Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting
Ah, the Irish car bomb: a mixture of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson Whiskey dropped into a pint of Guinness stout, it’s essentially a celebration of all the delicious alcoholic beverages that hail from the country of Ireland. Forgive me if you’re offended by the name, but this is how I was introduced to the drink. Guiness mixed with a shot of Jameson and Bailey’s is something I learned to love and learned to hate in my college days but haven’t experienced since. Or at least, not until Smitten Kitchen introduced me to her car bomb cupcakes!
I’ve been meaning to share these AWESOME cupcakes with you since Valentine’s Day actually. I knew the minute I saw the recipe that I would be making them for David that day. Let’s see…a Guiness chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate Jameson whiskey ganache topped with a Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting? How could I go wrong?
Well, I didn’t. Not only did David like them but his roommates’ friends came over the next day and raved about them. I brought a bunch home to my parents (my frequest taste testers) and they couldn’t get enough either. I even had a few recipe requests from David’s coworkers who had heard how good they were.
My favorite part about these cupcakes is that I don’t have a favorite part! All three elements are good! When I first bit into one, I could swear I was going to come on this blog and rave about the Guinness chocolate cake. I thought that even though I enjoyed the Bailey’s frosting and the Jameson ganache that the cake itself was simply out of this world. But, the next day I had another cupcake and this time the Jameson was the best part – a dollop of ganache that melted in your mouth and tasted like chocolate whiskey? So you see, every element of this cupcake kept outstaging the others and getting more and more delicious each day.
But no matter what you like best, these cupcakes were a success inside and out (although maybe not for the waistline).
Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t have a few mishaps in the kitchen or that my cupcakes were nearly as pretty as Deb’s.
I couldn’t quite reach the right consistency for the frosting and wound up with a mess of butter, sugar and Bailey’s. I still used the “frosting” (because what’s a car bomb cupcake without Bailey’s) but my lackluster frosting job made the cupcakes pretty unappealing to the eye. Hence, why I have no photos of the frosting!
As for the ganache, it tasted absolutely melt-in-your mouth amazing. But when I pictured the ganache filling, I thought it would stay liquidy and soft. Mine didn’t – it sort of hardened up and became like a piece of candy inside the cupcake (not that I’m complaining!)
I didn’t really change the recipe since I followed her directions straight up but in case you don’t want to click over to the original recipe, here’s a copy:
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 (Updated to double it, based on many commenters suggestions — thanks!)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
Baileys Frosting (see Recipe Notes)
3 to 4 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)
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.
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.
[This is a fantastic trick I picked up while working on the cupcakes article for Martha Stewart Living; the test kitchen chefs had found that when they added the sugar slowly, quick buttercream frostings got less grainy, and tended to require less sugar to thicken them up.]
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 (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.
Ice and decorate the cupcakes. [I used a star tip and made little "poofs" everywhere and sprinkled it with various colors of sanding sugar to keep it looking festive for New Years. I bet shaved dark and white chocolates would look gorgeous as well.]
Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled — or filled and frosted — in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)