speed, half the powdered sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary, then add the Jameson, and 1 oz. of the milk. Add the remaining powdered sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add 1/2-oz. more of milk. Whip the frosting for 1-2 minutes on high speed. Decorate cupcakes as desired. Paper lampshades are completely optional.

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I took a bunch of these into work, where they were well-received. I also kept some home, where they didn’t last the evening (but that’s only because I kept just what I needed for blog photos). And while The ‘Mats may once again be no more, I’ve got these cupcakes I can make. Plus, I’ll always have this:

The Replacements - Midway Stadium

It might be a crap photo, but it was the best concert I’ve been to in my 39 years on this earth. If ever there was a band whose lyrics always reminded me I’m never alone, it’s The Replacements.

'Mats Tattoo

And for that, I am forever grateful to Paul, Tommy, Goddam Dave Minehan, and Josh. And I can’t leave out Bob or Slim, especially not Slim, since he was then in the band when I first discovered them. Whether this is truly the end or not remains to be seen. I like to think Paul is laughing his arse off at all of us fans stressing about it, and has something up his sleeve.

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