Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Ever notice how it's the little things that make living so amazing? I have had the good fortune to experience many adventures in my life but at the end of the day, the things that are really etched in my brain are my son's little laugh, when he insists on holding my hand or says, "I love you so much Mommy". I also think of the family dinners that I grew up with that would include a ton of laughter or the first bite of a dish or food I had never had before that ends up completely overtaking every taste sense I have. That euphoric feeling of tasting something that is utterly indulgent is how I feel about these cupcakes. They are truly decadent and I believe that eating a rich dessert like this ranks among the little things in life that make it all so sweet.

So, with the gushing out of the way, allow me to provide some disclaimers. These cupcakes are insane concoctions of deep chocolate, rich buttercream frosting and laced with a whole lot of alcohol. How rich you ask? I could only eat half of one before I gave up and put the rest away for later. Also, despite the fact that these have red sprinkles and shiny wrappers that any kid would adore, they are not meant for kiddie consumption and I will not be held responsible for a child that falls over blitzed after devouring one of these little treats.

Now for the story behind the cupcakes. An Irish Car Bomb is a drink that is made with a mix of Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson’s Irish whiskey in a shot glass and dropped into a three-quarters full pint of Guinness that some crazy person must chug all at once. Yikes! Where do people come up with these mixtures and let me just say, god bless it! The only person more brilliant than the one who came up with the drink is the person who came up with these cupcakes. I cannot say enough about them so I will stop here by saying that they are divine and should be made immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats who adapted from Smitten Kitchen


For the Guinness chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup stout (Guinness)
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Bailey’s ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. Bailey’s Irish cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats who adapted from Smitten Kitchen


To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend. Add the stout-butter mixture and beat just to combine. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, place the bowl over a double boiler or give it a very short burst in the microwave (15-20 seconds). Add the butter, vanilla and Bailey’s and stir until combined.

Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped. (You can use the refrigerator to speed the cooling process, but be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooling.) Meanwhile, cut out a portion from the center of the cupcake using the cone method (a small paring knife works best for this). Once the ganache has reached the correct consistency, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe it into the cupcakes.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Mix in the Bailey’s and vanilla until smooth. Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

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