Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes - The Responsible Way to Party

Adapted from

So, we're all Irish today, right? Maxine says why not, since we all pretend we're good at Christmas. I have been dying to try this Pinterest find for weeks, been waiting until this week so I could time it for St. Patrick's Day. It's funny we were discussing what we were doing for St. Patty's day the other day during rounds at work, and when I mentioned I was making Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes someone said they thought that name would be offensive to the Irish. Well, the med student sitting next to me really was Irish, and she thought it was great - so if you're offended by the name then fine, you just don't get one. I've heard all kinds of radio ads this week for the Irish Car Bomb drink, and for the combination of Guiness Stout, Jameson, and Bailey's Irish Cream I would say the name is probably appropriate. So far, the cupcakes have gotten rave reviews - one comment was "Y'all shut up now while I sing to this cupcake.", so I would say even though this was a bit more labor intensive with the delightfully creamy whiskey chocolate ganache filling and homemade Irish cream buttercream, the effort was more than worth it!

Here's what you'll need:

For the Cupcakes

1 cup Guiness Stout
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache filling

8 ounce bar bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp Irish whiskey
2 Tbsp butter (at room temp)

For the Baileys Buttercream

2 cups unsalted butter (at room temp)
5 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream

Before I start I want to say that the frosting recipe didn't work for me at all. It tasted like flavored butter rather than frosting, so I ended up adding more powdered sugar (and consequently, more Baileys) until I got the consistency and taste I wanted.

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F and line 24 cupcake cups with liners. I found these cute St. Patrick's Day liners at Michaels.

Bring the Guiness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add the cocoa powder (I only used Hershey's because I ran out of Penzey's) and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside and let it cool slightly.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined.

Add the Guiness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Let me just say that Guiness and chocolate is a match made in heaven. I would never want to drink the stuff, but the flavor in the chocolate cupcake is really good. Trust me. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly, then take a rubber spatula and fold the batter until completely combined.

Divide the batter among the cupcakes liners. I used a spring loaded ice cream scoop for the batter and it filled each cup perfectly.

Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean - about 17 minutes. Now, I baked mine for exactly 17 minutes and when I took them out the centers immediately started to sink in - like they were not totally done. I put them back in for a couple of minutes, but then in my opinion the cake was a little dry. Don't worry too much about the centers because you are going to scoop them out anyway. Let them cool while you make the ganache.

To make the Whiskey Ganache filling:

Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. I just gave mine a rough chop because it tends to stick to everything if you chop it too fine. I broke the bar in half and stacked it, then chopped it on the diagonal - and then I turned it and chopped the other direction. The picture of the finished pile of chopped chocolate was too blurry to post, but you get the idea.

While you are chopping the chocolate, heat the cream just until simmering and then pour it over the chocolate. Now, if we were making truffles I would tell you to strain the cream through a fine mesh strainer to remove the film that forms when you heat the cream - but this is going inside the cupcake so it really doesn't matter.

After you pour it over the chocolate, let it sit for a minute, then take a rubber spatula and stir it from the center outward until it's smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.

I got that cute little one-shot size bottle of Jameson from the HyVee liquor department - they are kept behind the cash register. I don't know if they have Baileys in the tiny bottles, the Jameson was left over from last year when I made Pioneer Woman's Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce for the Thanksgiving pecan pie.

The ganache will be runny at first, so let it sit and cool until it thickens to the consistency of pudding - you need to be able to spoon it into a piping bag to fill the cupcakes so you don't want it too runny. Here's what mine looked like after I ran some errands and did a load of laundry:

To fill the cupcakes:

Using a 1 inch round cookie cutter or the bottom of a large decorating tip (that's what I did), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about 2/3 of the way down.

Transfer the ganache to a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes of each cupcake to the top. Mine sunk in a bit so I had to go back and top them off. If you don't have piping bags and tips, you can put the ganache in a Ziploc bag, then cut off one of the corners at the bottom and pipe it in that way.

To make the Baileys Frosting

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium, and whip for another 2-3 minutes until it is light and fluffy.

Now for how I did it - and here's where I didn't follow the directions... I was apparently too lazy at 9:30 pm to drag out the stand mixer from my cluttered countertop, so I used the electric mixer and only beat the butter for maybe 3 minutes. When I had added everything, it still tasted and looked like a big bowl of sweetened butter. When I'm making frosting I want it to taste like frosting and have that consistency, so I added probably about 3 more cups of powdered sugar to get it there. This also meant drizzling in a bit more Baileys, but more liquor is not always a bad thing! I ended up with about 2 cups of leftover frosting (which isn't always a bad thing either), so next time I would try it using only 1 cup of butter. You can always add more and tweak it until you get what you want.

Using your favorite decorating tip or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles if desired. Store in an airtight container.

My piping skills need work, but it was fun anyway!

I sacrificed a cupcake to show you the center:

It looks a bit messy, but once you get a mouthful of that ganache you won't care. Don't doubt me! So remember, drink eat responsibly. Enjoy!