Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream

28Mar10

Listen, I know that Saint Patrick’s day was March 17th, and now it is nearly April.  But you have to trust me when I tell you that you will not want to wait for March 17th to roll around again to try these cupcakes.  I will never understand why someone thought combining beer, whiskey and Bailey’s into a drink was EVER a good idea, but I will let that go for now.  Of course, translate that combination of beverages into individually baked and frosted sugary goodness, and I can totally get behind the Irish Carbomb idea.

Last year I brought these festive treats to the office St. Paddy’s day potluck.  Since I am now at a different office, I decided I would wow the crowd with these babies for my colleague’s birthday on March 18th this year.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen with my notes inserted.

Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes

As Deb notes, the frosting recipe does not make a ton of frosting, but the cupcakes and ganache filling are so sweet I found a small little dollop of frosting did the trick, but double the recipe if you want more.

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 ( I didn’t have sour cream, so used some Greek Yogurt, which worked great)

Ganache Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional-I went without, and the ganache was still a perfect surprise in the middle of the cake)

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) 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). The  apple corer was the perfect tool for removing the center of the cake.  For the ganache filling the plastic bag trick worked wonders.  I loved the fancy piped frosting look, but you could easily spread your buttercream on with a spoon or use a plastic bag with the corner snipped off for the frosting also.

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 (or yogurt) 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 chocolate ganache 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  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. Make sure to taste test the pieces you’ve removed. Put the ganache into a piping bag or plastic bag with the corner snipped off 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.  Make sure to add the sugar slowly, it really does help to reduce the amount of sugar you will need, and makes the buttercream less grainy.

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. All packed and ready to share with the office!


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