Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

No need for elaborate explanations here: Guinness chocolate cake, dark chocolate whiskey ganache, and Bailey’s buttercream frosting.

Hesitations?

-That’s a lot of alcohol to purchase. Unless you happen to have all the alcohol readily available and you had to give up just one type of alcohol, forgo adding the whiskey to the ganache. This does not mean you should skip the dark chocolate ganache aspect of this cupcake!
-I found this other recipe… Perhaps you’ve done your homework and found several recipes for a dark chocolate Guinness cake. I’ve found that the ones that require blooming the cocoa in butter and use butter produce the best flavor and texture for the cake. The ones that use vegetable oil have a slightly different taste and a chewier texture.
-It’s just me, I couldn’t possibly eat all those cupcakes in one sitting. Actually it’s possible, I’m a living example. Trying to portion control? The Guinness cake can be frozen once completely cooled for at least 3 months. Once ready to eat, thaw to room temperature, prepare the ganache and buttercream frosting.

-I eat everything with cream cheese frosting. A cream cheese frosting does not work well on this combination – it overpowers the subtle flavor of the Guinness cake. If you’ve not tried Bailey’s buttercream frosting, it is to-die-for.
-Cupcakes are everywhere. How unexciting. If the classic cupcake style and look seem overdone and you want to give it a makeover, my favorite way of serving this recipe is to invert the cupcake, scoop out a bit of the center, and heat the cake part just for 10 seconds until warmed. Pipe the Bailey’s buttercream frosting into the center and pour the warmed chocolate whiskey ganache over the sides and drizzle over the frosting.

Directions

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tbs Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting:

2-3 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Directions

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top. Dip the tops of the cupcakes with remaining ganache and let cool.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin, beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar. Pipe or spoon onto cupcakes. Enjoy!

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